The kids lost their beloved cat, Whitefoot, a few weeks ago. He seemed sick one day and we took him in to the vet right before the kids and I left for Nebraska. While we were down there, Daryl got the unfortunate news that he had both feline leukemia and a virus that affects the immune system. They tried antibiotics but it was no good and he began to get worse. Daryl and I talked on the phone and we went with the vet’s advice to have him put to sleep. Daryl brought him home and buried him behind our garage, where we have buried all of our pets and (ironically) the poor unfortunate birds that Whitefoot killed when he’d escape from the house.
We decided not to tell the kids until they were home, so their week in Nebraska wouldn’t be overshadowed by sadness. The kids asked about him a few times during the week but I would change the subject and they didn’t catch on.
When they found out, the house was filled with sobs. He was a really wonderful cat and a special member of the family.
The kids knew Whitefoot for his entire life. He was born in my den, right under my computer desk. A notoriously irresponsible family in town developed the obnoxious habit of dropping off their unwanted cats in our garage, since they knew we were tenderhearted and would take them in or find homes for them.
They dropped off Whitefoot’s mother when she was pregnant. She had her kittens in front of the children, something none of us had ever witnessed before. It was incredible. Then she moved them to a secret location, abandoned them, and came home. The kids were devastated. I was a bit, too, to be honest.
We called to have her fixed and were told we’d have to wait a few weeks for her womb to be ready. She got pregnant again about 45 seconds later.
This time, I vowed I wasn’t going to let her do that to her babies again. When she got close to term, I moved her into my den. Since she fought bitterly with all of our nice, spayed, indoor cats, we couldn’t let her roam free in the house. It was cramped quarters in here for a while. 🙂
She had her kittens during our town’s “Fun Days” in June of 2006. There were 2 black ones, 1 black and white one, 1 gray one, and two orange ones. The grey one developed an infection from a spider bite, went blind and eventually died when she was still itty-bitty. We found homes for the 3 blackish ones.
The two orange ones were still here. They were inseparable. They cuddled, groomed each other, played and generally doted on each other. One had white feet and one didn’t, so Daryl called them Whitefoot and Notfoot, despite the kids’ repeatedly trying to name them cute, cat-like names.
Whitefoot was originally named Annie, because we thought he was a girl and he had curly red hair. 🙂
We have always had inside cats but we let the orange brothers in and out. One day, Leo (Notfoot) disappeared. We never knew what happened to him and the kids wonder to this day. We all felt terrible for Whitefoot, since he loved his brother so much.
Whitefoot was unofficially Jack’s cat and we finally realized we were not going to find him a home. He was ours.
He followed us everywhere when we went outside. If we went for a walk, he trotted along after us.
He was always in the middle of whatever the kids were doing.
He adored us, especially the kids. Especially Jack.
We finally had to make him into an indoor cat because this spring when the birds arrived, Whitefoot decided that he was rather fond of hunting them. He was incredibly good at it. We put a bell on him but it was useless. So he became an inside cat. And he was okay with that, as long as someone loved on him and he could occasionally attack your foot to make up for it.
The other kids are pretty much over the loss, but Jack is still grieving. He wants another cat or a dog, but Daryl has said that 3 cats is just all we can take (in addition to 4 kids and a small house). Anna has offered to share “her” cat with him but it’s just not the same. He misses Whitefoot.
Truth be told, so do I.
We downloaded pictures from Jack’s camera the other day and half of the pictures were of Whitefoot. That cat was very patient with my boy! Here’s a few of his favorites.
He is sorely missed.