Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Tribute to Muscles

I recently read somewhere that the ancient Egyptians would shave their eyebrows off as a sign of mourning when their family cat died.  . . .Think me vain if you must, but I am not going to do that.  But I do have this blog, and so I figured that the very least I could do was write a post about our dear, departed friend Muscles.

To anyone reading this that is NOT a facebook friend of mine, and consequently has no idea what I am referring to, I will sum up:  We lost our beloved and adored cat, Muscles, last weekend, very suddenly.  His death was so mysterious and out of the blue that (even though I feel quite sure that this is a mortal sin) I can't help but be reminded of the end of the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, where Linda says(paraphrasing): "There are so many questions surrounding his death.  I prefer to remember the way he lived."

Muscles came to us 3 years ago.  I had been needling Michael for a new kitty for quite some time, formulating (what I thought were) concise and well thought out arguments:  Ash Ferley (our current old-timer kitty) needed a playmate.  A new kitty would help keep him young.  It would be good for Devin to have a new kitty around.  There were too many homeless kittens in the world.  WE HAD SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE!!!!  . . .But Michael stayed strong (*cough *heartless* cough*), and always replied with the same thing:  "When it is time for us to have a cat, a cat will find us."

To which I ALWAYS responded with: "Oh, you just expect a Kitten of Destiny to fall into our laps??!"

. . .have I ever mentioned how BADLY I hate it when he's right??

Because that is precisely what happened.  At this exact same time, a kitten just showed up one day at my mom's house.  Now my mother loves cats, and normally she would just keep the kitten herself, but she already had two cats and had already decided that that was her personal limit.  (Much like tattoos or piercings, no one can tell you how many cats are right for you.  I once knew a woman with 19.  Cats, not piercings.  But in all fairness, she could be a blog post all by herself.)  So mom tried to get the little kitten to go away.

But he did not want to go away.  He liked it there.

She tried to get the neighbors to take him.  She took him over there.  They were cool with it.  He was adorable.  And his belly was as soft as a bunny's.

. . . And he was always on her back porch again the next morning.

So mom decided that maybe they could use him as a barn cat on their farm.  . . . Until the day he hitched a ride to the farm underneath the truck and almost got flattened several times by the horses.  (Apparently horses are completely immune to extreme cuteness.  In my book, this would make horses untrustworthy.  And extremely suspect.  Just saying.)

The little cat was adorable, and sweet, and they could not take it, and it just would not go away.

And then one day we came over for lunch.

(It was someone's birthday. . . I forget whose. . .)

And we came home with a cat.  =)

At the very beginning, Ash Ferley didn't like sharing his space, and his FOOD BOWL, with the NEW CAT. . .

But before long they were sharing everything, and acting not just like friends, but like brothers.

He had an "M" on his forehead, so I wanted to name him Macavity (The Mystery Cat), after the poem by T.S. Eliot.  But in some sort of unspoken way, Michael and I had set up a "unanimous decision rule" at the beginning of our relationship.  And unfortunately for me, he used his veto power on Macavity.  But happily for me, the next name he suggested was Muscles.  It sounded like a huge, buff creature.  It sounded ill-suited for a cat.  It sounded like a Mob nickname.  . . . . It was PERFECT!!!!

So Muscles it was, and he fit into our family from day one.  He belonged there.  He never made messes.  He never got into trouble (QUITE unlike Ash Ferley).  He wasn't bitchy, like some cats can be.  He was always a good sport.  (Even though sometimes it looks like it is DESTROYING him.)

And he DID bring out the youthfulness in Ash.  They loved each other like brothers, and they fought each other like brothers.

But the best thing about Muscles was. . . well. . . everything.  He was so sweet.  He would even sit there and let the baby pet him (read: get smacked in the head repeatedly by pudgy, sticky fingers).  He loved to snuggle and cuddle.  And he was ALWAYS

cracking us

up.  (True story.  =)

Seriously.  This was the freaking funniest cat I've ever known.  (And I've known a lot.)

So we mourn him.

Not because he was our cat.  Because he was our family.  And because he was our friend.  We comfort ourselves with the little things.  Like remembering how he used to knock the shampoo bottles off the side of the tub every single time I took a bath. . .

Or how he used to love to get into the baby's pack n play. . .

But I guess the most comforting thing we could possibly tell ourselves is that we gave him a good life.  And we did.  I know it's true.

This sweet, goofy little cat.  Who knows how long I'll be crying over him?  He came into our life like a comet, brightening all the spots he came near, and fading away FAR, FAR too quickly.

People have asked me if he was a rescue cat.

Yes.  Yes, he was a rescue pet in every sense of the word.  Our gift to him was that we rescued him, and we loved him and gave him a home.

His gift to us was he made our hearts just a little bit bigger.

And, as people, he made us just a little bit better.

And he absolutely


rescued us right back.


  1. That is absolutely the best ode to a cat I have ever read.

  2. What a lovely tribute to Muscles. Your photos and writing allow us to know him in a small way that makes me wish I could have known him for real. We love you. Lottie

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