Friday, August 20, 2010

Goodbye, Boot

We had to have our 18-year-old cat Boot put to sleep this week. He had a long and full life. He was born in Cairo, Egypt, lived with us in six different countries, and died in South Carolina.

This is a picture from some years ago, back when he still had teeth. Both our Egyptian cats had major dental problems.

He was a beautiful cat, and one of the most intelligent ones I've known.

I got him in Cairo when a very kind woman drove me across town in rush-hour traffic to see what was supposed to be a long-haired kitten, living with an Egyptian woman who couldn't keep him, after his original family had kicked him out. He turned out to be a short-haired, year-old, nervous wreck of a cat, but I was too embarrassed not to take him after she'd driven me all that way. We stopped at the vet's on the way home, and he told me Boot was feral and could never be tamed.

For the first three days, we never saw him. We would wake up to find all the pictures ajar. He had evidently been trying to find a way out in the night, and thought they were windows. On the third day, I decided to give him one last chance. I found him pressed against the wall behind the stove. I held out some food in my hand. He sniffed it, hesitated, then came slowly toward me. As he reached me, he seemed to suddenly relax. He climbed into my lap and began to rub his head all over me.

He had just been terrified.

We were friends ever after, and he was always my cat, unlike our other cats, who've always loved my husband best.

Wondering why I said he was a short-haired cat, when the pictures clearly show otherwise? We took him back to the States for a year after Egypt, and that first winter, poof! He became a long-haired cat.

Here he is with Fergie, our other Egyptian cat, not too long after we got them both, back in his brief short-haired phase. She's been gone for years, but she was a wonderful cat.

This week the vet told us Boot had diabetes, arthritis, a serious heart murmur, and advanced cataracts. He wasn't enjoying his life any more, and it was time for him to pass on to whatever is next for our beloved pets.

I'm just going to remember him from happier days...

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