The Doctor is leaving…

I’m losing a friend.  You have to look closely and tune in to the rhythms of life to notice at this point.  In my heart I know he is leaving this plane of existence.

Chocko, aka SnottyCat, aka Dr. Biscotti. aka “The Doctor is a black tuxedo cat.  Tuxedo cats are as populous as turkeys in my corner of New Hampshire.  Everyone has one or has an elusive stray one lurking in their yard.

Many years ago, my daughter, Hanni, and I were bereft after losing our two dogs.  The house seemed empty and cold, heartless.  We drove to Bedford one Saturday to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in search of a cat.

There were fat cats, skinny cats, cats with spots and fluff.  Off to one side of the reception area was a glassed in room with about a dozen cats.  We were told these were cats who had recently been taken out of a hoarding situation.  They needed to be quarantined due to severe respiratory problems.  Chocko came home with us.

He has always suffered from a compromised system.  His teeth are all but gone and he has terrible sneezing fits that result in globs of snot flying everywhere.  What he lacks in social graces, he makes up for in his attitude about life.  There isn’t a dog alive that has ever intimidated him.  He greets every new addition to the household with curiosity and pleasure.  If you just wanted a cat  to curl up in your lap and snuggle, he’s your man.  It’s his version of a cat scan.  The drawback is the potential snot attack.

Over the years he has become more sedentary, seeking out the heater vents and sunny cushions.  He doesn’t venture very far inside the house and shows no interest in the world beyond the door.

This morning I brought him his breakfast bowl in the living room where he had been sleeping for hours.  He perked up enough to gnaw off bits of the raw food patty I had broken up for him.  It is obvious that eating holds no interest for him.  He purred at me, winked,  and went to work cleaning his whiskers.

I’m reminded of the declining days of my Dad.  Quite suddenly, the light seemed dim in his blue eyes.  He would sit quietly during our meals, picking politely but not eating much.  I tried to rouse him with questions about the past and point out interesting birds at the feeder.  He smiled indulgently back at me as I rattled on about things that no longer had meaning for him.  The mail piled up unopened and the radio played, unheard, in the background

Somewhere in life,  the rhythms  shift slightly.  What used to serve as points of contact are fuzzy planes of contented disconnect as if the very fabric of life were slowly unraveling.

The Doctor

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