I don’t have any pictures to post of Ichabod, my parents’ cat, but I want to remember him today. Because today Ichabod left the world. He was in pain, and my parents made the decision to put him down. A few days ago he crawled into my parents’ closet and started keening, and he didn’t purr when my parents petted him or tried to give him his favorite snacks. They took him to the emergency vet, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Then Monday they took him to his regular vet, who was similarly baffled. They ran some tests, nothing came back conclusive. Last night Ichabod spent the night wailing and unresponsive and so this morning, first thing, my parents took him in to the vet and put him down. I know he will be missed. He slept between their pillows every night, and took naps with my dad every day. He went from lap to lap while they watched TV, and would start howling if my parents left the room while he was asleep and he woke up alone. He was one of the most friendly, loving cats I have ever met and he will be missed.
Ichabod came to us in the spring of 2004. I was working at the Enzian theater in Winter Park, Florida as part of an internship. The Florida Film Festival had just concluded, and the doors were standing open so people could take film reels in and out. I was alone in the office doing paperwork.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of movement, and then I turned around in time to see a cat jump on my lap. He meowed at me and started purring with his tongue stuck out at me, impossibly pink against his gray muzzle. He was very thin, his fur was ragged, and his ear was torn up. He had fleas. His coloration, steel grey with patches of white, made him look like a tired old man, but he had large, beautiful green eyes. I noticed he had been declawed and this concerned me paired with his fighting wounds and general state of emaciation.
I called John, and we agreed this cat needed us. We took him home and put him in our laundry room, where he ate ravenously, drank a bowl of water, and went to sleep. That night we took him to the vet to ascertain he didn’t have FIV or Feline Leukemia, and when he tested negative we named him Ichabod because of his long legs and decided that we would try to make it work with our cat Penelope.
After a flea bath, a de-worming, and several days of solid, uninterrupted sleep, Ichabod’s personality emerged. He always wanted to sit on everyone’s lap, purring, rubbing them with his tired gray head, and making a tiny fluttery sigh ever time a hand touched him. He loved people and loved being around them. Unfortunately Penelope did not love being around him and when it became obvious that Ichabod and Penelope were not going to get along my parents generously volunteered to adopt him.
Ichabod became part of our family, and for five years he sat on laps, cuddled, gave stinky cat-breath kisses, and yowled for attention whenever he didn’t feel like he got enough. He relentlessly sat on tables, against my parents’ rules for all other cats that had ever been in our house, but his homelessness and need for love weakened their resolve to keep him off the counters. He loved to sleep in the sunlight when he wasn’t on peoples’ laps, or under my father’s electric blanket.
We will never know why he was abandoned, or how old he was, or what went wrong with him. But we do know that he had a wonderful life with us for the five years he was in our care. I’m happy Ichabod found me, and I’m happy my parents took him. He was a bright soul, who loved to live, and now he is at peace.