Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In Memoriam: Mulder the Orange Cat

Mulder in his favorite chair in our DeKalb apartment
Today is a very sad day for our family.  Our dear, sweet kitty Mulder died in his sleep last night.  We are all very saddened by this news, but are taking some comfort in the fact that he met his final day peacefully, and that for a cat he lived a good life.  He deserved that; he was a good cat.

Mulder and his brother Scully joined Ryan and I on August 16, 1999.  (Yes we did name them after Agents Mulder and Scully on the X-Files.  It was 1999 for goodness sake!)  I adopted them from the local shelter on the anniversary of our first date.  We were already living together, and I wanted a gift that would grow with our relationship.  Plus, Ryan had had an orange cat when he was a kid that he just loved, and I thought the choice of an orange cat was especially meaningful.

Mulder was Ryan's cat from the start.  I don't think he actually liked me all that much!  But we both loved him.  He was very well behaved, and quiet.  He preferred the company of his brother, but on occasion loved to have Ryan rub his belly.  And he would purr so loud!  Mulder had a little white "superman" patch on his chest that helped us identify the little orange fur balls in their first days with us.  The patch and the unusually dark pink shade of Mulder's nose made him, in my opinion at least, one of the handsomest cats I'd ever laid eyes on.

Mulder gave us quite the scare back in 2005, when he developed a huge tumor at the site of his vaccinations.  Deep down inside I wondered if the stress of going from the most spoiled cat on earth to just a cat after Nora's birth didn't have something to do with his illness.  Despite the change in our family dynamic, we weren't going to give up on him!  We opted for surgery, and was told he would have 6 to 12 months after that.  Well, he showed those doctors!  His lifespan was doubled from that day forward.  He never quite got his kitten spunk back, but he seemed content to nap on his blanket in the hamper.

I think the sadness that is weighing the most heavily on my heart is the fact that Mulder, Scully, and our cat Kallie-Roo are currently living with my parents, since no one will rent to people with three cats, a dog, and two kids (and now a rabbit too).  I knew deep down inside that moving would be tough on his already weakened system.  How I wish there had been another way, but to keep him in a home that was falling apart and full of mold was not good for any of us.  I also feel terrible that my mother was the one to find him, and that my Mom and Dad buried him.  This is such a sad burden for them, especially since they just lost their own cat Angel within the past year.  I am sorry to have caused them with more sadness.  But I'm grateful as well.  Since this was his time to leave this life, I'm thankful that he was surrounded by so much love instead of being locked up in some shelter cage.  That was a possibility that never came to be because of my parent's generosity and willingness to care for my orphans.  My mom spoiled him more than I possibly could have, and I'm happy for that.

Nora and Emily seem to be ok with the news.  Emily's initial response was we should get a fish to replace Mulder. A slow swimming fish, so she could use her cowboy rope and lasso it.  And then she told me I had boogers in my nose and to stop crying.  Nora is taking the news a little bit harder.  She hid her head under the pillow and said she didn't want to think about it.  I think she is very sad simply because she had hoped we would someday get the cats back, and this was never in her plans.  Even at the young age of 7 we can get so caught up in our plans of the future!  Life can be cruel though, those plans never quite pan out the way we think they will.

I certainly did not think I would be writing this post today.  But here I am.  Still sad, still full of boogers and tears.  Since that doesn't help though, I'd like to end with a few words from the Buddha.  Its a mantra you can say when someone dies.  We Buddhists don't distinguish between humans and animals, between pets and pests.  They are all living beings, and they all deserve our love, respect, and heartfelt prayers.  This is a little Sanskrit for you Mulder.  May you find all the causes for happiness in your next adventure.  May blessings and teachers be bountiful in your new world.  I sincerely hope that since you passed on the most auspicious day of Chokhor Duchen, the anniversary of Lord Buddha's first turning of the Wheel, that you have decided it was time to move on to greater things.

Tadya-ta, ga-te ga-te, para ga-te
para sang ga-te, bodhi so ha.


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