Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Gentleman and A Cat

It is fitting within our discussion of heroes -- which was really good (take a look at the comments section on the post below) -- to mention a cat of note who passed away on Tuesday.

Ivan "Spiffy" Walker, one of the luckiest cats in the world because he lived at Kate's (which is basically as close as you can get to feline nirvana) crossed the Rainbow Bridge that day.

Kate paid tribute to him at length on her blog, as well she might since he enriched their family life for 16 years.

But I want to say a few things here to commemorate him because he was just a terrific cat. Kate said he wasn't the alpha cat -- and in the strictest sense of the word -- that's true. But he didn't need to be. He didn't need power or arrogance or to make things happen.

Things happened just because Spiffy expected they would.

He was a dapper cat, a charming cat, a self-deprecating cat with a sense of humor.

He was, if you will, the Cary Grant of cats.

He didn't throw his weight around. He didn't have to. He could accomplish as much with unassuming grace and a soft touch as the biggest blusterer in the world.

He reminded me of my father-in-law. Now there was a prince among men.

And Spiff was a prince among cats.

He didn't demand, he waited. He knew you would do The Right Thing if only he gave you time. You knew where the cat food was. You'd get to it. He understood. He was tolerant, patient, dependable. He was the epitome of a low maintenance cat.

You can never have too many low maintenance cats.

You can never have too many Spiffys.

The Prof and I were privileged to know him, to be thudded upon by him when he decided to allow us to pet him. He could have purred for England. I can still hear the rumble he made.

There will always be a hole where Spiff was. No one, not even the wondrous Sid or the flirty Flora or the gangster Dylan will be able to fill it.

God speed, Spiff. You will be deeply missed.

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Blogger Kate Walker said...

Thank you
He was indeed a gentleman cat. And he was still purring for England, even if with difficulty from the cancer that closed his throat, as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

The other thing about Spiffy was the inordinate amounts of white fur that he left wherever he sat or lay or simply walked. We will be finding Spiffy fur for years to come. I like that. He was a cat who quietly but definitely left his mark on the world and in my heart.

Dylan, Sid and Flora miss him and have been trying to find where he went to. Wherever he went, he will still be purring

24 January, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne what a lovely post. Spiffy sounded like a wonderful cat. It's so hard losing a pet but to lose two so close together is doubly hard.

Kate you brought tears to my eyes when I read that Spiffy was purring right to the end.

Sending a big hug your way.


24 January, 2008  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

I was only giving Spiffy his due, Kate. He was one of my favorite felines and he will alway have a special spot in my heart.

Chris, we lost three golden retrievers once in the space of 9 months. It was devastating, so I can empathize with what Kate is going through. Even so, I know she would agree that the pain of the present is mitigated by the memories that Spiffy and Bob will always evoke in her mind and heart. It's hard to lose them, but their presence, while they are here, more than makes up for the pain.

24 January, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Anne, I can only imagine how devastating it must have been to lose three pets in such a short space of time.

My chocolate lab was quite a couple of years back, she had acute pacreatitis. She recovered with a lot of TLC and is now diabetic. I dread the day I lose her but I console myself that I'll always have the memories and she'll know that she was loved.


24 January, 2008  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Chris, I will be thinking good thoughts for your lab. They are such wonderful dogs. And she's fortunate you brought her back from acute pancreatitis. That's bad stuff.

We had a cat who was diabetic for the last eight years of his life. We gave him insulin shots twice a day. He coped. We coped. He was a terrific cat and made it all worth it. And we have great memories of him.

Enjoy your girl every day.


24 January, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Anne I will.

24 January, 2008  
Blogger lidia said...

What a wonderful tribute to Spiffy.

Pets are a part of our family and it is very difficult to lose one. I think one of the most difficult decision that a person ever has to make is when to "let go."

We were somewhat "lucky" in that our first two dogs passed on peacefully "on their own." With our yellow lab that was not the case and when he was 14 we had to make the heart wrenching decision.

Memories are a great thing and can cheer you up when you remember some of the antics that the pets can get into.

26 January, 2008  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 January, 2008  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

It is wrenching, you're right about that, Lidia. I am always grateful when they go on their own instead of having to make that decision. If I had to make it, they'd be around forever!

But the memories and the joy our pets give is really priceless. I would never trade the angst of losing one for the 'calm' of never having one to lose.

As my 11 year old son said about his first dog, "He really does improve the quality of life around here."

26 January, 2008  
Blogger Madeline said...

Anne, Thank you for your post about Spiffy. He sounds like he was a very fine cat. Hugs and well wishes go out to Kate.


26 January, 2008  

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