No one who knew him would argue that he wasn’t one of the sweetest creatures who ever graced this earth.
He was soft and furry. He had big, fluffy feet and long whiskers.
And he loved to sing in the shower.
He was adored by both Linda and I but Spooky and I shared a special bond, like nothing I’ve ever felt in my life and no doubt ever will again.
His full name was Marshmallow “Spooky” NoHo. He got his nickname because he was so shy. He didn’t like meeting new people, but if he got to know you, he would sit in your lap or wrap himself around your neck like a scarf and purr loudly. Then he might butt his head on your chin … or your elbow or your shoe and you just knew what he was saying to you, “Hold me.”
Not a night has gone by since I rescued him from the North Hollywood Animal Shelter in September, 1998, that he didn’t sleep in the bed between us and in his later years, under the covers. And unlike most kitties I’ve known, if you moved or rolled over or snored or kneed him during the night, he would just ride it out, wait till you settled down and go back to sleep. And he would stay there, in bed all morning long until I got up. Didn’t matter if I slept till noon. He was not leaving until I rolled out of bed.
Not a night had gone by that that sweet boy didn’t sleep in bed with us, until last night.
Spooky, left the beautiful body he was given at birth yesterday afternoon and headed off into parts unknown. If he slept next to me last night, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t feel his paws on my side or the vibration of his purring. He didn’t drape himself across me this morning as he always did.
When he left, the hole that he left behind was bigger that I could have imagined and the sorrow we now suffer is nearly unbearable.
He was, by all accounts, an old kitty having essentially reached the age of 115 kitty years. But except for the last year or so, he didn’t act his age.
He was always quite vocal, especially when it came to food. He loved salmon, except when he didn’t. He loved tuna, except when he didn’t. He loved people food and cheese and would eat as much bbq chicken as you would give him.
He was of course, like his brother Joey who left us in 2011, a liberal. He was appalled to have to live through eight years of the Bush administration which was half of his life on this planet.
He was sickened by recent events perpetrated by humans and lately tried to ignore the middle east and Paris and Africa preferring to soak up sunshine on the patio sniffing the jasmin wafting through the air and occasionally, half-heartedly swatting at a bee or a fly.
He paid no attention to hummingbirds or lizards or other wildlife. He’d rather be asleep in your lap than running across the lawn or climbing a tree.
He was also, a creature of habit. In his youth he was a bit of a fetch kitty and would chase crushed up cigarette packs up and down the stairs placing them at your feet for hours. Cigarettes packs later became “mice” of all kinds. He love to fetch the plastic ring that seals a carton of milk and would leap into action the minute you said loudly, “Mouse!”
For years when I got home from work he would run to the bed and wait for me to sit down to take off my shoes, knowing petting would ensue. If he was on the desk where you were working and you placed a pencil (or anything) there, he would just calmly kick it to the ground, over and over and over.
In the last few years, he loved to get up on the sink in the master bedroom ostensibly to drink from the faucet once you turned it on but after quenching his thirst, he would just sit there, looking at himself in the mirror, probably contemplating how much older he looked now and asking himself, “Where’s the time go?”
Finally, in the past year, when his hearing was all but gone, he would get into the shower and sing at the top of his lungs just to hear his own voice reverberating off the tile walls.
He sang his favorites from his youth, everything from Creed to Britney Spears, but he mostly loved standards and would end his sessions with Funny Valentine and Body and Soul as an encore. Of course he first learned the Billie Holiday version but he loved to emulate the way Amy Winehouse sang it.
Spooky likely suffered a kitty heart attack while Linda was bringing him to see the doctor yesterday afternoon. I’m thankful he didn’t suffer very much or for very long in his last days.
But I’m also devastated.
I’m devastated that I’ll never hear his beautiful voice singing in the shower again. I’m devastated that he won’t be at my side waiting for me to wake up every morning.
I’m devastated that my face was not the last one he saw before leaving.
It was with excruciatingly heavy hearts that we buried him last night in one of his favorite places to lounge, under an oak tree in our backyard, right next to his brother Joseph.
Wherever it is that he went so suddenly, without a proper goodbye from me, I hope to meet up with him there someday.
Until then, farewell, sweet prince.
BTW: Watch this link of Spooky dancing from 2001, apologies to Fiona Apple.