Cyclone

hissy

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The tears fall in such unexpected places; on line at the bank waiting to make a deposit. In the cat food aisle when I see his favorite cat treats and remember how he fought to get that plastic bag out of my hands so he could be “treated.”

I remember the first day I ever encountered him. In true tom-cat style, he pranced into our yard and delivered an impressive spray of urine all over our garbage bags. I believe he smirked at me on his exit, but his smirking days would soon be over. Three days later, I had him trapped and sent him off the vet to have a snip and clip and exam.

Upon returning, I took him upstairs to the kitten room (blessedly empty as kitten season hadn’t quite started) and I released him from the trap. Apparently, Cyclone hadn’t read the carefully worded instructions on the take home care sheet- “Please restrict your cat’s activity for three days- no jumping, no running.”

Cyclone bolted up the walls of the room and ran repeated laps over my head. Our ceiling trim still bear this claw marks of the day he truly made his mark in my heart. Then it was the challenge- how do I get this once rough-and-tumble tomcat to trust me? How do I break down the barriers of distrust built around him and let him know that some people are okay and not all humans will hurt him?

This was back in 2003 and being a mod back here on the catsite on that day, I turned to the catsite members for support, advice, encouragement whatever I could get. Back in the day there was Sandi, the cat breeder/vet tech full of sage advice- Renae the psychologist, my private cheerleader, Colby, Deb, Tanya, Heidi and other cat lovers who have moved on and some who have even passed away. But they were all there in my time of need and I shared the journey as best I could even though at times, I couldn’t believe how much this orange boy frustrated and challenged me and oh how so much he taught me.

I remember the day when I posted the picture of Cyclone with a silly doll bonnet on his head and the incredulous posts that followed- everyone applauded the orange boy for his acceptance, but you could clearly see on the photo he was not amused.

I let him outside after a few months, it was clear he was going stir-crazy and fighting with the others, so with a deep breath, I opened the back door and gave him back his freedom. He came back home hours later with a little kitten who had no front leg. He would make several outside trips and always return with another in need. He was a special golden boy.

Then one afternoon, he simply didn’t return home. At first, I wasn’t worried. It was the end of summer and the grasses in the pasture were long and inviting. I thought he would return- but he didn’t. After a week, I made posters and put them up. I made flyers and I was sticking them into mailboxes when I was “almost” arrested. The cop was nice when I in tears explained I just wanted my cat back. But he told me that the only one who can put anything in the mailboxes were the owners or the postal workers. Otherwise, it was against the law.

Months went by, no sign of Cyclone, no word of anyone who had seen him. I gave him up for lost and we missed him but life went on.

Last year he reappeared! In the middle of the night, he came to our feral feeder and he was in rough shape. No resemblance of the glorious tomcat he had once been; he was now pencil-thin, no muscle mass evident, no fat- eyes sunken into his head. I recognized him from his distinct markings and couldn’t believe my eyes, Cyclone had come home!  When I went to pick him up, he collapsed against me. Worried, I hurried him inside and gave him warming fluids but they went right through him- his skin was so thin. I sat up with him all night. He lay in my lap and I was first at the door of the clinic when they opened in the morning.

He was diagnosed with heavy parasitic infestations, malnutrition, dehydration, anemia he was so anemic getting blood wasn’t even possible. The vet released him into my care and said he had a 50/50 chance of survival. They gave him an antibiotic shot, B-12 and he was put on a special diet of canned food. His age- 13 his weight? 3 pounds!

Over the weeks that followed he greedily ate every scrap of food I fed him. He started to gain weight, started moving around freely. Plans began to build him a special enclosure off our porch and some friends came over to help. In 24 hours Cyclone had his new pad. I spread a heated throw across an old couch in the enclosure and that was his bed.

He started slipping downhill so I took him back for blood work. He was diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism, put on a special diet and I was to bring him back in 3 weeks for re-testing. Nine days before that scheduled visit, Cyclone looked really off- I had to give him fluids for several days and his body just drank it in. No bubble, he didn’t turn into a sprinkler, he stopped eating, he stopped moving much and his eyes started putting up the no vacancy sign I know to well.

I called my vet and told him that Cy was drinking gallons of water, still needing fluid- peeing Olympic size puddles of urine-not moving much and not really eating. I was told to rush him right in where it was determined he had cancer.

We discussed the options but this boy had been through way to much already and I opted to let him go. It was the hardest act to sign that paper and I was there to the end. Even the vet cried as Cyclone went to sleep surrounded by people who loved him and still do.

In his death-he is still rescuing- this time, he is rescuing people. I blogged about this boy and his story caught on and after he was gone, I received emails from people moved by his story to make a difference in the corner of the world they lived in. The emails make me smile and they make me cry.

I wish I had more time with him- but time was cut short. I am blessed I had the time with him that I did and am writing a story about that journey. On April 3, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. Cyclone took his last breath and went on to meet old friends in a place where pain no longer exists. If he can’t live beside me, he will always live on inside my heart-
 
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di and bob

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What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful cat! I'm so very very sorry you have to go through this, I wish every furbaby could live forever. He came home to you! He knew he had to be with you, that you would know what to do and you did. I pray in time the memories will be only happy ones, he will live on in your heart. Bless you for taking such good care of him and being with him at the end, I'm sure it meant a lot to him. RIP beautiful Cyclone!
 

jcat

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That's a beautiful tribute to a very special boy, M.A.. He knew who loved him and found his way back to spend his last days with you. RIP, Cyclone.
 

Ms. Freya

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Bless you for giving him a safe place to come home to and someone to love, even in his own way.

RIP Cyclone.
 

tjcarst

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I have been away for a couple of weeks and just catching up with posts her. I am so sorry for your loss, Mary Anne. I know Cyclone was a very special kitty and will be missed.

RIP sweet boy.
 
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