Tuesday, September 25, 2007


On September 6, 2007, our beautiful, loving, and beloved cat Willy died. While we don't really know how old he was, best guess is about 19 years. We were lucky enough to have him living with us for about 14 of those years. And they were very very good, it wasn't until the last few months that he was sick, and the last few weeks that were truly bad.
It's been very hard for Mark and me. But now we have his ashes home, and some time to put things in perspective. So here are some things that made Willy such a special cat.
As you can see above, Willy loved vegetables. Not to eat, but to cuddle, lay on, burrow under. He was so happy on those Sundays when Mark would come back from the farm with lots of good fresh veggies. And we planted some things in earth boxes out by the pool just so that he could lay in them.
Willy loved chips. Potato especially, but really any kind. Open a bag of chips and he would come running from the other side of the house and beg and try to grab the bag and he was relentless about this.
Willy loved dogs. And hated cats. And tolerated birds.
When we adopted Marley a couple of years ago he was still almost a puppy and very playful. (He still is.) Neither Dylan nor Daisy had any interest in playing with Marley, but there was Willy, elderly but frisky. And they were each 14 pounds of black fuzz and they loved to wrestle and chase each other all around the house. Marley had a hard time understanding when Willy stopped playing a few months ago, but when Willy really got sick Marley understood, and he would clean his face and paws for him.
We first met Willy when we visited our friends RoseEllen and Alex Arnold at their apartment in South Tampa. Willy was playing ball with Alex, running and fetching, and Mark and I both fell in love with him immediately. I remember right then wishing he was mine. Alex had rescued Willy from the street after he'd had some sort of traumatic injury. A car accident, a human accident, it was never clear but he had major damage to his face. Missing most of his teeth and with broken facial bones, Willy was a gorgeous cat and never had a problem eating (until the last few months of his life). He had chronic sinus infections but tolerated vets and medicine calmly. Anyway, a year or so after we met Willy, RoseEllen and Alex decided to move to back to NYC, and they asked if we would keep Willy for them while they got settled in an apartment. It was rough for our cats, Zoe & Franny. Willy really did not like them and he tormented them endlessly. We devised separation strategies and waited for Willy's ticket to NY to arrive. Month after month went by, we felt more and more attached to Willy, the girls adjusted to their lives separate from Willy, and we finally issued an ultimatum. Send a ticket for Willy immediately or we are keeping him. "He's yours! What took you so long?"
We have never regreted a moment. Willy outlived Franny & Zoe, and the dogs, Patty & Arlo, and welcomed Daisy, Dylan, Marley, and the birds Halle & Jules to our family.
Willy wasn't that much of a cuddler, though he loved to play. But at night, he liked nothing better than snuggling right in on my pillow with his arm around my neck. Yes, I woke many a morning with scratches on my neck and face. Yes, sometimes it was awfully hot having a furry arm around my neck. But I miss you Willy, so very very much. I will always miss you, always remember you, always love you, my beautiful boy.

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