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Thread: The old man

  1. #1

    The old man

    For the first several years of my life, regarding pets I lived in complete lethargy, not particularly caring for one animal or the other. Oh, we had our family dogs and cats, but they were of no personal concern to me. They were someone else’s responsibility, And so it stayed, day in and day out, one day following another; one year following another.

    This was my disposition toward those vagabonds of domesticity, until that day Old Man showed up at my house. At first I failed to even notice the rugged, gray, apparently overfed, smelly and dirty, and what was quite apparently just another “tom” from the neighborhood. There had already been a cat hanging around, begging for its daily bread, and I had already acquiesced to its incessant cries for a handout. Each day as I left for work I would leave a handful of cat food on the porch, and upon return from work would deposit a handful on the porch before retiring for the night.

    Perhaps a day or two, or even three days passed before I noticed the new hanger-on intruding upon the other vagabond’s largesse. Being too much of a sap to run him off, I started leaving two handfuls of food. So that was the beginning -- the beginning of a relationship that was to change my life. The sad-looking old tramp would force himself into my life, and by so doing bring about a transformation that was for me quite unexpected.

    Old Man, no doubt a “bruiser” in his day, was not a cute little kitty. I am a man, and men like dogs, not cats; but somehow I could not totally neglect the elderly waif. As long as I kept the door open until he went out, the funky feline would prod along to the outside, and after I had arrived home in the evening, if I happened to open the door for a bit of fresh air, there he would be, sitting patiently on the porch; and as soon as the door was open, he would amble in, completely of the disposition that the door had been opened specifically for him. I made no attempt to educate him otherwise.

    During those early days I felt no affinity towards him. To the contrary he was to me a bit of a nuisance. He had a shriveled ear, and scratched at it constantly. He wore a perpetual scar, which often was bloody behind that ear. I never really paid attention. He was a cat, after all, not a person. But the blood became a problem on the porch and in the house, so I managed to enquire about the issue with a friend of mine who suggested that the cat had ear mites, and was simply scratching for that reason.

    So I took the step to clean the big guy’s ear. He was not for me cuddly, and it was not a pleasant experience, but he allowed me to stick a cotton swab in his ear. He never scowled or uttered disapproval when I soaked the swab in alcohol to clean the ear better. Eventually I noticed that he stopped scratching and the sore healed itself.

    Then there was more blood – not on his ear, but on the bottoms of his feet. Somehow two of his feet had become chafed. So I managed to bandage his feet well enough to cover the sores. Cats must move about, and even with the bandages, the bottoms of his feet did not fare well, so I rigged up a pair of “donuts” to fit his feet, and bandaged those in place. The donuts were small pieces of rubber with holes in the middle to fit around the contusions, yet give support to his feet. He could walk about without putting pressure directly on the sore part of his feet, and his feet healed up quickly then.

    I worked part of the time from home, and on those days that I did not go to work I would not think to leave food; but the two vagabonds that I had somehow adopted would let me know. So I began leaving a bowl of cat food on the floor of the house. I even rigged up a cat flap so that the cats could come and go at will, and even though there was a fence around the yard, cats have no trouble jumping over and escaping to the wide outside to explore. Or so I thought. I stepped into the yard one day, and going over to the gate of the fence saw Old Man sitting by. I opened the gate, and before I could go through he got up and waddled through ahead of me.

    “Lazy cat,” I said to myself.

    This arrangement would go on for a few months. I would see through the window that Old Man was waiting to be let out of the yard, whereupon I would dutifully go outside and open the gate. Then toward dusk I would peer outside, and there would be Old Man sitting outside the gate, patiently awaiting my arrival to let him in, which I dutifully did.

    One night I awoke with a start. It was very late – past midnight, and I felt that something was wrong. I looked about – the other cat was curled up at the foot of the bed, but I did not see Old Man. I had forgotten to let him in! Upon arriving at the gate, Old Man once again exhibited his patience, not displaying the least displeasure at having been neglected for so long. He only moved through the gate with all the confidence in the world, as if I had arrived at the appropriate time.

    Old Man could barely jump to the bed, and although I would prefer not to have a mangy old cat in my bed, it was no use trying to keep him out. Old Man would return to the bed no matter how many times I extricated him. It was customary for Old Man to find a spot on the very pillow where I lay my head, so that on many nights I had to sleep sans pillow.

    The two cats had always displayed a healthy appetite. Finicky those two were not. But the day finally came. I noticed a more-than-usual lethargic Old Man. He had already taken to staying indoors longer than usual. He had stopped gorging himself as he had when he first arrived. The trips to the gate were less frequent than before.

    One day I was working from home, and I became aware that Old man had not been outside in a few days. I sat and thought about it, and became aware that I had not had to fill his food bowl in a day or two. So I began to observe. A day went by, then another. Old Man had not touched his food.

    “His liver is no longer working,” the vet told me. They had taken blood, and they had a machine, and there could be no mistake. I was in the examination room, confidant and expectant that the vet would quickly set things straight. Perhaps a shot of vitamins, or some pills or something. But here was the vet giving me the words I had not expected. The words took their time making themselves understood to me. As I mulled the phrase, “stopped working,” it occurred to me that it was all over. Just like that.

    What do you do when you are a man? A tough-minded, hard-nosed man, who cares not for these dainty things that all women adore? I had only taken the brute in because I felt sorry for him; I had never particularly had any affinity for him, yet here he was, lying on the examination table, looking for all the world as though he were in his world, alive and vibrant; yet I could see in his eyes the signs of one who was tired, and ready to go to sleep.

    Old Man closed his eyes for the final time that day, and that day has been more than 10 years ago. And although he was only a cat, a flea-bitten, mite-infested, shriveled-ear bruiser, I loved him then, and I still love him. And I miss him. And what does a man do?

    I cried then, as I still do whenever I think of my friend, Old Man.

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    Last edited by Willow Oak; 04-24-2012 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Delaware, USA - The First State/Diamond State - home of The Blue Hens
    Posts
    9,105
    Dan - how good to hear from you again - even if it was to read this tear-jerker of a story. I've missed reading your tales (or is it tails? ) of the many critters that have crossed your path, and of ones who decided to stay too.

    Hoping that you are doing good and staying well, and that you will come back and visit here more often.
    I've Been Boo'd
    Thanks, Barry
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    My little dogs - two heartbeats at my feet.
    by Edith Wharton & Me
    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    13,276
    God bless Old Man, now a beautiful Angel always, and God bless you too, Dan, for bringing me to LES to read of his story.

    .
    Pat and cats
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,416
    It's good to hear from you again. Your story about Old Man really puts all into perspective. Old Man really knew his purpose and he was successful. RIP Old Man and give us a kitty smile every now and then.
    Yours in Whiskers

    I'm not young enough to know everything.

    "The Best Mirror is an Old Friend"

    “The secret of what is small is the secret of clear-sightedness; the guarding of what is soft and tender is the secret of strength.”

    • Lao Tzu

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,317
    Dan,

    Everyone grieves in their own way and their own time. Old Man was a beautiful boy who was loved, and loved you back unconditionally. You have your memories of him. Although it's been 10 years, there's still a void that somehow will never go away. I feel it everyday.

    Cry, grieve, do whatever you have to do. You're human. Don't ever apologize for that.

    Hugs,

    Donna

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,504
    That story just hit home, in a great way.
    I never cared for cats. Till a little girl came into my life.
    My sister had been complaining that my nieces beeing allergic to the long haired dog they had. One afternoon my wife found a puppy in the dumpster were we where living. We called my sister and told her we had a short hair puppy and we be willing to trade.
    In the mean time one of my nieces finds a kitten under a bush in their front yard. We drive up their with the puppy, not knowing about the kitten.
    Long story short we came home with the puppy and the kitten, she keeped her dog.
    I had to bottle feed this little hand full of fur and in the process started to fall in love. As she grew she would follow me every where. And when I would go to bed she would curl up along side my head and use a purr much softer then her usual. If I was sick she would sit on my chest so that I could not get out of bed.
    She was my nurse, friend, and lover.
    When she was 3 I went on a business trip for over a month, she was so up that the diabetes started. My wife said that she cried every night.
    She and Ginger the puppy became sisters to the point that Ginger a 78 pound Shepard/lab mix would try to purr.
    3 weeks after Ginger passed Patch’s finally let go at 18 years old.
    She has been gone for almost 15 years now and I miss her so that every time I think of her I cry. So yes I am writing through the tears now.
    That little ball of fur decided that she would change me into a cat lover, and she did.
    We say that she wrote the book and we have had several that studied it and then added pages.
    She did her job as right now there are 27 in the house, between ours and the fosters
    www.jsgill.net has most of the pictures of the fosters, transports and ours.
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    Last edited by GILL; 04-25-2012 at 11:05 AM.

    GILL & Crew; MOM & TIMMY, BAILEY, CHESSIE, EGYPT, LUCKY, PEAK,
    DEMETRI, OLIVE, PRINCESS, ROZ, BOOTS, DOBE, PENNY, SHADOW, MIDNIGHT, COLE, GRAMMY, CINDY, MOLLY, CICO, SPOTS, COOKIE, PHIL, LUCY, CLAUDETTE AND HENERY


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Posts
    14,804
    Good to see you here, Dan! When I saw the title of the thread, I thought you were referring to yourself.

    Once a cat comes into your life, they steel your heart, and Old Man has definitely changed you and your whole future, so yes, he had a purpose.

    Actually, I thought Sheba was your first cat.

    Rest in peace Old Man, you were so special.
    Randi



    "I don't know which weapons will be used in the third World war, but in the fourth, it will be sticks and stones" --- Albert Einstein.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    39,799
    We have printed a photo of your Dear Old Man Angel and he will soon find a place with My Found Hotel Cat Angels so he can come to lunches with us. He has his wings of silver and gold now and is a fully certified Awesome Animal Angel
    He reminds me of the Mnay Porch Cats who have come to the Found Cat Hotel, and I try too to see that they ahve food and shelter and whenever possible I try to find room at the inn for them
    I have never regretted this as these poor Cats , like Your Old Manneed love too.
    THE RAINBOW BRIDGE FOUND HOTEL ANGELS HAVE A NEW FRIEND IN CORINNA.


    ALMOND ROCCA BATON AND ELLIE ANGELS ARE GUARDIANS TO ETERNAL KITTENS ROCC-EL AND T TEEN ANGEL, ALMOND ROCA , VLAD , PAWLEE , SPRITE. LITTLE HEX, OSIRIS AND ANNIE ANGELS.
    EBONY BEAU TUBSTER AND PEACHES BW SPIKE & SMOKEY


    NOW PRECIOUS AND SAM ARE TOGETHER WITH ETERNAL KITTENS SAMMY ,PRESLEY, SYLVESTER AND SCRATCHY JR , MIGHTY MARINA, COSMIC CARMEN, SAMSON ,UNDER KITTY AND SUNKIST AUTUMN & PUMPKIN.
    MIA AND ORANGE BLOSSOM ANGELS HAVE ADOPTED TUXIE , TROOPER , SONGBIRD AND LITTLE BITTY KITTIES MIA-MI BLOSSOMER, TUXEDO AND DASH AS THIER ETERNAL KITTENS.
    PRINCESS JOSEPH AND MICHAEL ARE CELEBRATING 19 YEARS AS LUCKY FOUND CATS

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Randi View Post
    Good to see you here, Dan! When I saw the title of the thread, I thought you were referring to yourself.
    I was. Oh, you mean the cat?

    Actually, I thought Sheba was your first cat.
    Sheba was the other cat in the story. She was with me for about 10 years, and yes she is missed and still loved.

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    13,276
    Dan, is Old Man's picture in your siggy there along with all those other creatures you love so much?
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by phesina View Post
    Dan, is Old Man's picture in your siggy there along with all those other creatures you love so much?
    No. I attached a pic of Old Man at the end of my post. Also you can view pics of almost all of the crew on my website. I have several galleries.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    39,799
    In Old Man's honor I bought a mid week roast and had it cut into three steaks, one was for me , one was for My Found Cats and one was for My Porch Cats.
    I think that Terrance , Joey , Shadow the shy older White Cat and Gregory loved that roast on a dish of Science Diet.
    I hope that Old Man Angel could fly down as that was a nice feed.
    THE RAINBOW BRIDGE FOUND HOTEL ANGELS HAVE A NEW FRIEND IN CORINNA.


    ALMOND ROCCA BATON AND ELLIE ANGELS ARE GUARDIANS TO ETERNAL KITTENS ROCC-EL AND T TEEN ANGEL, ALMOND ROCA , VLAD , PAWLEE , SPRITE. LITTLE HEX, OSIRIS AND ANNIE ANGELS.
    EBONY BEAU TUBSTER AND PEACHES BW SPIKE & SMOKEY


    NOW PRECIOUS AND SAM ARE TOGETHER WITH ETERNAL KITTENS SAMMY ,PRESLEY, SYLVESTER AND SCRATCHY JR , MIGHTY MARINA, COSMIC CARMEN, SAMSON ,UNDER KITTY AND SUNKIST AUTUMN & PUMPKIN.
    MIA AND ORANGE BLOSSOM ANGELS HAVE ADOPTED TUXIE , TROOPER , SONGBIRD AND LITTLE BITTY KITTIES MIA-MI BLOSSOMER, TUXEDO AND DASH AS THIER ETERNAL KITTENS.
    PRINCESS JOSEPH AND MICHAEL ARE CELEBRATING 19 YEARS AS LUCKY FOUND CATS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    36,762
    Now, Dan, "Old" is only a state of mind! Glad to see you back regardless!
    I've Been Frosted

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