Friday, August 10, 2007

Quacker Fat Cat, 1989(?)-2007

Quacker Fat Cat, 1989(?)-2007, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Quacker, my mother's cat, did not come back in today after going outside this morning. That's very unusual for this cat as he's a homebody and likes to be inside most of the time, especially when it's this hot. Well, sadly, we believe Quacker has probably gone on his way to the Rainbow Bridge.

My mother has always had cats. She has never sought them out however; they somehow always find their way to her. There must be a neon sign outside her house that only cats can see saying "All Felines Welcome." Sometimes there is a vacancy and sometimes there isn't. But somehow they always manage to come at just the right time. Whenever she has an old cat, there always seems to be a young cat waiting in the wings to take up residency in its place, should something happen. This was the case with Quacker.

All my life there has been a cat or cats at her house. Some cats my mom inherited from her children, me included. But a lot have come to live here on their own, just appearing. Some have ended up staying for many, many years, living the rest of their lives out here with her. My mother has never turned one away. She is the patron saint of stray cats. I admire her for that.

Nobody ever knew how old Quacker was. He, too, just appeared one day about 18 or so years ago, already grown when he came. At one time my mother had five cats, Quacker among them I believe. Slowly, one by one, something happened to them: cancer, kidney failure, old age, arthritis, stroke. And then my mother was down to one cat: Quacker. He had always been an outdoor cat...until last year. She finally let him come in after all these years and after all her other cats and dogs were gone. And Quacker just thrived inside, loving every minute of it. He'd snuggle next to her in the recliner, clawing her when he'd purr; he'd sleep on her bed or on the big chair in the living room; he'd let you know when he wanted out; he'd let you know when he wanted in. And he had a purr you could hear in the next room. It truly sounded like a motor running. He got his name from the way he meowed. It sounded like a duck more than cat. Therefore he was called Quacker. But he was always laid back and calm.

Quacker developed a cataract last summer. It was the first real sign of his aging. But he was always fat. He was as big as a groundhog. Often times he was mistaken for one out in the driveway. He would sleep on top of mom's car, or anybody's car for that matter. He would lay in the sun and soak up the sunshine. He was a very laid back cat. It tickled me how he related to Barney, my dachshund. He was Barney's buddy, as you can see from the picture. They were big buddies. Whenever we'd come to visit mom, Barney would always go say hello to Quacker, tail wagging and tongue licking at Quacker's face until Quacker had had enough and swat at him. Quacker never put his claws out though. He wasn't afraid of Barney. He was almost as big as Barney! They got along really well. All you had to do was talk to Quacker and he'd purr and then he'd 'quack', and then Barney would interrupt because Barney would get jealous. He'd come over and lick, lick, lick at Quacker's face until he'd had quite enough of the dog tongue and then swat at Barney. But there were other times when all Barney had to do was lick at Quacker and Quacker would start purring, until he got tired of it that is. Sometimes they would even sleep on the couch together. It was funny. They never 'fought like cats and dogs'. They were really very good buddies.

Then back in May a kitten came to my mother's house. Again, it just appeared from out of nowhere. I thought it was strange that one would appear as there was not a 'vacancy' in her house. (I'm now wondering if cats don't have a sort of sixth sense that tells them when another one is about to pass on. That would explain a lot of her cats coming on the heels of another's passing or just before.) The kitten stayed outside. It was wild. My mother eventually tamed it and it is now a very playful and fun kitten who loves people and is Kevin's best buddy. Barney, on the other hand, thinks it's prey and wants to chase it and bark at it. It bows up its back and its tail gets all bushy like a Halloween cat when Barney goes after it, but then the kitten just comes right back for more. (They say curiosity killed the cat. Well, it's most definitely going to kill this one!)

Quacker did not like the new kitten, hissing and smacking at it. But the kitten would come right back for more, chasing Quacker's tail and pouncing on it, only to get smacked and hissed at by Quacker. Dislike for the new youngster was written all over Quaacker's face and tail. He'd put his ears back and twitch that tail like "go away, kid, you bother me". But the kitten didn't care. The kitten has a LOT to learn.

For the past week Quacker had been not quite himself. His eating had slowed a bit and yesterday he was not himself at all. He seemed almost disoriented. He would sort of walk in a circle like he didn't know exactly where he was or something. It was weird. He wouldn't jump up on the chair to sit next to mom. He wouldn't really talk when you'd talk to him. He was not his normal Quacker self. Mom was going to take him to the vet today, but she never got the chance. She let him out this morning and we have not seen him since. He was usually always asleep in the chair outside on her porch. Or he would be laying in the driveway soaking up the sun. Or he would be on the hood of the car asleep. But not today. He was nowhere to be found. He just vanished.

I've heard that animals will sometimes go off and find a place when it's their time to go. We believe that is what he did. He always came back, especially being as old as he was and finally getting to be in the house after all this time. He relished finally being in the house. There was something wrong. Something really wrong. We could tell. And we know in our hearts that he is gone.

Barney will miss his buddy. We'll all miss his spirit. We will miss his 'quack'. And we will miss his purring like no other cat you've ever heard. We will just plain miss him.

Here's to you Quacker. You were a good ol' cat. The most laid back cat I've ever known and definitely the one with the loudest purr. We'll see you again at the Rainbow Bridge.


suchprettycolors said...

awww...RIP Quacker. My cat who passed away last summer sounds a little like him. Big Bubba was big, mellow, sweet/a lover, and he kinda quacked, too. What a beautiful memorial post you wrote for Quacker... said...

Good Kitty.
I'm so sorry he is not here anymore.

I've experienced this and it took forever for me to not feel sadness.

Miachelle said...

My condolences. Pets are our family, and it's difficult to lose one.

SylviaV said...

I'm so sorry. Quacker brought so much friendship and happiness to you and your mother, and he is lucky to have such a caring family.

Liz (made in lowell) said...

What a great memorial you wrote to Quacker, he was lucky to find your mom, and you were all lucky to know him for so long.