When we bought our house on the Northside eight years ago, we inherited feral cats living in the backyard. Over the years, I've taken in, socialized, and found homes for countless kittens. So seven years ago when a neighbor knocked on our door with a tiny, grungy, flea-ridden, orange tabby kitten in a box and pretended to think it was "one of ours," we took that kitten in too.
This kitten had character and spunk right from the start. There was something special about him, but I couldn't find him a home. One day he found his way out of our fenced backyard when we left him alone for a few minutes. I put up signs and told my husband if we found him, we were keeping him. The same neighbor who originally brought him to us found him again and brought him back to us, this time asking if he could keep him. I said no. That dirty, grubby kitten, whose name became Grubble, was mine.
Grubble died one year ago today at just six years old. He had feline leukemia his whole life, having contracted it from our first cat Zephyr, who had it when we adopted him from an ad in the Pennysaver. Feline leukemia is an incurable retrovirus that infects a cat's cells and is the most common cause of cancer. Both Zephyr and Grubble had cancer.
Everyone loved Grubble. He was extremely friendly and social, always greeting guests and even putting up with guests' kids manhandling him. My two girl cats, Orla and Elsie, loved him to pieces, and he was a good role model for the orphaned foster kitten Rasputin I adopted.
The loss of Grubble was a big hole in all our lives for a very long time. It was of course very hard for my husband and me, but the other cats seemed to grieve just as much. Orla walked through the house at night crying; I imagined she was looking for Grubble. Grubble was Elsie's best friend, and she no longer had a buddy to cuddle up with and talk to; she started peeing outside of the litter box, I imagine to show she wasn't happy. And poor Rasputin...his mom clearly hadn't taught him manners, and he hadn't learned enough from Grubble. But he was a juvenile boy who wanted to play. All he managed to do was constantly irritate the girls, who wanted no parts of him.
It's been a year, and we've all adjusted. But I still think of him often and miss him. Today I wanted to share some pictures to honor the memory of such a wonderful cat and friend.