Monday, April 13, 2015

Farewell, Chester: ~2000–2015

April continues to be the roughest month of the year. Today, I had to send my precious little Siamese, Chester, over the Rainbow Bridge. His health had declined somewhat over the past couple of months, but most acutely just within the past few days, to the point that I knew what had to be done.

Here's his story, more for me than anything else, but please feel free to read along, especially if you ever made his acquaintance.

Chester wandered out of the woods to our house in early 2002 and told us he was moving in, no ifs, ands, or buts. He was already a couple of years old at the time and needed some veterinary care, but before we knew it, he was healthier than a horse and ruling the roost. I recall having a hard time coming up with a name for him; for a good while, he was known just as The Siamese (or "The 'Mese"). But he could move faster than a cheetah, so "Chester Cheetah" came to mind, and the name stuck.

Chester was always smarter than a whip, talkative, and very possibly the most demonstrably loving cat I have ever seen. I don't think he ever missed a morning waking up in bed with me, and on weekends, when I'd customarily sleep in a bit later, he would make sure I didn't sleep too late by pulling the covers off me with his paws and singing the song of his people. He could maneuver just about anything with his little front feet; I'm pretty sure he thought he had thumbs, and that was sufficient for him to be quite dexterous. Our regular morning routine consisted of him accompanying me to the bathroom, and while I was in the shower, he would wait patiently on top of the toilet tank, occasionally peeking in to meow if I was taking a particularly long shower. Then, while I was drying off, he'd stand up on his hind legs and try to boop me in the nose with his front paws. Sometimes he got me.

Back in the early 2000s, our little black cat, Charcoal — who passed away in April 2007 — loved her buddy Chester, and she snuggled with him every chance she got. At first he merely tolerated it, but over time, he seemed to actually enjoy having another kitty to smush up with. Later, when Frazier came round, the two of them ended up becoming good buds, and especially during the cold months, they'd be smushed up tight as well.

The other night, when he first appeared to be in his most serious decline, both Frazier and Droolie came and sat beside him for hours, as if to hold vigil. Now that he's gone, they do seem to know the house is somehow emptier. And it is. A lot emptier. I expect it'll be a good deal quieter around here, since neither Frazier nor Droolie are anywhere as talkative as he was.

Chester was a very special buddy to me, and while his last few days were very hard, I expect he had about the most spoiled life any cat could have had. I'm no believer in reincarnation, but if I were to be reincarnated, I think I'd want to come back as one of my cats, because I know I'd have it mighty good.

Below, I have assembled a few pics — out of hundreds I have — that kind of tell his story.

Goodbye, my beautiful little buddy. I will miss you so much, always.
Chester in 2002, when he first arrived at our house
Charcoal and Chester in one of their favorite hangouts — my suitcase
He'd always be into one thing or another.
There was never any mistaking when it was time to eat.
He loved his buddy Frazier, who is ridiculous.
For 13 years, this was my typical morning wake-up view.
The dreaded Siamese Cottonhead, lying in wait
Farewell, my little guy, from your daddy.


Caroline D. said...

Awwww I am so sorry for your loss. It is always heart wrenching to loose a fur-baby. He was indeed a lucky stray to have wandered into your home and life. :)

Paul Dale Anderson said...

What a beautiful cat, and what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing, Mark.

Lizza said...

This breaks my heart. What a grand, handsome Meezer he was. Was he a traditional Siamese? I hope the love from all who know you (and those who haven't met you yet) will be a source of strength for you at this sad time. Chester was so lucky to have you as his Dad. Remember---we don't choose them---they choose up. Be on the lookout, because I think Chester is probably planning to send you a new furfriend. Even if you don't please.

Merry M said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful furry boy. He was one of the very fortunate ones to find such a lovng home. I am sure he loved you as well��.

Mark Rainey said...

Thanks for the nice notes. Much appreciated.

Chester was indeed a traditional Siamese — a seal point, with all the typical hallmarks. Sweet as they come. And I wouldn't be surprised to find a new cat moseying up to my place at some point — they do seem to show up at fairly regular intervals.

Armand Vaquer said...

Sorry for your loss. I know how it feels. One of my favorite cats was a lilac point Siamese we named Gabby, as he was very talkative. He adopted us like your Chester did you. - A.

Ginger said...

He was cherished. Nothing better than that. I am sure he is singing your praises on the other side of the Bridge (and snuggling with Charcoal).