Tugging at the Heart Strings of Cat Lovers

February 01, 1986

I am touched by Lansford's letter, "He Doesn't Like Cats, But He Misses Pancho."

I can understand Lansford's pain in losing his cat, since recently I had the excruciatingly painful experience of authorizing the veterinarian to "put to sleep" a tomcat named Waldo who walked up my driveway 11 years ago, jumped up on my shoulder when I spoke to him; wrapped himself around my neck putting his face and whiskers next to my cheek. Of course I took him right inside and poured him a bowl of half and half.

Over the years Waldo was hit twice by a car. The first time the vet had to amputate his tail because in the accident it was broken at the end of his spine. Then there was the surgery necessary so he could defecate. The bill that trip was a bit over $500.

I have no complaints about what he cost me, for now that he is gone I realize that he has left an irreplaceable vacancy in my life. He was the most loving, smartest animal ever. After I had a triple bypass heart operation three years ago and the doctors ordered that I take daily walks, on many occasions I'd find Waldo trotting along behind me thinking he was a dog.

When he was being treated for leukemia I made trips to the hospital to visit him so "I could scratch behind his ears," I said to his doctor.

"What the hell do cats know anyway?" wrote Lansford. I'll tell you what they know. They know and recognize who loves and takes care of them. When the nurse brought him in placing him in my lap he quickly put a paw on each shoulder, reached up and nuzzled my nose. On the way back home that day I'm not ashamed to say I had to hang a few tears out to dry.

One of my friends trying to console me said: "Don't feel so sad about Waldo, he was a pampered tomcat who was spoiled rotten; lived in an attractive Palm Springs house and had a lovely swimming pool from which he drank." Little consolation in all of that. Strange that I expect to find him sleeping at the foot of my bed or on the pillow next to me when I awake in the morning and I catch myself at times thinking I hear him scratching on the kitchen door to be let in.

If there's a cat heaven I'm sure he's there where he might be meeting Lansford's Pancho, an elegant Siamese. Waldo was only a Morris look-alike, an orange tabby with no tail, but he was special--a helluva tomcat if there ever was one. The silence at my house without him is deafening.


Palm Springs

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