He was the undisputed regent of the kingdom, a soi disant Caesar. Depending upon where you ranked on his list of subjects, he swaggered up to you like a Wild West Sheriff ready to enforce the law of his land or granted you the nod of a potentate permitting you to approach and worship him at his throne. He usually held forth from a kitchen chair, although, if he deemed you one of his favored courtiers, he would laze with you on a bed or curl up next to you on a desk. He was the one, the only, Dizzy, and we are absolutely crushed to have lost him too soon.
I had long harbored a wish for an all-white cat and one Saturday morning back in 1999 I espied a small ad in the local newspaper classifieds offering up a litter of “all-white Persian/Himalayan kittens”. The CE was dead set against the idea. “I’ll come with you to see them, but I’m not having anything to do with a new cat.” His heels were dug in and the ultimatum had been given, so obviously, we were getting a kitten and it would become his favorite pet, because that’s just how things work, right? No sooner did we come home with the little white puff ball than it was discovered to be covered with fleas. The CE leaped into action, submerging the wee one in a warm bath to drive the fleas upward, where we then spent the better part of an hour removing them. Somehow Dizzy sensed that the CE was (however reluctantly) on his side, and so Dizzy was forever more by the side of the CE.
When we went to look at the kittens, I told the owner that I wanted a female. “They’re all females”, she said. Yeah, right. After a few years of calling Dizzy a she and a failed attempt at breeding our beautiful “female” Himalayan, we finally gave up and took “her” into be spayed. The vet called and said, “Surprise! She is a he!” Lucky for us, Dizzy never held a grudge, and maintained his dignity long after we’d mistakenly dressed him up in a tutu.
Dizzy was the alpha cat and the alpha pet. The rest of the critters (including the humans) served at his pleasure. He had a special soft spot for Chloe, however, and would cuddle up to her any chance he got.
He has looked a bit frowsy the past few months, but repeated trips to the vet turned up nothing wrong. At the age of thirteen, I supposed he was entitled to look a bit weathered, but hoped we would have many more years of doing his bidding. Lately, he had displaced Soho from her sleeping spot between me and the CE and I would wake in the night to hear him purring next to me. I wonder now if he was saying goodbye.
Monday morning we noticed that he didn’t look well, and we took him to the vet again. Bloodwork and an x-ray showed nothing wrong. He perked up after a subcutaneous fluid injection and was scheduled for an ultrasound later in the week. When I picked him up at the vet he nuzzled me over and over again, purring and rubbing his head against me. I’m so glad I had that time with him. By late Wednesday night, it was clear that he was going. We carried him up to our bed and monitored him throughout the night. By around 4 am, his labored breathing slowed. I lay in the dark, counting the seconds between his breaths while the CE stroked his fur. The interval between breaths became longer and longer and he left us just before dawn.
We are sad beyond words. There will always be a Dizzy-shaped hole in our hearts. Thanks to all of you who loved him for giving him his regal due.
Farewell to the King.