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In Focus

It has been a sad week at my house as my eldest cat Candy has passed away.

I believe she was 18 years old. She had endured four moves and many new animals coming through our doors. She even escaped once and disappeared for about three weeks and was found in a friend’s garage blocks away.

She was given to me when she was a kitten by the first friend I made after moving to Minnesota. She was a pretty angry kitten at that. She didn’t care for my cat Spice or the dogs and was constantly fluffed up, hissing and growling at them for the first several weeks.

When we got her she smelled like chocolate, but she was a gray kitty with stripes and was named Candy Cane for that. She was always a bit temperamental, but always slept on top of me, even if I was on my side she’d be on my shoulder. She became the matriarch of the cats after Spice died several years ago, and she loved to remind the others of their rank in the hierarchy.

In the past week, she quickly faded. She chose to stay in the bathroom, probably because it’s the warmest room in the house, and we tried to make her as comfortable as possible.

The other cats sensed this. The days leading up to her passing, the other cats have seemed more interested in her. They would come into the bathroom and just sit there for a while. They would sometimes go up to her and sniff her and give her a quick lick before leaving the room, almost as if they were saying their goodbyes.

One night I sat on the bathroom floor with Candy wondering if she would make it to her vet appointment and just petted her. Granted, the cats always follow me around the house, but most of them were there sitting in the bathroom or in the doorway with us. Just sitting there watching. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was like their version of a wake.

So far, Bigfoot seems to cuddle with me more, Pumpkin has no idea what’s happening, Latté has always been a cuddle bug and is spending more time playing with Pumpkin, Yeti my shy tabby has been more affectionate and Mocha follows me around more. Oreo, my other elderly cat, doesn’t seem to have changed much. Maybe she knows her time may not be that far off. Her and Candy grew up together. I’ve never seen them cuddle, but they’ve been together for 17 years. I think Oreo is confused she can’t find Candy. Oreo has seen the loss of Spice, and our three dogs. I don’t know if they understand what death is to the extent we do, but I think it scares her when she can’t find those she’s so used to being around. The next few weeks will be interesting to see how they all react.

Candy may have been my most temperamental cat, but she had been there over half of my life and she will be dearly missed.


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