Here at Sage Alley, we had eight cats, until this morning. This morning, we said good-bye to my beautiful boy, Musashi. Sadly, Musashi (or Mu'shi, as we used to call him) had a type of cancer that wasn't treatable and was aggressive. (Lymphosarcoma.) After diagnosis, poor Mu'shi only survived about a month. Spending more money and treating it more aggressively would not have made much of a difference. I asked. Mu'shi spent his last weeks being loved on and eating whatever he wanted. His brother, Sam, kept a close watch on him, just like he used to do when they were kittens.
My previous partner and I found Mu'shi and Sam at our old apartment complex in Maryland when they were kittens. I knew who their mother was, but she was too feral and hard to catch, so she never got caught and spayed. Her story did not end the way I'd hoped, but I believe I've posted about her in the past. The Muffins (as I called Mu'shi and Sam as a pair, because they were fluffy and white) were part of her latest litter at the time. We heard some kids outside saying there were kittens, so we went to investigate. I cornered Mu'shi in a bush. He had climbed up into the highest branches of this bush, and I just reached in and plucked him like a fuzzy, little piece of fruit. He didn't like it, but he didn't show any aggression until I handed him to my partner. He bit the heck out of him! Sam, meanwhile, just ran right into the carrier we'd brought outside with us. (Mu'shi was the brains of the operations. Sam was the brawn!)
How did they end up with such different names? We would take turns naming our kitties, and my ex was very into Japanese culture, and especially Samurai lore. Musashi was named for Miyamoto Musashi, a famous swordsman. (I have only two cat who he named left--Fujiko and Toranaga.) He really lived up to his name in those early days, too! For the first year or so of his life, he had a "top knot"--a little, gray smudge on the top of his head! He also lived up to his name when, as a kitten, he was up on top of the dresser playing one day and went after my ex's miniature katana and wakizashi! He had the little katana partway out of its sheath before we put a stop to that! It was pretty hilarious.
At the same time, Mu'shi was a very, very shy cat, extremely sensitive to stress. I remember one time when we were replacing a sofa. He was so upset, he was cringing on my lap and chirping. I held him and rocked him for about an hour before he was finally able to calm down and adjust to the change. (It was long after everyone who didn't live there had left.) Over the years, he remained very afraid of people he did not see often. I used to joke that he was our "invisible cat." He was also very sweet, though. He never fought with the other cats or so much as hissed at anyone. At the vet and groomer, he would freeze instead of fight or bolt. I felt very sorry for him, but at home, he was a gigantic love-bug.
He loved to cuddle. If I sat still for too long, he would climb into my lap. When I was cleaning the cat boxes, he would come up behind me as I sat on the floor and put is paws on my back and pop up and say "hi." Then, he would curl up and roll around on the clean cardboard I would put down. He was a very, very gentle soul. I have never met another like him, and I doubt I ever will. I'm just grateful that he saw fit to walk the path with me awhile.
Good night, sweet Prince.
NOTE: I referred to my cats as "Sage 'Alley Cats' " as a play on words. All of our cats here at Sage Alley, except for Mama Kitty, who was my mom's, are indoor cats. Even though we live in the country on private land, I feel much safer keeping them inside. The dangers to cats are different here, but there are still plenty of dangers.