A Good Nine Lives

Wendell, my Fuzzy Little Soul Sister, reached the end of all nine of her lives this week.

She was 16,  but I’m still sad.

However, this isn’t a sad post—I promise. When it comes to death, I think a little bit differently than most people. I can usually frame it in a “circle of life” type of way. It’s inevitable, and instead of fight it or fear it, I tend to accept it.

But I’m still sad.

Anyway, Wendell the One-Toothed Wonder Cat’s situation just called to mind memories of pets gone by and some interesting circumstances surrounding their departure.

Keep in mind the fact that my mom is Dr. Doolittle and it’s normal for us to spend two hours coaxing a chipmunk out of a drainage pipe in 90 degree heat (he made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused), chasing a loose goat through briar patches (I made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused) or picking up stray dogs on the way to job interviews (I got nothing for this one—so much for symmetry).

We’ve had tons of animals throughout the years, but these are just a few examples.

I will keep the stories short and sweet, unlike that disclaimer.

  • First there was Mitten, aka “Bun,” my rabbit when I was in preschool. The creativity for his name was inspired by the fact that he was a bunny with a white mittened foot. “Bun” met an untimely death at the hands of a homicidal cage cleaner—aka “dad”— that “accidently” used harmful chemicals to clean. I was at a friend’s house and by the time I got home, the body was already stiff. Determined to bury him in our backyard pet cemetery, holes were cut in a shoebox so his legs could stick out. I think we get points for creativity there.
  • In kindergarten, I received the best dog in the world and named him Cromwell (obviously more sophisticated than Mitten.) I don’t have a picture of him because I have no scanner, but he was a peak-a-poo and the cutest, most loving thing ever. There was an incident and he had a little crooked nose, but he was awesome. He lived to be about 3,000 in dog years, and when he passed away we had him cremated. He came back in something the size of a business card. I’ve seen more ashes on a sidewalk outside Starbucks.
  • Gonzo, a beautiful cockatiel, joined the family a couple of years later and lived to be about 3,000 in bird years. As I’ve mentioned, the little feathered bastard choose to pass away while I was on my first business trip ever (New York) a few years ago. My mom had to keep him in the freezer until I could come home and we could have a proper burial. It was very traumatic for all three of us (especially Gonzo.)
  • Speaking of the freezer, I also had to freeze a dead fish for some people I was housesitting for. That was awkward.

There are many more stories I could share—a cat getting it’s head caught in the rails of our dining room chair and me having to butter it to get it out (not unlike my mom buttering my own head when I was little and got my head caught in the rails of the stairway) or an accidental archeological find while planting flowers in the pet garden, for example—but I’ll leave you with just one more.

  • I would often dog sit for some people down the street. (Don’t worry—there is no freezer involved in this story.) They have a big dog and a little mutt that is about 3,000 years old in dog years—Burrie. When I was first introduced to the dogs, I was told that Burrie squatted when he peed instead of lifting his leg. That’s not that weird in and of itself, but the reason he squats is because he doesn’t have a penis. Apparently he was hit by a car when he was little and it was ripped off, never to be seen again. He was taken to the shelter and was going to be put down, but this family paid for his surgery and adopted him. I was told by the husband that if his penis ever gets ripped off, he just wants to be put down.

At any rate, Wendell will be missed.

She was buried in the garden cemetery among the many animal companions we’ve loved and lost throughout the years.  We’re all sad, but I can’t wait for the flowers in that garden to bloom—especially the catnip.

Plus, it helps to remember that things could always be worse…

(But I’m still sad.)

Assuming their heads aren’t falling off, do you have a pet story to share? Mishaps? Cool tricks? Great name?

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24 responses to “A Good Nine Lives

  1. my condolences to Wendell
    May be he rolling in catnip and whole milk saucers in Heaven

  2. I know you didn’t want this to be a sad post, but Im sad I never met Wendell. And wow, no wonder you dont eat animals!

    My milli died when I was in treatment. She was thirteen but she was a german shepherd so thats old for her kind. I had a fish named “Phish” who was flushed down the toilet after only a few months, and danny who was a green garden snake. Maybe we just need to open a zoo or something.

  3. Sorry about Wendell, I had a cat that looked a little similar to Wendell named Tiger who passed away two years ago after being my buddy for sixteen years. I bet they’re hanging out together now =)

    Funny animal story? Well not super funny but my cousin had a turtle as a child and she obviously didn’t pay much attention to it because it passed away and my aunt removed it from the tank but kept the tank in tact and my cousin didn’t even notice the turtle was gone for almost a year.

    Nicole G

    • I had a friend with a pet turtle, but it only had three legs. It kind of swam in circles…(the turtle, not the friend.)

  4. Aww RIP Wendell. ❤
    "I just thought he was real quiet…" (random but one of my fave d&d lines)

  5. Poor Wendell. She must have been good-natured or really old to let you put that hat on and photograph her. Although she does look ready to rip off someone’s face.

    • That picture is a couple years old, but she was still really old then. Although she does look ready to rip someone’s face off, she only had one tooth, so we had no fear. She would gum you on occasion though, so she gets an “A” for effort.

  6. The buttered cat story is my favorite. It’s still sad, even if you’ve had lots of animals die.

  7. Sorry about Wendell. She looked gruff, but lovable. Pet death posts can make me sob uncontrollably, which isn’t fun, so thank you for writing one that was different, less sad as you said.

  8. Im sorry to hear about your kitty. It is understandable that you would be sad. Im sure you have lots of happy memories with your kitty that you can treasure 🙂

  9. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, but you’ve got a great attitude about it! Remember the fun you had with Wendell.

    Also,Dumb & Dumber is one of my most favorite movies, ever. My favorite lines are “Pretty bird…pretty bird!” and when they were driving and the cop pulled up beside them and asked them to pullover and Harry replied “No, it’s a cardigan!” Ahahaaa….okay, that made my day.

  10. Awww Abby, my condolences. Your love for animals is heartening and reading about your past pets made me think about all of my pets and stories. 2 words: hobby farm.

    Here is one specific sad one… We had a pair of ducks, The Johnsons, that tried for years to hatch a babe. Finally one year they did! And one morning as I was in the barn feeding calves, The Johnsons and their duckling were quacking around in the pasture…and a hawk swooped down out of nowhere and baby duck was carried away. It was the saddest thing I ever saw…watching those two just quack around in confusion. I’ll never forget it.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your cat.

    Sometimes in the mornings, I will lift my dog up in the air and do the singing/chanting from the Lion King. It freaks the eff outta my dog but it makes me laugh.

  12. Sad to hear about Wendell, may her memories comfort you.

    I’ve had fuzzy friends all my life, birds, dogs, teddy bear hamsters, fish, and cats, and I’m about 8,000 years old in dog years. 😉 My basset hound passed away about two months ago, and now we are fuzzy friendless, which is really strange for me.

    The memories and pictures of my fuzzy friends make me smile, even though I’m sad. They become such an ingrained part of your life.

  13. This post is funny and sad at the same time. It’s really strange.

    I believe Wendell has been a happy cat, having spent nine lives with you. 🙂

  14. Oh no! I’m so sad too. You did give me a giggle with the video so thanks for that. But I’m still sorry about Wendell. And impressed that the name Wendell can be used for girl cats and not just boy cats. And it’s a very distinguished name by the way. As is Cromwell. No Fluffy or Tiger for you!

    My 16 yr old is here nagging me to brush her. Perhaps she knows that her cousin is in heaven and wants to tell me so.

    Hugs, Abby. I’m so sorry.

    • I was in kindergarten when I named Cromwell, and it came from a story about a puppy that always got in trouble. Not a whole lot of thinking involved in that one, seeing as I was 5 😉 Thanks for your comment, as I know you love your furry little felines to death as well. Actually, I love your furry little felines to death as well.

  15. So sorry about the cat. It’s always tough losing a pet. Thanks for stopping by my site. Loved your comment.

  16. Now I am stuck with the image of a buttered head. Oy,

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about Wendell. The picture of her reminds me of my husbands now also passed cat, Cheech (also a lady). Cheech had a very similar “I’m not fucking amused” face when people tried to mess with her. She seriously would have clawed the shit out of that hat.

    The butter story reminds me of another connection you have with my husband. He, too, got his head caught in a rail of a stairway. Unfortunately for him, it was while visiting the cider mill. I guess he wanted to get just a little closer to the wonderful donut and apple smell. He’s 35 and still hasn’t lived it down. I don’t think butter was involved but considering the man likes to eat butter straight from the tub, I think it would have eased the ego pain he’s suffered ever since 🙂

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