This morning, Linda found Larry on his favorite heat vent, but he wasn’t moving or breathing; his pupils were fixed and dilated, and he was without a heartbeat. He was dead.
He was the last of a pair: Larry & Leo, gray tabby and orange tiger. In 2003, we fostered for a no-kill animal shelter in Franklin, and they came to us as a matched set: brothers and litter mates, who had been declawed by their previous owner. We immediately recognized their potential; they were magnificent cats: tall, graceful, long tailed. They were kind to our smaller wards and took to humans with equal charm. They were keepers and became part of our permanent household.
Two years ago, Leo died of kidney failure. Standing over his brother’s still warm body, Larry let out a long, mournful howl. He knew. Leo had been Linda’s cat. Under the covers, he’d curl up next to her as her personal heater. Larry was mine. Most nights, he’d ball up under my right arm.
Larry was a cat diplomat. If strays came into our back yard, he was there to greet them. In the old days, when we got another foster, Larry was the first to befriend him. Three months ago, we got Gus, a re-homed border terrier, who came in like a furry tornado. He’d spent 7 months in a condo and in a cage. Our other cats fled in panic; the pup was more than happy to chase them, but not our old, gray tabby. When Gus met Larry, in his excitement, the puppy was about to bowel the old guy over, but Larry sat back, boxed him on the nose with his clawless paws, and they settled down to a sedate friendship. He’d give Old Lar a passing sniff, and only occasionally would the tabby bother to open one eye.
We’ll miss Larry almost as much as Gus and our other cats will.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,