The Grouchy Gamer

Yeah, I'm cranky. That's kinda the point...

Thank You, Panama

February of 1995.  My wife at the time was expecting our daughter.  We had just moved into our new apartment and we wanted to warm the place up.  We went out and found ourselves a little kitten for our new home.  He was little tiny and orange.  I remember him being active that brought him to our attention.  We brought him home and named him Panama.

A young Panama circa 1999

When he was little he was a terror.  He’d hide behind things and jump out at us.  He’d tear around the house and chomp on our ankles. All I remember from those days was what a terror he was and how he used to drive my ex crazy.  We bought a house and moved in Panama and eventually added more cats.  As the elder statesman of the house, he always had to bear the indignity of kitten attacks when a new one was brought into the house.  My ex had a thing for acquiring animals but was never that big on keeping them.  A couple of dogs came and went.  Eventually we split (you already figured that out).  By now, Panama was an adult.  He wasn’t quite the typical cat.  He would always want to be in the same room as me.

She moved out of state and didn’t want to take the animals with her.  So there I was with a house and some animals and that’s when Panama and I really bonded.  He would come sit at my feet, follow me around the house, and he adopted the habit that a lot of cats have of liking to sit or sleep in boxes and box tops.

When I met my wife and decided to move to Texas, I packed up a UHaul and Panama and I drove from Colorado to Austin Texas.  When we got here, there was a period of adjustment with him and Tarkheena’s cat, Shadow.  Before too long though, we would catch them curled up together sleeping.  Or they would be playing together, chasing each other around the house.

Panama also always would come when he was called.  He knew some commands like; “Lay down” and “Don’t Bite” when we were playing a little rough.  Panama always wanted to be in whatever room we were in, and once he got to know Tark, pretty much wanted to be in her lap.  This wasn’t a small thing as he was a Maine Coon, and in his prime he was often between 16 and 18 pounds.  He was long as well, and could stand on his hind legs and put his paws on the kitchen counter.

It's Panama

Panama in his prime

I know everyone thinks their pet is special.  I’ve had a lot of pets in my day and this cat was by far different than any other. He was great with the kids, even when my youngest son would run up on him, or flop down on top of him, he wouldn’t bite or scratch.

Like most animals, as he got older he got a little thinner.  He lost a little of his mass and we couldn’t get it back on him no matter what we did.

In February, we got really concerned.  On a trip to the vet we found out he had hyperthyroidism.  In cats this is treatable but expensive.  We were ready to forgo our planned vacation and get him his treatment.  In the run up to the thyroid treatment, he started showing some unrelated symptoms.  We took him back to the vet and found out that it looked like our little friend had a brain tumor.  He was declining fast.

On Thursday February 25th, we had to let him go and we had the vet put him down.  It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life.

My younger kids cried when we told them, and Tark and I both spent several days with tears in our eyes.  One of the reasons I haven’t written much for the last few months and even took so long to post this is that it was just too painful for me to share my feelings.  I know it sounds crazy but he was that important to me.  He and I went through a lot together, and he was always there, a faithful and loving friend to just hang out with.

For 15 years Panama was a wonderful pet and a great companion.  He was special, and there will never be another one like him.  Pictures don’t do him justice.  He was elegant and handsome as a cat can be.

So I am writing this to say; Thank You, Panama.  Thanks for the wonderful and unconditional love and companionship you gave me and everyone who came in contact with you.  Thanks for adjusting to new cats, new houses, and new places.  Thanks for sitting next to me in a UHaul for 2 days and never freaking out.  Thanks for being a lap cat, and coming when we called you.

Panama's last days

Just a week before we lost him.

You were the pet of a lifetime and we’ll never forget you.

PANAMA

12/1/1994 – 2/25/2010

7 Comments

  1. Well written. Sounds like a great friend. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Sounds like an awesome cat, sorry for your loss.

  3. So sorry. I hope your writing this helps with the sorrow I know you still feel. I lost Rocky cat for similar reasons a few days before New Years. Reading your note brought back my many good memories of him. Hopefully the poem of the Rainbow Bridge is true.

    thanks
    Waldy

  4. I’m very sorry for your loss. I cried when I read this. I hope time heals that place in your heart that will always be reserved for him.

  5. Sorry to hear about your lost.

  6. dj ernie pearl

    July 23, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    So sorry for your loss. I can totally relate to the pain in your heart. I too lost a very special female cat who was 11yrs(human yrs) when I lost her. I remember my house being so alone and quiet when she passed away. Looking at her empty food dish and having to get used to not hearing her meows and grunts was really devastating. 6 months later I decided it was time to start over and give some of my love to another cat who would really be spoiled like no other. This time I got myself two kittens,both sisters. I named one Diva. She was a delicate gray and white short-hair cat and the other one was a black cat I named Boo who became the butch Alpha-Cat. I have now had them for 3 yrs and I’m totally in love with their personalitys.

  7. Sorry for the untimely and rapid circumstances you had to face. We are now a family of 4 cats, the oldest being 6 and the youngest less than a year. All have come to us unexpectedly and in need. We love them and soon they are part of the family and we wonder how we got along without them ;)

    I know at some point we will experience similar circumstances to what you described. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. Sounds like he was a wonderful companion. And I’m sure he knew he was loved. Many seem to think cats are these distant creatures with little affection or emotion and as I’m sure you well know, that’s far from the truth. They each have their own personalities which cover the whole emotional spectrum one would expect from an intelligent creature…you just need to pay a bit more attention to see and feel it as opposed to say a dog, but it’s there :)

    Glad to find a fellow animal/cat lover/gamer out there!

    I’m new to your blog but I look forward to reading your thoughts on current issues and topics of interest :)

    Warm Regards & Happy Holiday’s to you and your family,

    Stu

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