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Sunday, July 10, 2005


Mariko (my dad's cat), 1989-2005: An Appreciation.

For the first time since 1970, my dad's house is now catless. With a heavy heart, I buried my dad's cat Mariko, a Japanese Bobtail, aged 16 years, two months, this afternoon. She died earlier this afternoon. Apparently, her liver failed her, the vet thought. My dad is out of town for a week, and I was watching the cat for him, and looking after his house. This meant going out there every day, dropping off the paper and/or mail, and feeding Mariko.

I came by late Friday afternoon and noticed that she seemed listless and lethargic and wasn't eating the food my dad had put out for her on Friday. I tried to feed her, without success. It was the same thing yesterday, except she seemed slightly more active yesterday. Today, when I went out there, she still hadn't eaten. It was time to take her to the vet, which I did. An hour after I dropped her off, they called and left a message that she had died. So, being very sad, I went back there to collect her and take her home to bury her.

This is my letter to Mariko, her eulogy, if you will.

Well, Mariko-san. You've done and crossed the Rainbow Bridge. You're in a better place now, and your 16-year journey on Earth has come to an end. I put you in the ground today, just downhill from the Usual Food Guy's house, the only home you ever knew.

My dad got you in October, 1989. You were a little five- or six-month kitten at the time, and the other cat, Buttons, didn't like you. You and she fought and eventually worked things out. You explored every nook and cranny in that house and in 1990, you had one litter. My dad got you fixed a couple years later. You were a good hunter, you caught quite a few birds, squirrels, mice, voles, and even a rabbit or two.

You and Buttons got along, and when she died in 1995, you were sad. When my dad got Madori in the latter part of 1995, you were initially hostile, but you took her under your wing. You were a good cat, friend, and foster mother to Madori.

I got to be your occasional food guy from time to time, when my dad was out of town. I think you could always tell when I was on the way to the house. I would come in, and there you would be, clamoring for the Food Guy to do his Food Guy thing (and Kitty-Litter Changer thing, and Scratcher-Behind-the-Ears-Guy thing too), impatiently demanding your food, and making sure that Madori got fed too.

I was there for you, and when Madori died in 2003, you were alone again. My sister's cat, Hanna came to stay with my dad for a while, and you didn't like her much, so she spent most of the time downstairs.

You were getting old by then, and you couldn't get around much at all. I would still come out and feed you from time to time, but you were starting to get a bit more demanding about your food. You would meow a lot, and that got on my dad's nerves at times. He loved you dearly, but sometimes you drove him up the wall.

And then finally, came the last few days of your life. You got out of the house on Wednesday and apparently returned before my dad left on Friday morning. I came out there and there you were, hiding in the corner. I held you and petted you, but you were listless and lethargic and didn't want to eat anything. You were getting thin and emaciated. I had to leave because I had a meeting to go to that evening. I was worried about you.

You were still the same on Saturday, and I should have taken you to the vet then, but I thought you might just simply have been exhausted for some reason. And then today, when I went out there, you were still hiding in the corner. You wanted to die. So, it was time to get the cat carrier out and take you to the vet. I was scared for you , and I cried when I went out to the shed to get the cat carrier.

You were trying to meow on the way down there, but your meows sounded more like chirps, you were that dehydrated and emaciated. The vet took your temperature, blood, and your weight and did a few tests. She told me you were probably infected with something and/or had a liver problem and that she wanted to keep you for a few hours for observation.

And then I got the phone message from her. It came an hour after I dropped you off, and I got it a couple hours later. You were gone.

I was sad for you, but I knew you were now in a better place. I went down and got you, and talked to the vet about what did you in. Your liver apparently failed you, and you hid it from my dad and me for a long time. You lost the will to live, and that was that.

You were a good cat, and I was a good (Sometimes) Food Guy for you.

Goodbye, Mariko, and I'll see you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I'll have your favorite toy with me and we'll play some more then.

The (Sometimes) Food Guy.

Rest in peace, and I'll see you later, my friend.

Bye bye, Mariko. I know that my cats Pieces and Kashi met you at the Bridge, along with many other departed TT cats. The TT cats tend to take care of each other, because they know their moms and dads (and uncles and aunties) all get sad together when one of them leaves us. So I know our cats have begun to show you the sunny places to sleep, and the wonderful trees to climb, and the butterflies to chase. There are some TT dogs there too, and everyone gets along beautifully. And I know our TTer Ray Menendez is hanging out with you, giving you pets when you need them, and being the Food Guy.

Be happy, little one. And kiss our own kitties on the heads for us and tell them we miss them.
LetterMan, I'm so sorry.
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