Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Joe Fish, 1992-2009, RIP

It has been a tough week. Last Wednesday, my old friend Joe Fish stopped eating. He was listless. His legs slipped out from under him as he walked. He was telling me that after 17 years, he was done. Last night, I took him to the veterinarian, where we let him go gently. I had incredible support from family and friends. My sweetie Kent was with me at the very end, as was my dear brother-in-law.

Joe wasn't always mine. My friend and housemate Liz in Connecticut brought this little kitten home from a weekend in Vermont. Her 4-year-old daughter named him Joe Fish, a strange and perfectly suitable name. When Liz and Addy moved, they let me keep Joe. He has been with me ever since. Here he is in his youth:

Notice his slightly crossed blue eyes. He looked like a small mountain lion, appropriate for a Vermont cat--the mascot of my alma mater, the University of Vermont, is Charlie Catamount.

Joe Fish traveled with me to Kansas, with the help of two friends. At any point on that cross-country road trip, one of us was holding him. He settled in nicely to our life here. A sociable cat, he visited neighbors and made friends with the horses across the road. He came when I whistled, mostly. He had a secret cat life: he'd come home smelling of cigarettes or even, gasp, perfume. He never admitted where he'd been.
When I went away, instead of having a cat sitter here, Joe usually went to my sister's, my brother's or a friend's house. He didn't mind. When I drove up to our friend Larry's house with him, he'd start purring. He loved it when we had company. He'd come out to see who was there and scout the room for comfortable laps. This cat had many fans. Lots of them came to say goodbye this past weekend.

He drank out of this bowl, ignoring the glass fish:

Joe Fish had more than nine lives. Once he was lost for days, locked in a neighbor's shed. He had a scarred paw from when he was bitten, possibly by a raccoon. My brother watched him face down a fox. He was on my lap when we were in a small car accident. He had countless abcesses from fights with other cats. A few years ago, he had breast cancer, something you don't expect in a male cat. The latest rip in his ear happened about a year and a half ago. At the end, he was deaf, arthritic, mostly blind and had kidney disease.

I loved him dearly, and he loved me. When I came home from being on the road, Mr. Fish would lie next to me at night, purring so loudly I couldn't sleep. When he stopped purring on the weekend, I knew he really was ready to go.

I miss him terribly.

P.S. My sister also wrote a blog post about Joe Fish.

11 comments:

Mary said...

Remember when he wore a collar with his name and your phone number? He was out rambling around, and you got a phone call. "Mrs. Fish?" the woman asked.

"You have the wrong num-- Wait, do you have my cat?"

I love that story.

Jim Cosgrove said...

So sorry to hear about Joe Fish. Sending you lots of love...Peace...

Liz Warren said...

Oh no! Priscilla, I'm so sorry to about Joe Fish. It's a terrible loss and I know it's hard.

Deb said...

Joe Fish lives on, and always will, in our hearts. An excellent lap-sitter, among many, many, many other things. Much love to you.

Lainie Levin said...

Oh, Priscilla. These things are never easy. It's so hard to lose a friend like that. I'll be thinking of you and Mr. Fish...

Flo said...

A beautiful tribute to a dear family member. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat Joe Fish (we have a cat named Joe - sans Fish). The deeper the love, the deeper the sorrow when he is gone. He sounds like a true friend who battled through a wonderful long life with you. Bless his feline heart and all his friends and family. Take care of yourself, Mrs. Fish.

anthea said...

Priscilla--So sorry to hear of Joe Fish's passing. Your post about Joe and his life was beautiful. Thinking of you and sending love.

Granny Sue said...

So sorry, Priscilla. It's hard to lose a loved pet even when we know it's time.

Joe was quite a cat. I am sure you feel fortunate to have had him for so long. What a guy.

PriscillaHowe said...

Thanks, everybody, for your condolences and reminiscences It was a hard decision, but it was really time.

Susie said...

Your stories about Joe Fish brought tears to my eyes, but also made me smile. What a tale of life and love. May Mr. Fish rest in peace and may your memories make you smile for years to come. xo

Term Papers said...

Well your stories about Joe Fish interesting and this cat have slightly crossed blue eyes, He looked like a small mountain lion.


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