Floyd came into our lives in early 2000, adopted from a shelter, and won our hearts. |
I was a reluctant "cat parent." I grew up without pets and never had the slightest interest but Sue really wanted a four-legged family member and after much cajoling, I reluctantly agreed. My consolation prize was that I got to name him and "Bobby" became "Floyd."
For the first few weeks with us Floyd was shy, hiding under the basement stairs. He emerged while I was away on a business trip and began to settle in.
As a Manx, Floyd was unique, with a distinctive walk, posture and a special charm. He had a big personality. With time, he grew on me and soon had me hooked by his special charisma.
Ultimately, he turned this reluctant "cat parent" into a doting mush ball to the point where I created mini-songs about him:
"He is the Cat, The Floydian Cat
The first 11 years of Floyd's life with us was spent in a circa 1860's row house in Lambertville, New Jersey, a small tourist town on the Delaware River. The house had very tall ceilings, a long staircase to the second floor, and a small yard.
Around the house we delighted in Floyd's antics like scampering up the stairs, (appearing more like a rabbit than a cat), drinking from the "Punch Bowl" (with his tail-less rear end sticking up in the air), and training us to brush him on command. Floyd loved to be brushed and adopted a particular chair as his "brushing chair"; when he jumped onto that chair, it was time for brushing. As Grandpa Irv liked to announce, "You have a customer!"
The brushing ritual was a mainstay of life with Floyd and worthy of its own song:
"Brush Brush Brush the Floydian Cat
Floyd was a "beefy-boy," the feline version of the Eric Cartman character on South Park. He liked to eat! Floyd was partial to seafood and his special treat was the water from cans of tuna. There were times when Sue or I would have Tuna primarily so Floyd could have his treat. Broccoli was a close second in the favorites department!
While an indoor cat, Floyd liked to spend time outside too. While he loved sunning himself in our small yard, he was less a fan of snow.
Lambertville had more than its share of cats, some owned by neighbors and others feral. Our yard became cat-central and Floyd ruled the roost; he was the man in charge, overseeing everything from his perch on one of the deck chairs.
During the summer he would spend much of the day outside and when it was time to come in we could summon him by whistling.
It was quite a crew, Phineas, Marlon, Bag-K, Benny & the Jets, Ziggy and so many more. There were Opossums and even a Raccoon; Floyd got along with everyone.
A few years later we attempted to adopt one of the local feral cats Floyd had befriended, Phineas, but that ended sadly due to FIV. Later, a another shelter cat, Jory, joined our family and a few years later we took in another feral cat, Mickey. Floyd had two younger cats to boss around!
Everybody loved Floyd. He was always a hit with our Family at Holiday Dinners and other get-togethers. In the early years our toddler niece and nephews enjoyed chasing him around; Floyd was smart enough to quickly escape to the second floor! His Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Irv really got a kick out of Floyd and enjoyed babysitting him in New York. Even Grandma Shirley who disliked cats grew to appreciate the Floydian's charms; as she said "Floyd and I have an understanding." Even in her final days in hospice care, she asked after Floyd.
There are numerous Floyd Memories from New Jersey:
Pooper Kitty -- on an early trip to visit Sue's Parents in New York, Floyd taught us that he liked to ride "shotgun." We had him in the back seat and during the drive there was suddenly an overwhelming smell. Sue looked at me disapprovingly, I did likewise to her and then we realized that Floyd was sending us a message about being in the back seat!
Cat on a Second Floor Roof -- As a Manx, Floyd was not much of a jumper. One afternoon we couldn't find him anywhere but eventually we heard him faintly. Somehow Floyd had gotten on the roof of our two-story carriage house. There was no obvious way for him to have done that and how he got there remains a mystery.
Family Hugs -- In his youth, Floyd was a bit suspicious and did not like to be held. Every so often it was time for a "Family Hug" and Sue would grab him saying "you're dead meat!" and we would surround Floyd in a hug. While he may not have enjoyed that, we did.
The Little White Feet -- I would often get home from work before Sue. When I would hear her turning on to the driveway, I would let Floyd out and he would greet Sue and meet her at her car door when she got out.
In and Out Boy -- Floyd was sometimes indecisive about where he wanted to be and often gave Sue, who by then worked from home, a workout, letting him in and out. Floyd's attention span with weather was short and sometimes it took him a few cycles to determine he didn't want to be out in the rain or snow.
Wooly-Bully -- This was Floyd's favorite all-time toy. A fuzzy wool mouse with a long leather tail, Floyd would grab the tail with his teeth and then work over the mouse with his rear paws. He made short work of these and there were a number of replacements; his favorite was yellow. While Floyd also enjoyed the Feline Fisher, nothing compared to the Wooly-Bully! Motor mouse was another one -- zoom zoom across the floor went both of them.
In 2011 we moved from Lambertville to Portland, Oregon; a big move for all of us.
One of the tensest nights of our lives was flying west with Floyd, Jory, and Mickey. The 3 Boo-Boo's flew in our plane from Newark to Portland under United's Pet Care Program. Sue and I had taken this flight many times with few issues, but this night it was delayed. We were never happier than the moment we picked the trio up in the pouring rain at the 11th hour -- just shy of midnight closing - from the Special Handling area, safe and sound, and took them to their new home, a midrise apartment in Portland.
By this time Floyd was 13 years old, quite old for a Manx Cat which normally has a lifespan of 8 to 14 years. He had slowed down a bit. But only in physical body perhaps; never in spirit.
He quickly adapted to City life and made himself at home.
My favorite Portland ritual was Floyd sleeping with us in bed and, as the sun came up, becoming our Furry Alarm Clock, walking over us and sometimes howling. In time, Floyd would see me stir and come butt heads and snuggle. I would pet him and we would ease into the day together. We even got Floyd a mini-staircase to make it easier to climb onto the bed.
Floyd gained a whole new set of fans in Portland.
Early in his life, Floyd had surgery for a urinary tract issue -- and after successful surgery sported a very fashionable "Tummy T" - but he was generally healthy. However, with age came some health issues.
Later in life there were a number of challenges. We almost lost him to a severe dental issue and later he developed kidney disease, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and gastro intestinal issues. Sue became "Florence Nightingale," giving him fluids to deal with the kidney issues and as many as seven medications. It was well worth it -- he was the Floydian!
In his last few months, Floyd was having increasing difficulty in getting around and, despite a good appetite lost weight. Ultimately he was diagnosed with cancer in a muscle at the top of his right front paw. The treatment options were limited and the prognosis was very poor.
We opted to care for Floyd at home in his final days, a sort of in home hospice. In his final weeks we did all we could to keep him happy and comfortable. He got a tremendous amount of love and plenty of Tuna Juice. His mobility deteriorated during his final week. I would frequently lift him onto the sofa next to me, cuddle him into my thigh and stroke his head and neck while he purred contentedly. He slept that way for a few hours on the night of February 14th.
It had been a while since Floyd had made it onto the bed but he shocked us both by climbing into bed with us on Monday February 15th. Cuddling with him on the bed that morning is a time I will always cherish.
Two days later, there is a profound sense of loss. Our morning routine, starkly different. Seeing the bottles of all of Floyd's medications, his fluid bag, each a vivid reminder that he is gone. It's eerily quiet; an energy is missing. A piece of our soul is gone. Intellectually we know Floyd is in a better place, no longer crippled and in pain, but it feels so empty.
My best friend is gone.
Floyd will live in our hearts, minds and be the missing piece of our souls FOREVER and EVER.
We LOVE you Mr. Boo a/k/a Mr. Floyd a/k/a The Floydian -- the BEST BOO EVER.