Hello, dear readers — Lucinda the literate cat here, with sad news. My sweet cousin, Pogo, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Therefore, CCL (Cantankerous Cat Lady) and I have written this eulogy for Pogo.
He has joined all the other cats who have been part of CCL’s family over the years. He has instructions to send greetings from us both. We know they will all accept him gladly.
His passing signifies a great change in our home, as we no longer have the pleasure of his company. He lived a long life for one of us cats, as he was 16 1/2 years of age. We will miss him a great deal.
CCL: It is not easy, losing a family member, whether equipped with four legs or two. He became a comfort to me, as I found his presence both soothing and stimulating.
He lived here for 2 1/2 years. If you have read many posts on this website, you may know some of his story. I rescued him from a Juneau animal shelter, where he had lived in misery for 7 1/2 months.
It’s not that the shelter tried to make him miserable. They did their best to feed and care for him, and to supply his medical needs. But they had a work load that involved many animals, and could not give a lot of individual attention to an old black cat. Besides, the noise level in that place could not be considered peaceful.
When I found him there, his stress had reached such a maximum level that he had a bad case of alopecia, or compulsive overgrooming, and had pulled all the fur from his stomach, both ears, and in lines down his legs. He weighed far too much, had arthritis so bad that he could not run, and had the start of renal disease.
When he came home with me, he expressed his gratitude in no uncertain terms. When we first arrived home, he followed me every time I moved, and when I stopped, he would sit down beside me and purr.
It took me two weeks to convince him not to spend his days under the bed, but rather, on it. At night, he slept cuddled as close to me as he could get. He didn’t want to lose me again, and made sure I wouldn’t disappear while he slept.
Lucinda: I know he remembered that place. We cats can remember painful experiences for a long time. He didn’t like the noise, as the dogs in there never stopped barking. I can see how stressful that would be — I value the peace and quiet here at home, and would also become very stressed in such a place.
Even so very stressed, he never resorted to meanness or temper if he wanted a quiet time. He just found a comfortable place and went to sleep.
CCL: I am sure he loved the quiet of our home after his ordeal. He stopped the over-grooming right away, though at first he would dream he had ended up back there, and he would start pulling at the fur on his stomach.
Then I’d speak to him softly and soothingly and stroke him until he returned to a quiet sleep.
Lucinda: I’m told that in his old home, he never went outside. Here, he had a large fenced yard that did not allow him to escape, so he became quite insistent about going out every day. If it was rainy, he wouldn’t stay out long, but on good days, he loved to sleep in the sun.
CCL made us some outdoor play toys — we both liked a long string with a fuzzy blue ball on the end. Up until a few weeks ago, he enjoyed the game of chase outside with that ball and string.
CCL: During the first couple of years he lived here, he had his own private play routine. Every night, after lights out, he would race around the house like a mad cat, and leave all rugs in piles for me to straighten the next day.
Lucinda: He would also see his shadow on the wall, reflected by the night light. He found that wall-cat fascinating, especially the tail. He appeared ready to attack it, but never did.
CCL: The thing I will miss most is our tradition that we called “cuddly cat.” Every day between about 11:30 and 12:30, I’d throw a blanket over the bed and call “cuddly cat.” He’d come running in and we would both get under the blanket. He would fall asleep pressed against me, and after about an hour, I’d get up quietly and leave him there asleep. Sometimes he stayed for four hours or so.
Lucinda: Even though he’d been an indoor cat all his life, he knew how to hunt. He kept the little critters out of our house, and if they got in, he would teach them their fatal error.
In the yard, he’d watch for voles and shrews and knew their hiding places. There was a low platform at the end of our deck that used to hold a water tank. When that tank went away, we cats liked to lie on top of that platform in the sun.
Pogo found a vole trail that went under the platform. One day, Pogo disappeared, and CCL had no idea where he’d gone. Then we saw him crawl out through the hole in the side of that platform that the voles had used for their doorway.
He found a nest of baby voles under there, and had a feast…he ate all except one, which he brought in to CCL. He didn’t even save any for me! No vole has dared to try to live under there since.
CCL: Pogo was a shy and timid cat. However, over time he became braver. When a visitor would come, he’d run and hide under the bed. Then, his curiosity would get the better of him and he would come out to investigate. Gradually, he grew more courageous and would not always run.
Lucinda: Pogo became able to recognize frequent visitors by smell and by the sound of their voice, so if he knew them well, he might even stay in the room to greet them. Though he loved the quiet of our home, he became more social as time passed.
CCL: In September 2019, I took a two-week trip to Maine with close allies from Kodiak. A Gustavus friend, Denise, recommended someone she knew, Denita, who would house- and Pogo-sit while I traveled.
Pogo quickly developed a good friendship with Denita, and soon became quite fond of her. Pogo had a cute habit. Denita would sit in a living room chair, and Pogo would sit down in front of her and tap her on the knee.
That meant Denita must pick him up and put him on her lap. There, he received all those scratches and pets that he knew he deserved.
Denise came over several nights to visit Denita and Pogo, and they would watch movies together. Then Pogo experienced a bit of cat heaven. He had two laps to choose from, and on either lap, a pair of skilled hands was at the ready to give him the strokes and scratches he felt entitled to receive.
Denise said he enjoyed the movies, too, She claimed he had a crush on Sandra Bullock.
Lucinda: Pogo had his ways of getting what he wanted. The right approach might bring great rewards. He knew the tricks that any good cat learns that will allow him to gain what he desires.
Pogo got to know Denise quite well, as she came to care for him if CCL had to go to Juneau. The first time CCL stayed in Juneau overnight, Denise, who could not spend the night, did the next best thing: She brought an electrically-heated throw for him to sleep on.
He loved that warm bed so much that CCL bought him one of his own when she learned how much he liked it. He would stretch out full-length on that heated blanket and soak up the warmth. It got him through the cold winter nights quite well.
He also has a deluxe cushy cat bed in front of the Toyo stove. At first, he wouldn’t sleep in it, but after a while he began to sit in it and soak up the stove heat. We will both miss seeing him there.
CCL: He had another way to get me to give him attention. Before my computer moved to the new office, it lived in the small office that’s now a guest room. I put a chair right next to mine, and while I worked, Pogo would curl up and sleep on that chair.
When he wanted attention, he’d reach a paw up and tap me on the arm. That signal meant I must stop typing and give him some cheek-scratches and fond words. Then he’d allow me to go back to work for a while.
Lucinda: I watched Pogo’s reaction when the vet came to visit. A couple of times she had to draw blood, a process I don’t understand but which helps two-leggeds see if we are healthy.
The vet would put Pogo in a little suit that kept his legs and feet out of the way. However, he became adept at kicking the needle loose before Dr. Schaff could collect any blood.
So, another friend, Kathy, came to help. While Dr. Schaff manipulated the needle, CCL held Pogo’s head and reassured him. Kathy held the feet, so he couldn’t get at that needle. Mission accomplished.
CCL: Pogo came to live here when Lucinda and I needed a live-in companion. He gave so much love that he enriched our lives. He never showed any sign of meanness, but generously shared his loving good nature.
Though his needs, when added to my routine, meant extra work for me, it also helped fill my days with that which I considered of value, because I wanted to make his final years happy ones.
For whatever extra work he caused me, he gave back so much love that he enriched my life. I feel so fortunate that he came to live here. I have never regretted the decision to bring him home. I only wish I could have brought him sooner and that he could have stayed with me longer.
By now, he must have his well-deserved place in Cat Heaven, and I will miss him so much in the days to come. Thank you, Pogo, for adding so much value to my life. As I told you many times, “You are the bestest cat I know!”