Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bye William







Yesterday morning, William was very listless, had no appetite, and had no energy to do anything. I took him to the vet, and sadly discovered he was in heart failure.

I think I've had William for 16 years. When he joined me at the warehouse I was living in, I called him Willie. He was Willie for several years, and then gradually, we started calling hiim William. I guess he grew up.

I wasn't ever going to get a cat because I had cat allergies. I read somewhere (I'm sure now this was completely unsubstantiated) that certain kinds of cats have low dander and can help someone overcome allergies. Meanwhile, my pal Candy, a scientific authority if anyone was, told me that if I ate bee pollen and washed my cat once each month, I could easily overcome a cat allergy. Armed with this sage advice, I answered an ad for an Oriental shorthair kitten somewhere out in Scarborough. I stocked up on bee pollen and aquired the kitten.

Willie howled for two solid days. He was not impressed with me or the place I lived. By the time he settled down, I realized I was not breaking out and experiencing my usual symptoms. Willie turned out to be way too smart to be a cat. I would play a game with him, and as soon as he figured out the game, he would howl, and I would have to invent a new game. After about a year, I decided to get him a feline companion because I just couldn't invent games fast enough. That's when Delia came on the scene. Meanwhile, Willie was not impressed with being washed every month and that strategy lasted all of one attempt. I stopped eating bee pollen after a couple months, and my allergy was pretty much gone (and it stayed gone too). Candy should get the Nobel Prize for her work on eradicating allergies.

Back when I lived in the warehouse, there would occasionally be film crews on-site filming some show or movie. We had a love/hate relationship with them. They always acted like they owned the world, with a fine balance between rudeness and arrogance. On the other hand, sometimes they needed a studio to film in and paid extremely well on those occasions for the use of space. Some people in the building named them film scum. One day, I was in my studio, reading or painting, when a crew set up in the hallway outside my door. William would have been less than a year old at the time. When they were ready to shoot, some guy shouted, "Quiiiiietttttt....Readyyyyyy....Roll-em." Willie immediately ran up to the door and howled in his loudest other-worldly howl. Then silence. "What the hell was that?" "I never heard anything like it." Then...."Quiiiiietttttt....Readyyyyyy....Roll-em.". Willie, who had by that point settled back down on my lap, ran over to the door again and let out another loud and long howl. This happened three times in a row. Then I heard a sound at the door. Instead of knocking on the door to see if I was home, somebody thought they could buy off Willie by sliding slices of lunch meat under my door. This was amusing me to no end so I quietly watched. So did Willie, at this point once again settled on my lap. They eventually built sound barriers and shifted their shoot down the hall.

At that time, Willie had the ability to jump up to the top of a door. Occasionally, I would see him balancing on top of a door like it was the most normal thing in the world for a cat to do.

I think Willie became William when Tuffy P and I got married and moved to the first Anchovy World Headquarters, on Blackthorn Ave in Toronto. By that time, I had Willie and Delia, and I also had my father's cat Spud, as he couldn't care for Spud anymore. Tuffy P. had Twiggy and William was not going to play nice. He had been an indoor cat all this time, and we decided to give him an opportunity to go outside. We heard or read somewhere that this strategy was sometimes successful if cats don't get along. I'm sure this was completely unsubstantiated. The first time he went outside, he encountered a big old neighbourhood tom we called Red. Red was maybe the toughest old grizzled tom in the hood. William started to walk in slow motion as if doing that would make him invisible to Red. Red ambled in front of William's path and waited. Williams slowmotion turned to a full stop as he changed direction. Wherever he went, Red would show up in front of him. It turned out Red was OK with William, and going outside did help him get along with Twig.

William put me to sleep most nights. It was as if it was his job. I would settle down in bed, and he would jump up on my chest and start purring. This usually put me to sleep in minutes, after which, he would hop off my chest and settle in somewhere else on the bed. The only time he didn't do this was during the period in which I stayed with my father, more-or-less looking after him. At that time, William stuck to my dad like glue. During that time, he liked to curl up and sleep beside my dad.

Over the past year, William became much less robust, and more delicate. He lost some weight, and he avoided rough-housing with the other cats. Maybe that was the onset of his heart problems? We just figured he was getting old.

William was a good cat-buddy. He was with us a long time, and I'll miss the little guy.

20 comments:

East Texas Red said...

Very sorry to hear this..William was beautiful

Captain Karen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about William. It's never easy to lose a family member. He sounds like he was quite the character and will be greatly missed by you and Tuffy.

L.M. said...

So very sorry.

Wandering Coyote said...

I am so sad to read this Mr. A. Your post was a wonderful tribute to William and I know he had a great life with you and Tuffy.

Timmer said...

A long life he had.

sp said...

What a wonderful life William had with you. I'm so sorry for you that he's gone. It is always so sad to hear such news, but he clearly lived a long and full life with all the love he could have every wanted.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful stories of his life.

KW said...

My sincere condolences.

Candy Minx said...

Well, even though I just phoned you I will add here that he was a great cat. He was such a character.


He was also responsible for turning you into a cat person and he deserves special honors for that! He has given you so many fun cat stories and cat adventures. Give a big scratch and cuddle to his room mates for me.


We will all miss him.

Big hugs and very sad and sorry.

Love Candy and Stagg

Tiff said...

Very sorry to hear that Willie's reign has come to an end. I know he was a lovely and supportive friend who will be missed.

Hawkeye, bits, and myself send our love to you and the others closest to him.

Thank you for the wonderful memories.

Tiff

mister anchovy said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am so sorry! It is always so hard to lose an animal friend and my heart aches for you.

William sounds like he was a truly unique character. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories.

RIP, William.

nursemyra said...

what a wonderful eulogy for a cat.

(my burmese has a strange howl that makes me people say WTF was THAT??? I wonder if it's similar to William's)

zydeco fish said...

What a touching post. William was clearly a fabulous cat. Sorry to hear the sad news. Now, I am wondering is that cat allergy treatment would work on me. I've got a mouse or two...

A said...

Oh dear. I know they have to go sometime, but I wish they could stick around just a little longer. Did he get that fabulous scalloped ear fighting?

Gardenia said...

William was my favorite because he was so beautiful - and now, because he was such a character. Thanks for sharing him at his last time. I howled with laughter reading about his howling escapade with the film people - - - what an animal this boy was!

He's gone on to the "Heavy-side layer." What a marvelous animal - I'm sorry that he's gone.

Gardenia said...

I'm posting for William tonight - check it out..

mister anchovy said...

Gardenia, thanks for the post!
A, William had the scalloped ear when we got him...I guess that's why he was the last in the litter to find a home.

Red said...

So sorry to hear about William passing, Mr A.

Sixteen years is a long time, and I'm sure it can't have been easy to say goodbye.

* (asterisk) said...

I'd just like to add my words of condolence to you and Tuffy P. It's always hard to lose a pet, and just from this great post I can sense the love there. I was laughing out loud at the film-crew story. Man... cats are crazy!

Sorry for your loss, Mr A.

penlan said...

So sorry for your loss of William. He will live in your heart forever. Thankyou for the wonderful story of William!