Hobbes the Wonder Cat, 1994-2009

I will never again make fun of anyone who makes a big deal about a dying pet. Well, if you’re the type to call in a taxidermist or have Poopsie freeze-dried, you’re fair game. But everything else, I now understand. Boy, do I.

This is almost as big a deal as if a family member died, because that’s what he was. For 15 years, it’s been a constant stream of:

“Did you feed Hobbes yet?”
“Is Hobbes in?”
“Where’s Hobbes?”
“C’mere, Hobbes!”
“Come look at Hobbes, he’s so cute!”
“Good kitty!”
“HOBBES! NO!!!”

Never ever got a paw wet

You get the picture. Not to be maudlin about it, it’s just a fact that we were in this constant, ongoing relationship, and now it’s suddenly over. We have another cat, by the way, but we came by her fairly recently, so she’s a cat with a past we didn’t share. The late Mr. Hobbes was with us since he was an infant castaway, and that has to make a difference.

Some people may read these words and think I’m weird, or say if we’d had kids, I might be more detached about about the cat. That’s probably true, but Hobbes was NOT my child! He was simply Hobbes, the best cat I ever knew.

I feel so guilty now. I can’t help it. It’s not enough to say that he was suffering, and so on. Right now I feel I’ll never forget walking away and leaving the little bastard there, stretched out warm and limp on that stainless steel table with a pool of piss expanding by his bony little butt. He threw up all over himself, too, before the second injection, and we had to wipe him off so he could die with dignity… as if…

The main thing is, the MAIN thing, is that it’s very quiet now. Too quiet. I just can’t believe the little fucker’s gone.

  • Pascale Soleil January 8, 2009, 8:22 PM

    I’m so sorry.

    I still haven’t recovered from the death of my lovely kitty Ariel two years ago, so you have my utmost sympathy.

  • John H. Farr January 8, 2009, 8:43 PM

    Grieving is a funny thing. First, I never thought I’d have to grieve over a cat. The very idea would have elicited withering sarcasm from me in the past. I’m sorry you lost your kitty. Now I know what it’s like, and I’m a big, strong, red-blooded, All-American boy (so to speak)…

    Second, grieving doesn’t work unless you really DO it, and most of us don’t want to. No one can say how long it takes or how to do it, either, yet everyone can… like sex and dying!

  • Fred January 8, 2009, 9:47 PM

    You nailed it by saying they’re family. It’s really an ironic joke of the Creator that these animals, that come into our lives and to which we become so attached, have so much shorter life spans than we do. They are here, and we treat them well (hopefully) and they become loved, and then they die, and often we are devastated.

    The bright side is that they teach us to bring in the next one, and the one after that. The pain is our price for the relationship I think.

    As for having kids… it’s worse. More tears, and backyard funerals.

    Cry for poor Hobbes, and don’t forget to give extra affection to the other cat as well. He’s probably grieving and confused as well.

    ~Fred

  • David January 8, 2009, 9:49 PM

    I’m sorry John, my thoughts are with you. It’s tough, no doubt, and yes, they are family – for sure.

  • Therese January 8, 2009, 11:03 PM

    So sad, John. Sorry.

  • Carmel January 8, 2009, 11:07 PM

    I’m glad I met Hobbes. And I’m glad I know big, strong, all-American boys who weep over their animals.

  • John H. Farr January 8, 2009, 11:19 PM

    Well, that’s me. I cry over so many things, you’d think I was Italian.

    What a day, though. I didn’t mention this before, but the septic tank overflowed again today, too.

  • Glenn J. Williams January 9, 2009, 7:45 AM

    Please accept our condolences and sympathy. Gail and I have been in your position many times over the past 30 years. It doesn’t get any easier. Someone told us that it is a testament to one’s humanity that it doesn’t.

  • carolfrombatonrouge January 9, 2009, 8:39 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear about Hobbs. I have loved following his many antics through the years. I truly understand the feelings you are having….and will have. I lost my best horse friend of 34yrs after his heart a-fibbed. He was an everyday part of my life…..and they are family. I’m now training a pony “look alike”, but it’s just not the same. Takes years to build that trusting, connecting relationship.
    Take care John, thinking of ya (and Kathy).
    Carol

  • david culbertson January 9, 2009, 8:49 AM

    I’m sorry John.The death of a pet is heartwrenching and something that is dealt with throughout life.Never gets easier . But that will never stop me from having their beautiful presence in my life.Animals are a constant.

  • KarenK January 9, 2009, 6:16 PM

    So sorry to hear of your loss. We had our beloved Harley put to sleep at our home two years ago. They took his body to be cremated and spread in the woods (so they say). Shortly afterwards, I walked outside into the rare frigid northwest air and I swear I heard a cat meow loudly, to which I answered, “kitty?” I looked around but never saw a cat. I think now it was Harley saying goodbye. (And thanking me, as Hobbes now must be thanking you.)

  • Gravel Pit January 10, 2009, 10:18 AM

    Reposar en paz, “Gato Especial”!!! -Rock On Hobbes!!!

  • JudyC January 13, 2009, 6:11 PM

    So sorry about Hobbs. In our daily dealings with our animals, we become more human. Hobbs was a mensch!

  • CK Sandberg January 21, 2009, 12:28 PM

    Family is family, regardless of the amount of hair or the language they choose to speak. Losing any part of the family leaves a hole. I still forget – some days – that I won’t be greeted at the door by our late, great poodle, and it seems strange to see other things piled where her food and water dishes should be. Tears are good – they prove our humanity.

  • kit August 30, 2009, 4:07 PM

    Heartfelt condolences. Remember to let the other cat into your life because then you can create some new history.

    I lost my Hobbes this year too…she was with me for 10 years and with another family for 10. She was more than a pet she was a close friend.

  • JHF August 30, 2009, 8:33 PM

    Hi Kit!

    The new cat is doing fine. 🙂 We had a nice funeral for Hobbes, scattered his ashes in the Rio Grande. There will never be another cat like him.

  • Angie October 15, 2009, 8:23 PM

    John, so sorry to hear about Hobbes. My cats have most definitely been family members, and that includes the one I had when I was a kid, who only lived about 2 years, and the three I had as an adult, of whom one 12-year old fellow remains (the other two departed at 16 and 13, respectively.) I was completely traumatized by the death of each one, and have not the slightest bit of embarrassment over that fact, or the fact that I will continue to do the same. We also, years ago, had a labrador who lived to be 18; I only knew her for a few years, but Chris had had her since he was 12. Every pet is unique, in both its personality and the history and the love that it has shared with you. Crying is fine, and as a matter of fact, therapeutic.

  • JHF October 15, 2009, 9:01 PM

    Angie, I deeply appreciate your comments. I also have to apologize, because due to a bug in a WordPress plugin (which I have just corrected), this post from a year ago was just posted to Facebook! Arrghh…

    Someone else put this post on Twitter yesterday, so it’s popping up with a life of its own. Must have something to do with nine lives!

  • knownway October 21, 2009, 8:52 AM

    The deepest pain I’ve ever known in my life is when beloved pets have died. My sympathies are with you.

  • Sue Cain July 12, 2010, 2:54 AM

    My Hobbes The Wonder Cat died yesterday – I am so gutted =^..^=

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