Monday, November 21, 2011

Losing a feline Friend

When our neighbors relocated six months ago, they moved about a mile away. With them went their adorable dog and two cats, all of whom had become an extension of our family. A few weeks later, one of the cats, Clyde, showed up at our back door. We called his family and they picked him up.

This was the beginning of a hundred such calls. Clyde was doing his best to move to our house. How he found his way here in the first place amazed me, but he was one of the smartest cats I have ever known.

Our former neighbors did not give up easily. They told us we best not let their cat in the house, never feed him, and return him as soon as we spot him. This started phase two of  ‘Operation Acclimate Clyde’. I think I drove him in my car back to them at least fifteen times. He didn’t mind the car at all, and almost like a dog, he would look out the side window. That’s when he didn’t sit on the dashboard looking out the windshield window, obstructing my drivers’ view. You can imagine a cop waving me over to tell me, “Ma’am, do you know you have a cat on your windshield?”

We adored this fellow, but he was not ours, so we kept returning him. Then two weeks ago it all stopped. I hoped he was finally at his new home for good. A week ago our old neighbors Emailed to ask if we had seen him, for they have not, for a week or so.

This morning I got this Email:

I write with very sad news about our Clyde. We found him dead under the lemon tree in our back garden two days ago. He was not cut, nor outwardly physically harmed. Just before he disappeared last week, he had stopped wolfing down his wet food as he did, and we remarked that he did not seem like himself. I'd say he was sick, and he ran away to die in peace and away from us all.

So Clyde has been dead for at least two days. Now here’s an odd bit: yesterday evening (about six or so) my daughter heard scratching at our living room window. When she turned around, she thought she saw Clyde. When he disappeared, she was convinced he had fallen into the ivy below, and she ran out with a flashlight and called him over and over.

DH suggested I write to our former neighbors and tell them our daughter had spotted Clyde. I didn’t, because I thought she could not have been right about it. He never ever came in through that window before, and I just didn’t think it even possible for him, or any cat, to reach it.

A bit of Wuthering Heights with a feline twist.

I’m posting this as a memorial to a special cat friend. Just seeing his name up here makes me feel good.


  1. Oh how sad. I'm sorry to hear about Clyde, but I love the description of him riding in your car. He sounds like a special cat of the friendliest sort. :)

  2. What a lovely tribute to Clyde. I was almost sick in my heart thinking that he got run over, so it was with relief that I read that he died in peace. I am sorry that you will no longer have the pleasure of his company. Vijaya

  3. Awww, I'm so sorry for your loss. Clyde sounds like he was a unique feline friend. And oh, what stunning green eyes.

  4. Clyde looks just Lolly's "Shunra". Sorry to hear your news! You seem to be experts at having adopted pets.

  5. Gosh, that's such a sweet/sad story. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  6. What a sad, but heart-warming story, Mirka. Like Vijaya, I was so fearing that Clyde had met with a tragic accident in his effort to reach you one more time. He clearly loved your family dearly. I'm glad he had a peaceful end. As for your daughter's seeing him, our world seems to be full of the unexplainable....

  7. I'm so sad about your kitty friend. What a remarkable story. That's so sweet how he kept coming back to your house. What a unique and clever cat. (((((hugs)))))

  8. I should have mentioned my heartfelt condolences to Clyde’s real family, who made such a valiant effort to get him to adjust to their new home. He was theirs for about ten years, and in the end he chose to die near them.
    It's Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful to have known him.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear about your furry friend. I feel a special closeness to your story because our sweet mess of a mutt is named... Clyde.

    Love to you and yours!

  10. What a great cat story, and how incredible that he made his way back to your house so many times. Every time I think I've heard all the amazing cat stories I could possibly hear, someone tells me a story like this. Cats are such characters, and so varied.

    We once quite unwittingly found a cat that belonged to friends of ours. Like Clyde, he tried to go back to a place he knew well in order to die.

  11. This is so sad. I do hope Clyde didn't die of a broken heart, i.e., he couldn't handle the move.

    I don't mean to be a crankypants, but I do think your neighbors asked a lot, expecting YOU to return him every time you spotted him. Is it just me, or was that pretty presumptuous of them to let him run and then want you to drop everything and bring him home?

    I too was afraid you were going to be told that he was hit by a car trying to reach you. So glad he died peacefully.

  12. You have a point, Marcia. Clyde’s family had many challenges (which are not part of this story) and from my end, I wanted to help this extraordinary Kitty.
    I'm so happy to share a bit of him here. He was,literally, the cat’s meow.

  13. Aw this makes me so sad. :( But at the same time, he loved you and cherished you, and your family brought him a lot of happiness. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  14. What a sad story, poor Clyde travelled quite a journey. It seems like you'll miss his visits, he certainly enjoyed your company too ...

  15. sad story!;( poor little cat... thank you for sharing!!