Sylvester and Charcoal ...Do you believe in life after love?

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December 1984 my friend, Sue, had called to tell me that her kittens were now 4 months old and driving her crazy. I would love a kitten for my daughter, who was 5 years old at the time. We picked out this beautiful, tiger, male kitten and named him Sylvester. He was so loved, especially by our daughter.

A couple years later we adopted this beautiful black lab mix….the tricky word is “mix”. He was the cutest puppy you had ever seen, that grew into the ugliest dog you had ever seen. By that time, it was too late, we loved him. We named this puppy Charcoal , but Sylvester had the upper hand. Plus I loved cats more than dogs, so Charcoal would never have a chance to be the dominant pet in our house, even though he grew to be about 50 lbs.

Charcoal learned very quickly that I loved my cat and he was not to hurt him or chase him. Sylvester, with the sixth sense that cats have, knew this, so he picked on Charcoal every waking moment which was not often.

Charcoal weighed about 50 pounds and Sylvester was a husky cat, at about 20 pounds. Sylvester would slap Charcoal, then run as fast as he could, trying to coax the dog to chase him. Charcoal, would look at me as if to say… mama did you see that? I would shake my finger at him and say “don’t you hurt my kitty!”. Charcoal would lay down feeling defeated. Soon Sylvester would come strolling back upset that the dog was lazy and no fun at all. The looks they would give each other were so funny and then Charcoal would look to me for approval. Yes, you’re a good boy! He would wag that tail and clear the table as I pet him.

Charcoal loved playing with the kids. In fact, he really thought he was one of the kids. We would go to Wolf Lake Park and he would run to the circular slide, climb up and slide down. It was cute and fun to watch him and the children play. Charcoal would then run to the water faucet, which was constantly running; he would get a drink and run back to slide down with the children. I imagine he dreamed of those days when he was alone in the house, with everyone working.

Cats seem to have the ability to know if you are awake or asleep and Sylvester knew that for sure. I would wake up and never open my eyes; pretending to be sleeping, just so I could have some peace before getting up. Sylvester would put his nose in my eye as if to say…”I know you are awake and I want to eat right now!” He knew I would get up and feed him; after all, he really wasn’t asking for much in return for his love.

Our children grew up and Sylvester and Charcoal were getting very old. Sylvester was having strokes on a monthly basis. I would come home on my lunch hour to take him to his kitty litter, and make sure he still had food and water, because he could not walk very well. He never had an accident and always waited for me. I loved him and it was so hard to let go. Nine months and nine strokes later, we decided that we were only keeping him alive for the next stroke. Charcoal would not spend his entire life at the mercy of a cat…Sylvester died at the age of 18. We buried him on the 2 acres of land, we had just purchased to build our house. We had a little ceremony and our hearts were crushed as we listened to our daughter cry for the cat that was with her, during her entire childhood. She had claimed that he was the only male that stood by her through every heartache. We now have a tomb stone in honor of our loved one, Sylvester.

With four people working in our house, Charcoal went insane and died at the age of 15. Who would've known that Charcoal needed Sylvester as much as I did, to keep him company. They both left our family with memories of a lifetime.

Losing Sylvester and Charcoal was a huge loss. I cried for hours after work. The land we had purchased, the house we were building, my job….nothing mattered to me. My children were busy with their lives and those precious little critters, that needed me so much, were gone.

After about a week of mourning, my husband grabbed me by the hand and said lets go to the store. He said there are always people wanting to get rid of cats. I was resistant to the idea but went anyway. After about the third store, I found one note about someone wanting to sell their kittens. I called and my first question was do you have a male? She said we have one. My next question was what color? Because to me, at that time, I wanted Sylvester back. She said he is a brown, tiger color. I knew God had reserved for me that kitten. Such perfect timing. So we went to pick out our kitten and I knew which one was him. It was Sylvester all young and new again. I picked him up and held him… this is Sylvester Jr. Then my husband picked up a female tiger and said.. this is Sylvia. God had double blessed us.

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  1. sasha the cat's Avatar
    I love animals. Born the fourth of five children, my late mother often told me that when I first began to focus my eyes and saw our Cat, Miss Kitty, my eyes were always on her.

    Reading about Sylvester and Charcoal -- well I had to comment.

    We had Cats, Dogs and Budgies and Canaries as well as an aquarium filled with beautiful fish. I loved them all. As each Pet went to Rainbow Bridge, they were greatly mourned, never forgotten.

    I miss every one of my Pets who have gone to Rainbow Bridge. Growing up we had many pets at one time, all of the time. I am 64 now so the list of darlings I have loved and love still is long. Cats: Miss Kitty, Big Kitty, Mini, Squeaker, Tigger, Pussy -- and my beloved dogs of my youth -- Tammy and Tuffy.

    When I was on my own:

    Pussy came to live with me once I was on my own; she was my kitty.

    Pussy was 5 when I married my first husband. We got a little black beauty who was 5 weeks old whom we called Buttons ('cause he was "cute as a button"). Buttons was supposed to be a female but we found out when Pussy was pregnant that he was a male! Our kitties are indoor kitties. She had one Kitten who looked exactly like her. She was adopted. The following Spring we got a puppy whom we named "Cuddles" because he loved to cuddle. He was about 6 weeks old when he came to us and sadly, about five weeks later, he got very ill -- we had no idea why -- and took him to the vet for treatment. Our sweet puppy had Canine parvovirus type 2. Our Cuddles did not respond to treatment and was euthanized by the Vet.

    My husband developed a severe allergy to Cats so we had to find homes for Pussy and Buttons, which we did. Broke my heart. I was 21 at the time.

    Did not have a Pet to love until my son was 10 months old. My mother had a little canary whom I adopted from her as she missed having a cat. The little canary lived with us until my son was 2. My son was having his afternoon nap when Bobby the Canary fell over in her cage, dead.. Veterinarian said it was a heart attack. When Bobby, the Canary died my son asked "Where's Bobby?" I told him Bobby, like all of the birds, had flown South for the Winter. The following Spring when the birds returned, my son asked "When is Bobby coming home from Florida?" Pretty good question from a 2 1/2 year old child. That child is a 38 year old man now and he is an astrophysicist.

    When my son was almost 5 (I was 30). We got a male puppy from SPCA in July who we named Scamp. The following June we adopted Bobby (Beagle dog) from a neighbour who had been transferred to Australia.

    My husband and I divorced when our son was 7.

    When my son was turning 11, for that birthday he got a Kitten whom we called Tiggy (also referred to as Best Cat in Universe "BCU"). Sadly for us, Scamp died young. Bobby was 6 1/2 when we got Tiggy. Bobby loved Tiggy so much; it was so cute. Joining our home in short order were the cats Princess and Paddy Paws so now it was my son, me, Bobby, Tiggy, Princess and Paddy Paws.

    Then I remarried.

    Paddy Paws and Bobby died in 1996. That was so hard. Tiggy lived to 2000 (b. 1985); Princess lived to 2001 (b. 1986). In Spring 1995 a lovely calico cat was abandoned near our home. That was Sasha. She had five gorgeous kittens Summer of 1995 whom we placed in good homes. Sasha joined our household in October 1996 when she graciously agreed to become an indoor kitty. She lived until August 2005. Her story is on Cat of the Day "Sasha Begins Chemo".

    I now had no pets. Could not stand that. In September 2005 I visited my veterinarian just to say hello. A gorgeous cat came running to greet me. His name was Norman. He was ten years old and up for adoption. I fell in love. Went home and told my husband I wanted Norman. He was not ready. In November I told my husband I wanted Norman as a birthday gift. Now that was and idea given to my by a friend ... tell him what you want for your birthday. Worked out well. Norman come to live with us January 4 2006 followed by Felix who arrived August 1 2006.

    Sadly for us, Norman went to Rainbow Bridge July 17th 2012. We miss him so much. We called him "Mr. Manners". Norman never, ever scratched furniture, jumped up on counters, tables and waited to be invited onto furniture or our bed. It took him a while to realize that because he was Mr. Manners, he was allowed on the beds or furniture.

    Felix had been found in an awful situation. He was a wee kitten when found. So Felix was fostered. He was 10 months old when he came home with us. He loved Norman so much. When Norman went to RB Felix was lost.

    Then Ebony came to be rescued. I took her in. She had two beautiful kittens, Raven and Licorice on August 5th 2011. Licorice and Ivory both adopted into good homes. I have made two new friends and get to visit Licorice and Ivory in their homes!

    But we kept the Kitten named Raven ... he was introduced to Felix in late November 2011 and now they are best buddies.

    Today my husband and I have three darling cats who share their lives with us:
    Felix (Maine Coone, 6 1/2 years old);
    Rascal (Grey/Silver Tabby, 3 1/2 years old) and
    Raven, first born kitten of Ivory, born August 5th 2011 on my hand.

    When Ivory's kittens were born, We knew right away they were the sons of the big black stray whom I named Ebony. Ebony came daily for food and would sleep under the front balcony on the bed I made for him. He came from early 2009; the last day I saw him come for food was February 22nd 2012.

    We named the kittens Raven and Licorice. Licorice was adopted October 22 2011 and the condition was "visiting rights" for me so I get to see this darling. Ivory was adopted November 3, 2011. The "purrents" of Ivory and Licorice became friends.

    As Raven adopted me the moment he was born on my hand, he is with us and with Felix and Rascal. All of my pets throughout my life have been rescues. They are the best, most loyal and loving pets and lights in our lives.

    Life without Pets, may that never happen to me. I am also vegetarian because how can one decide "this animal I can kill and eat; but this animal is a Pet?"
  2. sasha the cat's Avatar
    purrs from my Kitties!
  3. Sindy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sasha the cat
    purrs from my Kitties!
    Wow. You have many furbabies at Rainbow Bridge. The names are adorable. You must have a lot of love to go around. I enjoyed your story. Thank you & Thank you for reading my Blog & responding.

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