|Birth: ||Aug. 8, 1992|
|Death: ||Sep. 8, 2008|
"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!" ~ Theophile Gautier, French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, art critic and literary critic
November 13, 1999 I came back home to Louisiana after living in Pennsylvania, back home to my parents' old place in Keithville. I came alone with our five cats - Cuddles, Dani, Spook, Lucky, and Tigger. Craig had stayed behind to finalize his employment transfer and once he arrived on December 30th, we decided that we would purchase the old homestead, which was over-run with feral cats in the 5 months the place had been up for sale. Mama had built a home out on Cross Lake in Shreveport that past June.
There was a lean, mean-looking dominant male cat here that we dubbed Sylvester - Sylvester due to his black and white coat. He had large green eyes that looked straight into your soul. A portion of his left ear had been torn off in one of many, many cat fights. The good thing about this was, he was one less cat to ear-tip. The ear was the correct ear that is snipped off for identification of an altered feral cat being maintained by a caregiver - IF I could ever trap the old boy. He craftily evaded my carefully set trap month after month after month. We were trapping cats left and right, but not him. Craig didn't like him much - said with his big jowls and scruffy look he thought the cat would just as soon tear into him as look at him.
Finally ... finally the evening arrived when I heard the trap snap and there sat our Sylvester, nearly 9 months after I'd arrived in Louisiana. My heart nearly broke. He was the most frightened little cat I'd ever trapped before or since.
It was August 8, 2000. We were absolutely floored to discover that this mean old tom cat was truly an old cat - for a feral. Dr Steve figured him to be about 5 - 7 years old, probably closer to 7. He only weighed 5 pounds. We gave him the birth date of August 8th, the day of his trapping and neutering.
I brought him home from the vet the following day and released him into our backyard. He tore to the edge of the back yard fence line not to be seen again until December 2000.
We knew he had a luxurious plumed tail, but thought he was a short-haired cat. When he arrived at our feeding station one winter afternoon later that same year, I wasn't sure at first if the cat staring back at me from across the patio was Syllie or not. This cat was as thin as Syl had been when we trapped/neutered him, but had much longer hair. The only way to tell was to approach him for a closer look (and he was so skittish!), but hunger over-ruled his fear of me. Sure enough, it was Syl. I saw that ragged ear and knew immediately that this poor, starved cat was him.
By the time the first anniversary of his neutering (his eighth birthday) had arrived, his coat was long, thick, and beautiful, but terribly matted. Craig had fallen in love with him. Syl was beginning to let me stroke his head, but I couldn't pick him up. I was, however, able to scritch his head as I treated his scruff area with flea prevention.
By November 2001, he had become my shadow. He followed me around like a little puppy dog. He blossomed into 17 pounds of pure catness, the perfect weight for a stockily built little Persian mix. I could pick him up and tote him all around the yard with no fear of being bitten or scratched. And how he loved to be brushed! His coat was silky and so very, very soft.
Through the years he enjoyed our yard and rarely left it. He refused to become a house cat. He would come in for a few hours at a time, but once his visit was over, he clamored and yowled loudly and heatedly to be let out once more.
One of his favorite things to do was hide in my iris beds and as I walked by, would jump out and scare the bejesus out of me. On occasion, I could sneak upon him, but that wasn't too often.
Spring 2007 he and Gracie (another patio feral baby of ours) began to hang out at our next-door neighbor's house. After Craig had became so ill March 2007, we tore down my parents' old house. To those two sweet little cats, nothing was familiar and home to them any longer. They were too scared to venture back onto our property. The landscape was different, the new house was different, and nothing we attempted to do would bring them back.
So we would purchase flea treatment, food, and treats for them while the neighbor, Dorothy, would feed them. Most mornings they would be perched on her back deck watching us as we drank our coffee on our patio. We'd wave and talk with them, but they seldom came any closer than 6 feet of our fence. I could still pet and stroke them if I went over there; just not over here where that strange new house was.
Late summer 2008 we noticed that Gracie would be there alone morning after morning. Labor Day morning, I walked over for a chat with Dorothy, mainly to ask where Syllie was. She said that he'd disappeared for several weeks, but was now somewhere around the front of her house, though he wasn't eating much. I told her that he had to be ill and went to look for him. Sure enough, as I approached her front door, he ambled toward me from under her car. I was absolutely horrified. He was skin and bones. When I picked him up, he was feather-weight in my arms. He had a horrible wound on his back - some insect had stung him and caused a bad infection. I immediately took him home. I medicated his wound and tried over and over to get him to eat on his own. He barely would lick his food but did drink water often.
The next morning we rushed him to the vet. He was diagnosed with liver disease. We started the slew of meds and sub-ques, ever hopeful that we could help pull him out of this awful disease. He perked up for only two days and slowly his health began to decline. We faithfully kept force-feeding him, administering his sub-ques, and plying him with his medications. On the fifth night, a Saturday, we noticed that he was beginning to have trouble walking and pulling himself up from a sitting or laying position.
We knew we would soon have to set him free from this life that's so cruel to feral cats. We tried to comfort ourselves by telling him that we gave him ten more years than he would have had, but that thought brought no comfort at all to Craig and me. Our hearts were torn into a million pieces. Sylvester and sweet Teresa (the matriarch of our feral colony) were our reasons for incorporating into a Louisiana non-profit cat sanctuary.
He took his meds that last night and let me poke a bit of food down his throat. His gums and tongue were pink, but he had difficulty in swallowing. I held him in my arms most of the night. He finally wanted down and slept the rest of the night at my feet while I dozed in the recliner. At 6am I gave him his antibiotics and noticed that his little gums were snow-white and sticky to the touch.
Again we raced to our Shreveport vet, knowing it was time to release him. Dr Steve said that the illness had reached his nervous system and had attacked his brain. There was no hope; in fact, he was sure that Syl no longer was aware of anything around him or knew us. We held him as our beloved vet, the only vet our Syllie ever knew, administered the two shots and our precious little boy left for the Bridge. At the time of his loss, his approximate age was 17 years and one month - due to the birth date Dr Steve had given him.
We buried him in the back yard pet cemetery, the yard that he loved to frolic in, chase bugs and butterflies, sneak-attack birds and squirrels (those wee creatures that were never within his grasp, no matter how hard he tried), and make those crazy mad dashes after haints that only he could see. There aren't many days that go by that I don't think of him, especially when I'm working in the yard. He is deeply, deeply loved and missed. ❤
To Those I Love
If I should ever leave you whom I love
To go along the Silent Way,
Nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk
of me as if I were beside you there.
(I'd come - I'd come, could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song or
see a bird I loved,
please do not let the thought of me be sad ...
For I am loving you just as I always have ...
You were so good to me!
There are so many things I wanted still to do -
so many things to say to you ...
Remember that I did not fear -
It was just leaving you that was so hard to face ...
We cannot see Beyond ...
But this I know:
I loved you so -
'twas heaven here with you!
Isla Paschal Richardson, Author
FancyBoy Stallings Dog (1973 - 1983)
JoJo Stallings Dog (1967 - 1983)*
Kaitong Chang Stallings Bachman Cat (1984 - 1998)*
Cuddles Stallings Bachman Cat (1984 - 2000)*
Danielle Stallings Bachman Cat (1985 - 2005)*
Spook Stallings Bachman Cat (1987 - 2000)*
Missy Hedge Cat (1991 - 2003)*
Samson Bachman Cat (1992 - 2002)*
Sylvester Bachman Cat (1992 - 2008)
Lucky Jax Stallings Bachman Cat (1994 - 2005)*
Autumn Bachman Stallings Cat (1994 - 2009)*
Goblin Bachman Cat (1995 - 2009)*
JacquiLee Bachman Cat (1995 - 2002)*
Tigger Bachman Cat (1997 - 2005)*
Midnight Bachman Cat (1998 - 2009)*
Penny Bachman Dog (1999 - 2011)*
RedBoy Bachman Cat (1999 - 2000)*
Susie The Cat (2000 - 2002)*
Princess Bachman Dog (2000 - 2008)*
Smut Bachman Cat (2000 - 2001)*
Breeze Bachman Cat (2000 - 2011)*
Spic Bachman Cat (2000 - 2012)*
Puglena Bachman Dog (2001 - 2014)*
Rebel Bachman Cat (2004 - 2004)*
Skeeter Bachman Cat (2004 - 2004)*
Cheerio Bachman Cat (2005 - 2014)*
Sputnik Bachman Cat (2006 - 2015)*
Li'l Craigster The Squirrel (2013 - 2013)*
Specifically: Buried in our back yard pet cemetery.
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Jul 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93716475