RIP Blackcomb, AKA Boston Blackie, AKA Mr. Black. World-class cat. World traveler cat.
May 1999 (somewhere around May 7) Boston / Brookline (found right by the borderline) , Mass, USA – August 25, 2013, Atlántida, Canelones, Uruguay.
Brookline, MA to Dillon, Colorado. Dillon, CO to Raleigh, NC. Raleigh, NC to Tacoma, Washington State. Several trips back and forth between Raleigh and Dillon, between Tacoma and Dillon, while we foolishly hoped the destroyed economy might have let us sell our modest Colorado home instead of it being foreclosed.
Finally, Tacoma, WA back to Dillon, CO for a few months at the start of 2012. In June 2012, Dillon, CO to Montevideo Uruguay as the best under-seat pet who didn’t “stick his head out, not even one little bit” (as the Copa Airlines staff warned me sternly, before then moving us up to better seats with a smile!) One year of good health, happy times, and his first backyard ever, before he fell ill in June 2013. Most of that with his dog brother Whister, who followed him to Uruguay, in much less comfy accomodations, in September 2012.
Long way to go for a Maine Coon Cat mix, longhair domestic kitty, found bleeding and pus-oozing in a paper bag in May 1999. About 2 weeks old and near death. But not ready to die, not that day, not that place. 14 more years and a continent away, before that day would come. Which was still too damn soon…
Never knew if the person who put him in the upright paper bag, by my condo, did it to abandon him, or did it to rescue him. Did she/he know “that guy with the greyhound will be out walking the dog in 10 minutes before he leaves for work”, so knew that an animal lover would find him.
Said greyhound, now reunited with him at the “Rainbow Bridge”, dragged me over to that nondescript paper bag, and asked me to take care of the kitten. Giselle, our first greyhound, talked to me a lot. She became his mommy, and they were inseparable. Willow, his “big sister”, also now with him again at the Bridge, was less amused at the newcomer, but then promptly went into supervision mode, watching me very closely as I cleaned him up in the bathroom sink before taking him to our veterinarian.
Blackcomb became despondent and depressed when in July 2009 we had to make a rushed move for work and health reasons to North Carolina, just a week after Giselle died.
We found his “big little brother”, Whistler the greyhound, at an adoption service in North Carolina. Blackcomb was thrilled, and taught him the ropes of how to get extra treats, like more “cookies” and “fishies”, by begging together with a cat after the nighttime walk.
I and my wife went through a half-decade of job losses, corporatocracy screw-overs, evictions, foreclosures, medical crises, business failures, and more. I don’t think we could have done it without our little guy, the most driven-by-love cat I’ve ever met, Blackcomb.
That day back in 1999, I called up Lisa, already at work, to ask, “What do you want to do about the kitten?” Right after “What kitten?”, she rushed home and we made the obvious decision: Take care of the kitten, forever.
His spirit is always with us. His earthly remains are now at rest on a lovely “chacra”, a Uruguayan farm, owned by another expat couple, our good friends Susan and Doug, who graciously let us bury him there, next to one of their beloved pets, their dog Karma. It wasn’t practical to return him to rest in the pre-arranged plot next to Giselle and Willow up in the Colorado Rockies, so that plot, in a combined pet-and-human cemetery, is going to pet-loving friends who live nearby, for when they have a time of need.
All my cats in my life have been wonderful. Starting from my first, sisters Amber (little “Ber-ber” and Crystal “Cris-kitty”) and later Pumpkin the longhaired orange street cat my first wife and I adopted into the family up in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Then the 13 kittens they had, each of them for which we found a home. (Vet said “Oh, he’s too young to need castration yet.” Uh-huh!) Willow, the cat we got, after a decade of me being too heartbroken to risk having a pet again, when my daughter Kara talked me and Lisa in to going to a shelter, “just to look.” (Uh-huh!).
But no other cat I’ve had, no cat I’ve met, has ever been so motivated purely by love. Hours in my or Lisa’s lap. The “knock-knock tell Blackcomb I love you” game, where he’d stand on the sofa arm, reach out, and tap on the shoulder whomever was at the computer desk next to it, not paying him enough attention. Being the armchair library lion or the cuddle up to your head on the back of the chair cat, and just staying there. Deciding way back in Brookline that it was his “job” to tuck people in at night, by getting on top of them, and buzzing for 5 minutes, before then “going out on patrol”. Checking out the way to the bathroom, every single time somebody in the middle of the night went to it. Including at every hotel and motel along the way.
Damn I miss this little guy so much.
Goodbye little Blackie. See you again someday, in some way.