Catfish came to us already named because she wasn't a very picky eater. In her younger years, she often brought us "presents" when she felt like she wasn't getting enough to eat. We rescued a lot of tailless lizards and a chipmunk or two, but she was a hell of a hunter and she decimated the local population of both.
Catfish moved with our then next door neighbor's daughter from Florida. Her life before the move is sketchy, but when she arrived in Birmingham she was banished to the outdoors. She showed up one day in our backyard sprawled out on the picnic table in the sun. That's the day she decided we were her new owners, and that was her home. Period. Nothing we could do about it. We really didn't want her. We had just lost a cat and weren't quite ready for another one. Especially not one like her. She was half wild and would bite the stew out of us for no apparent reason. Just to see if we were staying on our toes. She did less and less reflex tests over the years, and for the past few years she was the sweetest cat you'd ever meet.
The vet estimated her to be 8 years old when we got her, which means she was about 15 when she died. Her decline was rapid and unexpected. We thought it might be a thyroid problem when she started dropping weight. Those of you who knew Catfish in her later years knew her as a quite rotund kitty. Quite frankly, she looked like she'd swallowed a basketball. When I first saw her Friday night I was shocked to find a lot of loose skin draped over a skeleton. Unfortunately, it turned out that she was in liver failure.
We had another cat with liver failure, and went to extremes to save him. We knew on that path lay disaster and more heartache. Mom made the decision to put her to sleep, and none too soon since she was literally starving herself. The sedative they gave her caused her to gag, but there was nothing in her stomach.
I had Jake, so we left Mom in the room with Catfish after I said goodbye. It seemed to take forever and when Mom came out she said that it hadn't gone well. Much like Tiger, they had a hard time declaring her death and even thought about giving her a second dose. This was horrible for Mom and I wish she had been spared that. Before we buried her in Mom's backyard she swore Catfish was still breathing and even purring. I assured her she wasn't, but I had nightmares that night about burying her alive. I know she wasn't, but that knowledge didn't seem to help.
She seemed so tiny when we laid her to rest. She adored Tiger and I'm sure she paved the way for him to accept Pilsbury's love affair with him. It gives me a little comfort that they are now together, snuggling in whatever serves for an afterlife. If it's a heavenly afterlife, then it surely is populated more with animals than with humans.
This is the first time my Mom is catless in more than 30 years. I have no doubt that once she moves to Atlanta and gets settled, a cat will find her. They always do.