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‘The Last Photograph of Cat’
March 3, 2011 5:28 PM   Subscribe

The Last Photograph of Cat. MeFi’s own RJ Reynolds proves that, in hands like his, it is indeed possible to memorialize one’s beloved pet with restraint and humour yet no loss of feeling.

If this isn’t the best writing on animals of ’010 I’ll eat my kibble.
posted by joeclark (88 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite

 
My old cat is probably nearing the end of his days this year so this really choked me up. A fine tribute to an old friend, Mr. Reynolds. Surely more than he would do for you, and bless him for that.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:32 PM on March 3, 2011


There's something in my eye...

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posted by schyler523 at 5:33 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by Faint of Butt at 5:34 PM on March 3, 2011


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for all my past cats, too


....


Possum's coat just before I buried her is my desktop. I still think of her every day.
posted by mwhybark at 5:34 PM on March 3, 2011


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I'm gonna miss you when you're gone too, Pizazz and Weens.
posted by josher71 at 5:35 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by mintcake! at 5:35 PM on March 3, 2011


That was touching. Thanks.
posted by KGMoney at 5:38 PM on March 3, 2011


=^..^=
posted by zarah at 5:39 PM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have to go cuddle my cat now. Whether she wants me to or not.

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posted by Zozo at 5:40 PM on March 3, 2011


Yes, even from caustic ol' pla, avowed enemy of dots,

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pesky dust, getting in my eyes while trying to type...
posted by pla at 5:41 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:42 PM on March 3, 2011


Wonderful.
posted by Kloryne at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2011


.

My cat's virtually brand new -- not yet 2, with (knock wood) many years of sass and destroying things to look forward to.

Makes me wonder about the person I'll be when I take the last picture of him. I hope I can think of something to say.
posted by saturday_morning at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps ironically, I cannot open the photo of Cat.

I can only assume he's somewhere where Zach is, and I'll try to get a message to Zach (1992?-2010) to go say hello.

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posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by rahnefan at 5:46 PM on March 3, 2011


Why do you want to make me cry?

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posted by misha at 5:47 PM on March 3, 2011


Excuse me while I go weep for while. I'm so sorry RJ.

That's what I get for skimming. I expected a cute cat story, not PMS breakdown fuel.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:47 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I met Cat a few times, back in the day. That whole clan of cats, including the one who fell from on high. It was the other cat who loved to sit in the sink, yes?

A beautiful piece about a good Cat.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:52 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by edmcbride at 5:56 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by endotoxin at 5:58 PM on March 3, 2011


I hope I am in any way able to write anything so real about mine when each of them goes in his turn.

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posted by Medieval Maven at 5:58 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by joannemerriam at 5:59 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:00 PM on March 3, 2011


Such an adventurer, he stands with other cats of literature and exploration. Like Trim and Mrs Chippy.

He sounds like a very fine cat indeed. Like my fine cats of yore, Tiger and Sampson.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 6:01 PM on March 3, 2011




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posted by rtha at 6:03 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by lapolla at 6:11 PM on March 3, 2011


My mom had to put her little doggie down earlier this week, the picture of health, struck down by a sudden and violently carcinogenic lymphoma. I want to send this to her, but I don't think I can.

(As much as I protest I don't like our cat, I'll be sad when she goes. Soon, if I can catch her while the wife is out.)
posted by maxwelton at 6:19 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:25 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by clavdivs at 6:25 PM on March 3, 2011


This is beautiful, and makes me miss my former cats, Monkey, Maoquai and S.A.M., quite a lot. My current dog, Judah, is young and strong yet, and will hopefully be so for some time to come. Still, reading this piece urges me to enjoy his company more while he is here, as it's likely that I'll outlive him, eventually.

Thanks for posting this.

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posted by Pecinpah at 6:26 PM on March 3, 2011


Well said.

I couldn't help being reminded of this.
posted by tomswift at 6:26 PM on March 3, 2011


.

My old man Jake died nearly 4 years ago at the age of 17 and I still miss him. We still have cats, but there hasn't been anything that's managed to hook my heart the way he did. Someday again, maybe. Just not yet.
posted by jgaiser at 6:32 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



.

I had an emotionally wrought evening, earlier, and thought "oh, I'll go poke around on metafilter to chill out" and now I'm extra-sniffley. I'm gonna go harass my cats now and bury my face in their fur.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:40 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by LobsterMitten at 6:42 PM on March 3, 2011


I took very few pics of my cat. Mostly because I never had a camera.
The first Christmas we moved into our house (which my cat hated), I bought my wife a camera.

I was playing around with it, and my cat, loyal as he was, was the my subject, tolerating - nay - submitting to the torture of being blinded by that dreaded flash, over and over again, as I experimented with all the different settings.

I took those pictures on December 27.
He was gone by December 29.

I never saw it coming. It was his colon, the vet said - that, and old age and a slew of other things - but I know the truth: it was the house that killed him - more specifically, the new arrangement that we both had to accept, now that I was married.

One of those pics I took is on my desktop. I am looking at it right now. it brings me comfort and happiness.

I really do believe he is in some afterlife somewhere - I dreamt of him twice in the days after he passed - once I was in a grassy field; he came to greet me and then he bounded away joyfully. The other time, he was curled up, sleeping in a chair, next to a warm fire.

He's fine and happy now. And he's probably playing with Cat right now.

I'm sure this essay has been linked here before.

God bless, RJ Reynolds.
Godspeed, Cat.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]



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He sounds wonderful. I'm smiling and tearing up at once.
posted by Because at 6:47 PM on March 3, 2011


I had to have the vet kill Artemis, my cat of 20 years, over the holidays. Some days are fine; other days are tear-filled. I still look for her every time I hear a noise. When I curl up on my side to go to sleep, there's a nine-pound weight missing from my hip.

I've vaguely entertained the idea of getting another cat, but when I do, all I can think is, "It won't be Artie. The cat's mannerisms will be different. Habits will be different. I would probably end up resenting it--and no animal deserves that."


. for all of us who have lost beloved pets.
posted by tzikeh at 6:54 PM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Y'know, for all science can do these days, what I really want is for someone to work on feline longevity. It's just simply unfair that a cat's lifespan is so much drastically shorter than that of its human companions. Though all in all, Cat sounded like he had a pretty awesome life.

(Yes, hi, I like my cat more than I like most people. That she is mortal is totally uncool.)
posted by sonika at 6:56 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


After I finished reading that, I sat here at my desk tearing up a little... and then my ridiculous cat hopped up on my lap and popped a claw through my lower lip. So I'm still tearing up because of a cat, but in a totally different way. Sigh.

(I'm very sorry about Cat, RJ.)

.
posted by palomar at 6:58 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, but do you not all agree Mr. SICHA achieved a celebratory, almost black-humoured Irish-wake tone?
posted by joeclark at 7:07 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, that was wonderful. Reminds me of the "For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry" bit of that weird 18th century poem that was posted here awhile ago. There have been many very good Cats.
posted by bubukaba at 7:14 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's just simply unfair that a cat's lifespan is so much drastically shorter than that of its human companions.

In a way, though, its a mercy to the cat. Who will take care of them as well as we do after we go?

Who will write sentimental LiveJournal postings in my cat's voice if I go first?
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:16 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by rebel_rebel at 7:20 PM on March 3, 2011


Sorry, but I can't resist...

[cat] Before I die won't somebody PLEASE tell me what that fucking statue is supposed to be? *OH FUCK* [croaks] [/cat]

And of course,

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posted by localroger at 7:20 PM on March 3, 2011


That was beautiful. It made me miss my poor Lionors, who gave up the ghost this summer after fifteen years with me, once again.

. for Cat and the rest of the well-loved cats mentioned in this thread.
posted by immlass at 7:26 PM on March 3, 2011


tzikeh - take your time. the pain does go away eventually. and then you'll know when it's time to bring a little one into your life again.

condolences to you - and to all who have lost, or who are going through those final stages.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:27 PM on March 3, 2011


'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly.


That is the most beautiful photograph of a cat I have seen, RJ.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:28 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by limeonaire at 7:31 PM on March 3, 2011


Joey Michaels: "It's just simply unfair that a cat's lifespan is so much drastically shorter than that of its human companions.

In a way, though, its a mercy to the cat. Who will take care of them as well as we do after we go?


Many people provide for that in their wills. There was an article recently about a woman who had a cat--a cat that she wound up with after various people (including the woman's daughter) had owned the cat, very briefly, but simply couldn't handle that the cat was miserable and a huge pain in the ass. The daughter asked her mom to look after the cat for a few days at her house (I can't remember why). For whatever reason, when this woman took the cat in, the cat was immediately at ease, took to this woman as if the cat had lived with her forever, and even became a lap cat.

The woman told her daughter that, when she died, her daughter should have the cat killed and buried with her. They both knew that there was no other option, and it would be absolutely the kindest thing to do.
posted by tzikeh at 7:43 PM on March 3, 2011


Beautiful.
Sorry for your loss, Choire.
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posted by Flashman at 7:51 PM on March 3, 2011


George died late last year too.

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for all our kitties.
posted by gaspode at 7:55 PM on March 3, 2011


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Cracked open a can of tuna for my cat after reading this. His sister died about a month ago.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 7:56 PM on March 3, 2011


boh
posted by zeoslap at 8:19 PM on March 3, 2011


.

choire, that was a beautiful tribute.

and this thread is a beautiful tribute to cats we have known and loved - here is the last photo I took of Fitzgerald last year before he died.

(yeah, I wasn't going to click this thread, but then I figured I wouldn't cry. I didn't. I bawled)
posted by annathea at 8:52 PM on March 3, 2011


Miss cat.
posted by eddydamascene at 8:52 PM on March 3, 2011


I've had many cat friends and have lost: some throughout the years: my new friends skippy and punk are wishing you peace
posted by Upon Further Review at 8:52 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by spitefulcrow at 8:57 PM on March 3, 2011


That was my boy Chiri to a tee, escape artist and rebound king, housebound alleycat-at-heart. 4 years gone, I still cant believe how much he and his now 20 year old sister enrich(ed) my soul. A friend says "to own a pet is to cry one day".

It's sooo worth it.
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posted by djrock3k at 9:00 PM on March 3, 2011


This thread is making be bawl my eyes out at the thought of my cat dying. But, thanks for this. I'm going to make sure to memorialize my cat a bit more on tumblr for some great memories.
posted by hazyspring at 9:42 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by aloiv2 at 9:48 PM on March 3, 2011


Beautiful essay. I hope I can write something half as nice for my own sweetheart someday.
posted by studioaudience at 9:53 PM on March 3, 2011


And he's probably playing with Cat right now.

Doubt it, Cat doesn't care much for other cats.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:56 PM on March 3, 2011


I can't bring myself to read all of these comments. It's too hard, hits too close to home.

Three weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to my fifteen-year-old calico, Smilla. A week later, I took in a three-legged street cat, who turned out to have leukemia. After that I fostered a feral kitten for a week, who, a week after that, died of a heart attack.

It's hard as hell, but it's ok, too. Cats are transient by nature, I think; I see this in the rescue and shelter work I do. We love them while we can, and they pay us in kind with casually indifferent glances, maddening Jedi mind tricks, and unexpected headbuts of pure, loving trust.

And I've found hope, via a tabby I'm currently rehabilitating. He was abandoned by his people, left to die of frostbite. Thanks to you lovely people, I've given him a name.

I hope Cat's person finds hope too.

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posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:00 PM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


.

Must be the allergies, there's something in my eye too.
posted by arcticseal at 10:45 PM on March 3, 2011


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posted by Xoebe at 11:19 PM on March 3, 2011


Nothing can replace a Dearest Feline Friend, but no cat lover should be long without a cat. My soul is raggedy with the holes from missing fuzzy buddies, but I can't go long without cat fur under my hands. It is truly one of the last remaining pleasures this planet and this form hold for me. And though we may see them in those wire cages or cardboard boxes, or looking forlorn in a rainy alley, putting off the illusion of neediness, when you give a cat the gift of some space in your home and some food, maybe the occasional trip to the cat doc, all that is as nothing compared to the gift they give back just by accepting these things and becoming the manna from heaven to the parched wasteland that is a catless life. I am sorry for the loss of Cat, and for all who have had their hearts punctured by this loss, but just keep on the look out. There will never be another Cat, like there will never be another Sam, but I love my Mekki and my Snowbear, and Sam's memory is not diminished
posted by Redhush at 11:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


One day I hope my own eulogy is just as well-written, full of details describing a life well-lived, rather than one of regret.
posted by CancerMan at 12:00 AM on March 4, 2011


My kittycat is getting on in years. I don't know what I'll do when she passes away.

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posted by sarcasticah at 12:35 AM on March 4, 2011


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My cat Grey (last photo) passed away last August from infectious peritonitis. He'd been abandoned to the streets by his previous owner. Sweetest, gentlest, purringest cat I've ever known. A real chatterbox, always sharing his discoveries, asking me to come check out the snail he'd found and MEOW omg MEEEOW it moved come quick *paw dance*!! It wasn't easy to photograph him because he always wanted cuddles; he was abundantly clear with how happy he was up to the very end, when I had him put down. Purred like a motorboat even after the vet put the needle in his paw; broke my heart when his purr stopped and his head went limp.

Glad his more rambunctious (and very sweet as well) companion Kanoko is with me, but tears still come when Kanoko snuggles in the crook of my arm and I hope, I hope, he stays healthy, happy, fence-climbing-able and gnawer-of-freshly-bloomed-flowers for as long as felinely possible.
posted by fraula at 1:10 AM on March 4, 2011


My kittycat is getting on in years. I don't know what I'll do when she passes away.

You'll bawl your eyes out off and on for about a week.


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posted by clarknova at 1:20 AM on March 4, 2011


Mefite typewriter took the most beautiful photo of her cat on his last morning. The caption reads:

"My cat, Spunky on his last morning, just wanted to sit and look out of the window.

RIP Spunky."


Also, a tribute to Mopsey.
posted by essexjan at 5:40 AM on March 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was wonderful, tear-jerkingly wonderful.

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posted by DizzyLeaf at 7:14 AM on March 4, 2011


...

For Cat, Marlon, and Tasha. It's been a rough year. Going to hug 17-year-old Miss Kitty now.
posted by anthropoid at 8:26 AM on March 4, 2011


Cat sounds like a marvelous animal.

When I get home from work, I'm going to be sure to give deimos some extra treats and a sprinkle of catnip.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:11 AM on March 4, 2011


Oh man...consider me moved.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 9:53 AM on March 4, 2011


Cats know when it's time. One of my childhood cats, the blind hunter, begged desperately one evening to go out. He was found the next morning under the bushes where he routinely sat, waiting to hear the mice go by. He didn't want to cause any trouble.

The little black pirate cat, whose liver had failed, spent her last night sleeping on the bed with us. I woke up the next morning and found her lying by the bedroom door, breathing very shallow. At some point in the early hours she'd used up the last of her strength to get up, move off the bed and go somewhere. I don't know where she was headed. We brought her downstairs and there she died, sitting on a lap in the morning sun, being softly petted. She didn't want to cause any trouble either.

Oh, Cat. Would that we all could have beauty for our last view.

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posted by Spatch at 10:09 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by safetyfork at 11:05 AM on March 4, 2011


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posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 11:21 AM on March 4, 2011


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posted by New England Cultist at 12:18 PM on March 4, 2011


Also, made me go a little numb.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:19 PM on March 4, 2011


Okay, this is perhaps a selfish request, but -- I cannot seem to open the actual photograph of Cat. I can read the text, but the photo isn't working -- what am I doing wrong?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on March 4, 2011


For all of us who have loved cats, and for all of us who have lost them. My own heartbreaks have faded, but remain all too accessible. And they do color my relationship with our current two kitties, just three years old but oh so mortal.
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posted by PsychoTherapist at 1:57 PM on March 4, 2011


.

And, still too raw a wound after a year- Piper.

She lived with us for eighteen years, a little kitty with a greeeaaat
biiig voice, who left a greeeaaat biiig empty space.
posted by drhydro at 2:28 PM on March 4, 2011


I cannot seem to open the actual photograph of Cat

..yeah that seems to be a pretty constant problem (at least for me) with Tumblr blogs.

and Cats know when it's time.

Absolutely...I had this one 21-year old cat, Nigel, who for his last couple of years was content to stay pretty inert indoors, then all of a sudden he had an urge to go outside. The second time, I found him in the back of the neighbor's yard. I brought him inside, but he was having difficulty walking - the vet said his organs were starting to shut down. I made an appointment for euthanasia, only to have him die in my arms before I got him to the cat carrier. So yeah, cats seem to know.

And,

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posted by foonly at 5:19 PM on March 4, 2011


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What a lovely tribute.
posted by mkim at 5:43 PM on March 4, 2011


jeezus. I am a wreck tonight, between finishing Half-Life 2 Episode 2, and the very ending of Bioshock one after the other, then THIS. (no spoilers, but the two of them are both very moving, for games, for different reasons). My eyes have run out of liquid.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:57 PM on March 4, 2011


For all of you that posted pictures of your friends...thanks... I've scrolled through them and shared your love for them...thanks.

Simplicity and compassion... one of the best parts of Metafilter.
posted by tomswift at 9:28 PM on March 5, 2011


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