Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, August 20, 2004 6:09 am

Goodbye

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 6:09 am

Ann and I got Hobbes in April 1988, when he was a 6-week-old kitten. We got him to keep our other cat, Bathsheba, company because Bashie’s brother, Spooky, had gotten out and run away. Hobbes made himself at home by climbing up on furniture, waiting ’til Bashie walked by underneath and then pouncing on her tail, gnawing on the end of it while trying to disembowel its midsection with his hind claws. Bashie would patiently look at all this business going on at the end of her tail for a few seconds, then whap Orange Kitty in the head.

One weekend soon after we got him, Ann and I drove to her parents’ in Virginia to pick up a TV they were giving her. When we returned, I tossed my bomber jacket — the only expensive thing I had bought myself purely for pleasure in five years in the working world — onto the sofa before carrying the console set in the front door. As we did, I saw Hobbes jump up onto the sofa, stare defiantly at both of us and, secure in the knowledge that we couldn’t set down the TV and move quickly enough to stop him, pee all over that jacket. Then he calmly hopped down, walked to his water bowl and drank. I fumed. “Hey!” Ann said. “He’s reloading!”

Hobbes eventually outgrew that particular type of mischief. In fact, he eventually outgrew mischief entirely. Before that happened, however, a column about him that I wrote was distributed nationwide by the New York Times News Service, making him temporarily famous. He wore his fame lightly. Indeed, he behaved almost as if he had no idea.

By 18 months, Hobbes weighed 18 pounds. As I said in the column, I could’ve drilled three holes in him and taken him bowling. We dubbed him BOFOK: Big Ol’ Fat Orange Kittycat.

When the kids came along, he was great with them, even though Hooper would keep trying to pick him up and there was just too much of Hobbes for Hooper’s little arms to be able to hold it all, so that as Hooper wrestled with one end of Hobbes, the other would just sort of flow out of his arms and back down onto the ground. There’s some sort of physics lesson in there, I think.

Two days ago, Hobbes had stopped eating and drinking and was looking pretty unhappy. I took him to the vet, who said the problem might be simple hyperthyroidism. Blood and urine work told a different story, however: His kidneys had failed. So yesterday morning, Ann and I went to the vet’s and spent a little quiet time with Hobbes, snuggling him and scratching behind his ears and under his chin, listening to him purr until the injection took hold, the purring stopped and he laid his head down on his paw for the last time.

The orthodoxy of my religion holds out the hope of salvation to only one species. Still, I draw a small bit of comfort from the thought of God Almighty on His throne, Hobbes purring loudly and heavily in His lap and Bathsheba (who died in her sleep in 1998) nestled daintily atop the back of His throne, leaning ever so slightly against the back of His neck. Because after all, this is Heaven we’re talking about.

Goodbye, Hobbes, and thank you for everything. We love you. We’ll miss you.

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