Monday, June 13, 2011

A Life Interrupted

2000 - 2011

Howard was in the front yard irises when he was attacked on a recent hot and humid June morn.  I heard a cry and I looked out the window to see his body locked in the jaws of a large dog.  Horror, terror, and profound sorrow ensued.  It was unexpected and unprovoked.

He came to our home with his brother eleven years ago. They were adopted from the local animal shelter when I got it into my head that having a couple of kittens was a good idea.  Of course, I chose two of my favorite colors: black and gray.  Emily and her best friend, Caroline, were given the responsibility of names.  They decided the black one would be Howard, and the gray one, Simon. 

Raining kittens reign topsy-turvy.

They could have been named Yin and Yang!

Howard with young Chewbacca and old Nick (1987-2000) 

Howard was affable and friendly to all.  To his credit, his hunting was usually no more than bringing home a cicada, which I then captured and released back into the outdoors. He was ever curious, and always causing some sort of mischief or "trouble".  He loved climbing ladders and jumping into bags and boxes.  He loved to take naps and drink from faucets.

He was best friends with Little Earl, a talented boy who could stand upright on his hind feet.  Little Earl, too,  died far too young, at the age of four.

Puss in a pot impersonating a plant

Howard had a huge personality and provided endless entertainment effortlessly.

Here Howard is watching "Charlotte's Web".  He was fascinated by the spider and pawed at the screen. I'm sure he would have loved Wilbur given the opportunity. 

A recent neighborhood yard sale had Howard proving he was at the top of his game.  He always had a great sense of showmanship. 

Alice and Howard

Of late, Howard was best friends with Alice since she joined the household.  Even for his eleven years, he didn't mind tousling with an energetic 35 lb. year-old dog.  Howard's ploy was to lay on his back while batting away at Alice.  When I asked his veterinarian, Dr. Love,  if she thought Howard was overweight, she said he was only "big-boned".  She went on to proclaim that he had the longest whiskers that she had ever seen.  I was as proud as a parent with this assessment!

Chewy and Howard

I will miss the menagerie walks around the neighborhood; two dogs followed by two cats. No more romping across lawns in big, bounding leaps, no more sashaying in his languid walk.  No more yowls if he was left too far behind. 

At 9:00 a.m., on June 9th, 2011, Howard was alive.  Fortunately, he did not suffer for long.  Four hours later, he was not where he should be.  I made a bed of soft muslin and put his head on a small felt cushion, top-stitched with appliqued stars.  In his paws I put one of his toys: a small fluffy ball. 

An ordinary housecat he was not, and his  life was interrupted prematurely.


  1. oh renee, i am so sorry. how horrible that he was attacked by a dog — the owners should be arrested. please know my thoughts are with you at this sad time. howard was clearly a rockstar of a cat and he will be sorely missed....

    sending loving thoughts from greece♡


  2. Renee, as a fellow cat lover, I know somewhat how you feel. But NOT losing both Simon & Howard in just a couple of weeks! Great photography--hope you advised the local & national ASPCA about your work. Every pet owner should know about your happiness & sorrow -- dirty dog owners, too.
    After our cat Feather past away a few years ago, I was not sure about getting another very soon. But we rescued Maya, the runt of a litter, and this cat has been a fine companion ever since. (See my facebook for a picture) Peace!