Pooder is a cat. He's my cat. When I returned from Europe, I was cat-less. My family had lost my Symphony, a wonderful silver tabby I'd had for 6 years. So after a few months without a car, I answered an ad from someone who could meet me at the shopping center close to home. She had only managed to catch one of the two kittens she had and brought him. I could see right away that he was part Siamese, but she insisted, "No, his mama is a tiger stripe!" Well, I stopped arguing, but I can tell Daddy was Siamese. Poodie has big blue eyes and tan colored points, but those points were striped with the stripes he got from his mama. Back then, he was named Amadeus and would blanch out any picture I took of him. It was 1995, I didn't have a digital camera. All I'd get was a white blob with two eyes. He was 9 weeks old when I brought him home in a bag.
He didn't live up to his lofty name. He just wasn't dignified enough at the time. He was clumsy, knocking my knick knacks off their shelves. And sometimes, it wasn't clumsiness. Sometimes he just bapped them off with a paw. (Later, when I lived with my dad and my sisters would visit and sleep on my bedroom floor, those knick knacks were very likely to whack them on the head!) So, Amadeus had to go. I called him several variations of "kitty poo" before I ended up at "Pooder" and it seemed to fit.
A year later, Poodie (a derivation of Pooder. There are many: Poodie Pie, Pooderhead, Pooderboggins) and I moved to the DC area. He got lost that first week when my roommate's friend left a door open. Fortunately, I found him in the tall grass beside the house. Poodie had a flea allergy and food allergy and ended up with a spot on his tummy that just wouldn't heal even though he had no more fleas (thanks to Advantage) and was on Science Diet (a food Symphony had eaten when she had food allergies). The vet said that when a cat has food allergies, they are likely allergic to chicken and most food, even Science Diet, has chicken. So Poodie went to Iam's Lamb and Rice and he healed up nicely.
The next year, we moved to a different part, though still in the DC area. We roomed with my friend Phil. And Phil spoiled him like mayonaise left in the sun. Poodie had him wrapped about his paw in days. Phil had this black canvas chair that Poodie loved to sit in. Then no human could sit in it again. What do you get when a mostly whitish cat lays in a black chair? White fur. Tons of it. He liked to chaise a mouse on a string as you ran around a corner.
Three years after that, I realized that Poodie was lonely in my apartment. I'd moved to an apartment of my own after Phil graduated law school. I'd be gone from 6:30 in the morning for work to nearly 11 at night due to church functions. He needed a buddy. So I adopted Rigby, a 4-month old, 9 lb Maine Coon mix. Poodie used to play before Rigby, but Rigby just usurped all play and Poodie let him do it. They got along great though, and sometimes they'd have these great Chase-and-Wrestle games. Two beefy boy cats running through the house and then tusselling in a rolling ball of fur. But it was never a fight. Just play.
We moved back to Missouri after a year and lived in an apartment for three more. It was just the three of us and a younger sister of mine (I have 4). Eventually, I bought a house and so could get more cats. I adopted Zmrzlina from my sister. She had survived a severe anemia at 7 weeks, so she got a middle name of Raphaelle, which means "healed by God." She was a tiny thing. My sister brought Lina's (short for Zmrzlina) 2 siblings who were twice as big at 11 weeks. Poodie would love on those babies, holding them down so he could groom them, or snuggling with them while they slept. He'd tussel around with Lina. She was the size of a 7-week-old and he was 15 pounds. They'd be rolling round and round, and she wouldn't make a peep. If he was hurting her, she would have. He wasn't. He was playing gently even though he was wrestling.
Sometimes Rigby would terrorize Lina. He never did like the younger kittens. He'd chase her and on several occasions, Poodie got up and chased him as if to tell him to stop. Later, when Rigby turned on Thumbellina (another kitten I got the next year) and really, maliciously tried to kill her, he know of at least one occasion when Poodie got into it to stop him.
He was a good big brother to Elora Danan and her litter, too. They were born in the basement, soon after I got Thumbellina. I couldn't resist Thumbellina. She had long hair and extra toes. I didn't stand a chance. Elora was born in the basement to a mamacat I fostered for a friend. She had 4 brothers and sisters, and eventually, they all had to come upstairs so they could socialize and not become feral. So there were 9 cats upstairs, 6 of them kittens. Poodie would groom them and snuggle and play with them, too.
Eventually, four of those kittens got adopted and Rigby got adopted out when he wouldn't give up trying to kill Belle (short for Thumbellina). Elora Danan stayed and grew to a BIG Maine Coon mix. We started fostering for a local shelter last year and I must say, Poodie isn't so much a big brother then. He was pushing 14 years old and just not that active anymore. But he still snuggled by the babies after he got over his hissing. He still groomed them now and then. And once in awhile, he'd even be spied playing with them.
Well, Poodie will be 15 in June. If he makes it. I think he will, but he's not well now. He went to the vet earlier this week and they found his belly full of fluid. He went to a specialist today, who found possible cancer on his liver and one of his kidneys. They can't biospy because of all that fluid. We can't afford surgery. I hate to say that, but it's just not doable. We're going to give him more steriods so maybe he can feel better. Maybe that fluid will go away and a biospy can be done. Either way, we'll just make sure he doesn't suffer. We'll make him feel good until it's time to go.
This post is in honor of my companion, my baby, for nearly 15 years. He grew into dignity a few years back, and is definitely worthy of Amadeus, but he's just the best Poodie there ever was. I'm sad and I don't want to lose him. I wish I had a money tree in the back yard, or a rich uncle who left his fortune to me. I wish I had a million bucks and I'd do everything I could to get him another year, another month.
He's not really suffering now, so I do think he'll make it to his 15th birthday on June 16. I hope he'll make it long after that, but I think I need to start preparing my heart for the day I have to say goodbye. Please keep him in your prayers. He's a very good cat.