Our (so-called) "employer"

Our (so-called) "employer"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dearly Departed Willie, aka Mr. Big Boy


Willie at age 3 or 4, circa 1995.

My 18 1/2 year old Willie was helped along to Kitty Heaven yesterday morning. He'd been slowing way down all year and stopped eating his baby food meats two days ago. He was struggling to drink water and to walk. I should've taken him in Wednesday but wanted to give the other furs and myself time to adjust to his imminent absence as he was the elder of this tribe, here before all the remaining. My wonderful vet assured me I was doing the right thing as his kidneys, and many of his other organs, were shutting down and his body was pretty much "eating itself", which explained the near-daily bouts of pre-dawn bilious vomiting.

I got Willie March 31, 1992, while living in Monterey, CA. My current collection of cats began the previous November when I took Gracie in over Thanksgiving, an adult female Tabby who looked remarkably like Sadie. Gracie had been feeding with a group of ferals behind Ralph's market at the Carmel Crossroads and the women that were feeding the colony knew she was not feral but probably dumped. I thought Gracie needed company while I worked all day. Gracie was not overly fond of Willie. At all. But he was the remaining kitten of a litter up for adoption and when I went to see him he was splayed out on a couch with legs and the wingspan of a basketball player. And he had fleas the size of quarters on him. There was no debating. I had come with a carrier and was taking him regardless of what he looked like. I've really only chosen one pet. The rest have all come to me as strays or rescues that were the only remaining option.

Willie on 6/16/10, North Carolina, sunrise on the screened porch.

Longest Tail Ever.


I "fostered" tiny Bianca for Maria Hearst who was Italy-bound in October of 1992. Maria had found Bianca in a grocery store parking lot in Paso Robles, CA, and brought her to a Carmel-by-the-Sea inn where I was working. The resemblance was spooky, and of course the "foster" has continued for 18 years.

Bookends I

Bookends II

Willie and Bianca moved from Monterey to New Mexico with me (along with Gracie and a new stray, Merlin, who showed up in my front yard two months before the move!). We found Milo in NM, and then 9 months later we moved to Pagosa Springs, CO, where we lived for a decade. There we picked up Walter, Leah and Sadie! Good Lord. Clearly my pet accumulation phase was in full swing. I had six cats and one crazy Blue Heeler puppy in the house by January of 1999.

From the California coast to the mountains of Western North Carolina. One of my most treasured paintings that was actually not of me and Willie, but of course, it really was.

Going toward the Light.


Last morning coffee on the geriatric couch.

Hospice watch, 6/17.


One of the last shots of the Geriatric Bookends. I love this one.

Willie was so docile I knew I did not need a carrier. After shoving Walter into a carrier the morning he died so suddenly and regretting it ever since, I was not about to stress Willie, or myself, in that way. There is nothing worse than the trip home from the vet's with an empty carrier.

It was a very peaceful and quiet death and while we are sad, having time to gracefully ease into the goodbyes is truly a blessing. I put the blanket on which he was euthanized in the middle of the living room floor as the vet had suggested with Walter to give the others a knowing of what has happened. None of the remaining furs seem confused or unduly stressed, although Bianca is back to her 3am howling (and 3:45am, and 6am) which she had stopped for a while as she and Willie moved out onto the screened porch couch when it turned warm enough.

I took a ton of photos, of course, and decided to shoot two short videos as well. It occurred to me that now it's just us girls at home - Bianca, Annie, Sadie, Leah and me. As much as I'd love to add a boy kitty or two, I think I'm entering a new phase of my life in which "less is more" when it comes to pet collecting. (And you know, of course, this ensures that a stray boy kitten will come howling through my yard any minute now and I will be forced to "foster" him for the next 18 years.)




75 comments:

Everycat said...

We are very sorry to learn of beautiful Willie's passing. He was a gorgeous cat and it looks like his long friendship with Bianca was true and full of love. Hoever long our cats grace us with their companionship, it is just never long enough.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to him with us. The pictures are very precious. We send you all love and rumbly purrs

Fly free at The Bridge Willie

Whicky Wuudler
Oliver
& Gerry

gourdphile said...

Oh, Laura! I'm so sorry....Willie was well-loved. I can think of no better way to pass final hours on this mortal plane than in dappled sunlight, on my favorite blankey, surrounded by those who love me.

My condolences to you and the furs....

Peace upon you,

jan

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Our purrs for those who are left. We know that Willie is in a good place at the Rainbow Bridge.

Alexi said...

We iz soooo sad and sorry to hear of Willie's death. Loving a beloved cat is never easy. We are purring for you.

Alexi said...

Oops that should be LOSING a beloved cat is never easy. LOVING a beloved cat is ALWAYS easy. We cats iz easy to LOVE !!

Agains, we at de Castle are very sad about your loss of Willie.

Eric and Flynn said...

We are sorry that Willie was called to the Bridge. We can see what a handsome companion he was. We send our purrs and mum sends (((hugs))). Willie will run free and as agile as a kitten at the Bridge.

Kea said...

We're so sorry that you have lost Willie. We know it was the right decision, and a mercy, but still, it's unbearably hard.

Sending you all purrs and universal healing Light, wishing you Peace.

-Kim and the Fuzzy Tales crew

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Willie had a long and obviously happy life. We're glad you had a chance for a lingering good-bye and Willie had a peaceful passing. But we know how painful it is to lose a furry. Warm purrs and tail wags.

KC said...

We's so sorry Willie had to go to tha Bridge.
We knows you miss him sumfing fierce, but hims in good company.
Sending lots of Love & Purrs,
KC

Harry Spotter said...

I am so so sorry to hear about Willie. What a loving and touching tribute to him. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

ABBY said...

With heaviness in our hearts and tears in our eyes we are sadden to hear about Willie. We were all cared for him. As much as we love them there comes a time when we must relinquish them and good byes are never easy. What sweet pictures and videos you will be glad you have these in the days to come. Our soft purrs and deep purrayers for you.

purrin for Willie
Abby,Boo,Ping,Jinx,Gracie & Mom Debra

Hannah and Lucy said...

I had never seen Willie until today but when I saw his picture I had to come and say how sorry I am - he reminded me so much of my first ever cat (called William) and it is 19 years since he died) but it is so much better for your boy now at the rainbow bridge running free and having no illness.
My thoughts are with you and I know you will miss him very much.
Hannah and Lucy's Mum Sue xx

Victor Tabbycat said...

We is so sorry to see that Willie headed for da bridge. We noes it was time, but dat doesn't make it easier. I's afraid it'll be tuffest fur Ms Bianca, loosin her life-long furiend. She looks furry healthy, tho. Willie will be watchin ofur alla yous, always.
Sad purrs,
Victor, Nina & Tabbymom Jen

PS Sadie, if you needs sum snuggles an headlicks, I's yur mancat. Just call or come by.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

We're sending big hugs and lots of purrs to you...Willie, have fun at the Bridge and say hello to our Punkin, she'll show you all the best places to play there.

cats of wildcat woods said...

Sending lots of purrs and prayers for you in your loss. Willie was so handsome and loved. Beautiful tribute to him!

Fat Eric said...

We are so glad that you had Willie in your lives for such a long and happy time, and we are so sad to hear that he has gone to the Bridge. He was a big floofy mancat like me. Sending purrs and thinking of you all.
Fat Eric and mum, Kate.

A few Good Cats said...

We send our sympathies and comforting purrs for your loss. Willie had a good long life with you, and you will always have many happy memories of him.

Junior and Orion said...

We are sending lots and lots of purrs for you at this sad time. It sounds like Willie lived a long, loved life. We are very soory for your loss.

Charlemagne and Tamar said...

Sending soft purss to help comfort you,

Charlemagne and Tamar

Ikaika said...

We are so sorry that your beautiful boy Willie has left you. He was so loved. We send gentle purrs and headbumps to all.

Run free at the Bridge, beautiful Willie ...

'Kaika and the Yosemite cats

Freya's Staff said...

What a beautiful tribute. My heart is aching for you at the moment, and tears streaming down my face as I remember how I felt when I lost my Scampie in the same way.

Soft purrs to you.
xx

RekindleMe said...

What a beautiful boy! I loved your tribute to him and think it is so nice that you had so much time to say good bye.

We lost our boy about a month ago, from renal failure, too. Unfortunately, we did not realize what was happening and didn't have much time.

I'm sure that Willie is smiling down from heaven at all of you girls!! My thoughts and prayers are with you! Sharon

Zoolatry said...

Prayers, purrs. And love from us.

Ayla and Iza, said...

Our purrs to you for Willie. 18 and a half is a great age to reach for us kitties...

We all hate it, but there comes a time to depart this world and go over the Bridge. We are glad that Willie chose to spend SO long with you. All the family must have been very special for him to stay so many happy years.

We know that you will treasure that time always...

The Island Cats said...

We are so sorry to hear about Willie. Even though he had a long life, we know it wasn't easy to say goodbye. We send you comforting purrs to help you through this sad time.

momsbusy said...

willie shared a wonderful life filled w/ love. sending your family comforting purrs and healing purrayers.

momsbusy & kazoku neko

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He was such a beautiful little boy. My heart goes out to you, we'll be sending lots of purrs your way.

Kari said...

We are so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Willie. Our mum is crying because of the obviuous love between these two dear kitties and because Willie looks like our angel brother Arthur. Willie looks so frail and tired.We know how hard it is to say goodbye.

Although we grieve his death, so to do we celebrate his wonderful long life. Mum has a special candle she lights when one of us crosses. She will light the candle for Willie.

Samantha, Clementine and Maverick said...

We are so sorry to hear of Willie's passing!! We know he was loved and loved you back for 18+ years!! That was a beautiful tribute and the videos were wonderful!! Goodbye Willie Till We Meet Again!!
Your TX furiends,

Cory said...

Such a precious tribute to Willie. We are sending soft warm purrs to you and your family.

Daisy said...

Goodbye, sweet Willie. I am glad you had a glorious life filled with love and happiness. Rest in peace, good boy.

Brian said...

My sisters and I are very sorry to hear the news about the sweet Willie. That was such a wonderful tribute to your Willie. We send purrs to you.

Forty Paws said...

It is good that Willie had a wonderful life with you. This is a sad time for you and we are sending purrs and purrayers.

Luf, Us

Mickey,Georgia , Tillie said...

We are sorry to hear about Willie. It is hard to lose a kitty you have had for so long. You gave him a happy life :)
Purrs to you and hugs!!!!!!!!!
Purrs Mickey,Georgia & Tillie

The Creek Cats said...

We are so sorry to hear about your sweet Willie leaving for the Bridge. (((hugs)))

Happy Purrthday to Bianca! We hope you have a wonderful day, sweetheart.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

We know you are still mourning Willie, but we would like to wish Bianca a very Happy Birthday! Purrs and tail wags.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Happy Gotcha Day to Annie!

Purrs and tail wags to all of you.

Furkidsmom said...

Happy Gotcha Day to Annie.

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

The Lee County Clowder said...

We almost don't want to put this on such a sad post, but...

Happy Gotcha Day, Annie. We hope you all are doing well.

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Karen Jo said...

I am so very sorry about Willie. I came over to wish Annie a happy Gotcha Day.

Eric and Flynn said...

We came to wish Annie a Happy Gotcha Day.

The Creek Cats said...

Happy Gotcha Day to Annie!

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Anonymous said...

Hello, Laura I am emailing you for a dear friend of mine. She gave you Bianca and she would would love to speak with you again. Please email me at ziasphotographs@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

ArtemisiaFSS said...

We are sorry that Willie was called to the Bridge. We can see what a handsome companion he was and how very much he was loved. We are sending purrs of comfort and Mommy sends a big hug to you.

meowmeowmans said...

We, too, are so sorry that Willie had to run off to the Bridge. Thank you for loving him so much and so well. Purrs to you.

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

There is never a good time to let such a beloved cat as Wilie go ~ and we are very sad for your loss. But although we didn't know Wilie we can see how very loved he was (and still is) and we thank you for making his life so very happy. Purrs.

ra husky said...

soft husky woooos,

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Marg said...

We are so sorry about Willy and what a terrific tribute to him. Love all the pictures of him. It always so sad when they have to leave you no matter how prepared you try to be.
Happy Birthday to Annie. Take care. Hugs to everyone.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

We check back once in a while to see if you are all okay since Willie passed. We hope you are.

Happy Gotcha Day to Annie.

Team Tabby said...

So sorry you have lost your boys, hope you and the girls are okay - Happy Birthday to Annie!

meowmeowmans said...

Happy Gotcha to Annie.

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