Tag Archives: Death

A Day of Double Remembrance

The day after Valentine’s day is not a good day for memories. In February of 1999, I was informed that my father, who had been receiving treatment for colon cancer on and off for the previous three and a half years, was not doing well. I was on a plane to Chicago a couple of days later.

I arrived on a Friday and my dad seemed okay then but he was worse on Saturday. Valintine’s day was the next day and I thought about getting him a Valentine’s Day card for him to give to my mom. I didn’t have a car so the thought never turned into action but I regret not making the effort.

When I spoke to my sister that day I thought about telling her to cancel her tickets for next month and get on a plane tomorrow. I thought about it but didn’t do it because I had no idea how long my father had left on this Earth. I regret that too because by Monday he was gone.

Recently my mother brought some old photos to me and I would like to share some of my father, Charles Huss Sr.

Here he is back in the 60s. I’m not sure when this was taken but it is possibly before I was born.

Here he is with my mom in 1973.

Here is our family on Dad’s parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary on New Years Day, 1986.

Here he is in 1994 at my parent’s second home on Pine Island, near Fort Meyer’s, Florida. I helped him plant that tree a few years earlier after he fished a couple of coconuts out of the water.

Finally, here he is in June of 1997 with my mom at my cousin’s wedding.

In 2018, also on the day after Valentine’s day, we lost our sweet boy Puck. You can read my post about it here. My father just turned 59 and Puck had not reached six years old. Both died way too young.

Puck came to us as a kitten after abbey died in 2012. Chris took to him right away and seemed to act like a father figure to him.

Chris greets Puck on his first day as he comes out from under the bed for food.

When Puck was young he would hang out with my wife while she was getting ready for work. Sometimes he would chase a Qtip and then bring them back to her so she could throw it again.

Puck and Chris became close buddies.

Our cats Chris and Puck napping together.

They also played together but they were never mean to each other.

Eventually, Puck started having health issues and was at the vet a lot. He liked to hide behind me while we waited for the vet.

This is one of the last photos of a happy Puck taken on February 11, 2018, the day we finished construction of their new catio. Sadly, Puck did not have much time to enjoy it.

Thank you for indulging me while I share my memories. Despite the untimely endings, these are good memories.


What Would We Do Without Chris?

One night, shortly after Puck died, Chris was lying on my chest and rubbing his face against mine. My wife saw this and said, “I don’t know what you will do when Chris is gone.” She then said that she thought Chris would be the next to go. I assume she said that because of all the weight Chris has gained recently but he still remains pretty healthy as far as I can see.

What got me thinking was the possibility that love could be quantified. Could a person love two individuals but love one of those individuals more than the other? Or is love an absolute like pregnancy? Can a parent love one child more than the other? As a parent of only one child, I can’t answer that but the truth is, I will miss Chris more than Puck.

I feel bad saying that and it makes me seem like a horrible person but I can’t deny it. In my defense, I will say that missing someone is possibly not directly related to loving them. What we miss in a person, or animal, are the good feelings that they gave us when they were around.

With Chris, I would miss the funny ways he would figure out how to open a cabinet or drawer before climbing inside. I would also miss the amazement of him getting on top of things that seem impossible for a cat to reach. These are things I miss already since his weight gain has slowed him down. I think what I would miss most is Chris’s affection. Chris is the most affectionate being I have ever met. This affection, I think, is Chris’s way of showing us that he loves us back very much and I think this has a way of reaching down and touching the soul.

His affection is what drew me to him in the first place. The first time I saw him he jumped on my shoulders and licked and bit my ear and nose while I was trying to clean the cages at Petsmart. The next time he was on my shoulders again at the shelter. I sent the following bad photo to my wife asking if we could keep him.


When Rose met him he showed her equal affection.

Bad Cat Chris at adoption center with Rose.

Chris at adoption center with Rose.

It wasn’t an act to get out of the shelter. Once he arrived at our home the affection didn’t stop.

Chris getting comfortable with Rose on his first day home.

Chris loves everyone and is not afraid to show it. He will go from lying on my lap to lying on my wife’s lap and then to lying up against one of our other cats. I have seen and heard about him jumping on the shoulders of complete strangers. I still laugh when I hear the story of a plumber under our sink who had to deal with a cat on top of him while he was trying to work.

Historically, none of our cats have been very affectionate with other cats. The exception to that would be Tigger. He sometimes would be seen cuddling with Abbey or her brother Alex.

Abbey and Tigger in Abbey's cat bed.

Abbey and Tigger in Abbey’s cat bed.

Tigger and Alex

After Chris came on the scene, he became an annoying third wheel.

Abbey, Chris and Tigger in Abbey's cat bed.

Abbeys bed could sometimes get over crowed.

Abbey annoyed with Chris.

Alex (on top) with Abbey, Tigger and Chris

While Tigger sometimes cuddled, it is almost mandatory with Chris. I do occasionally see Chris sleeping alone but he usually seeks out someone to lie with. He is like the glue that holds our family of cats together, going from one cat to the other as if trying to create a universal scent.

Of course, nobody is perfect and Chris will get into fights just like every other cat. Chris can also be jealous. Whenever Frankie is on my lap, Chris has to be on my lap. I’m not sure if Chris is jealous of me paying attention to Frankie or Frankie paying attention to me.

Yes, we do miss Puck very much and yes, we will probably miss Chris even more when the time comes but whether that has to do with the amount of love we have for each of them is unknown to me. What do you think? Are there any parents out there who can admit to loving one child more than another? Liking a child more is not the same. My wife will sometimes tell me she loves me but doesn’t like me very much right now.

Memories of Abbey and Tigger

I want to start by wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year. I hope you all have a great 2014.

About five years ago Rose and I were at a benefit for a local shelter called The Suncoast Animal League (Where I later volunteered briefly). They had cat beds for sale and since it was for a good cause we bought one that looked a little like Abbey. She took to it right away and it became her bed, even though other cats would sometimes lie in it.

Abbey and Tigger in Abbey's cat bed.

Abbey and Tigger in Abbey’s cat bed.

Abbey, Chris and Tigger in Abbey's cat bed.

Abbey’s bed could sometimes get over crowed.

Tigger had his own bed too but he was not as attached to it as Abbey was.

Chris and Tigger in thier cat beds

After we lost Abbey, her bed remained behind.

Today we put away all our Christmas decorations. I don’t know how but it seemed like we had less room than we did when I took the decorations out so I needed to make room. That is when I noticed Abbey and Tigger’s beds on the shelf. Since we moved, Chris and Puck don’t use them anymore so they ended up in the closet. Rose said I should throw them out, so I put them in a garbage bag and, as I closed the bag, the little cat face seemed to look back at me. I felt bad putting it in the trash, but I knew there was no room to store it for sentimental reasons.

“They say you die twice, one time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” This quote is attributed to Bransky and It makes me feel like my memory of Abbey and Tigger keeps them alive and nothing else is needed.



Goodby Homer

A few years ago I read the book Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. It is about an amazing blind cat that saved the author from an intruder and survived the attacks on the World Trade Center.

This book, in part, inspired this blog. I read the book around the same time that we adopted Chris and I realized that books about special cats, like Homer’s Odyssey and Dewey, had great appeal to cat-loving readers. I thought about writing a book about Chris because I was certain his antics were just as interesting but getting published seemed impossible at the time.

I eventually decided to write this blog instead and last moth I published Bad Cat Chris as an eBook. I probably would not have done either if I had not read Homer’s Odyssey.

I bring this up for a reason. This morning I noticed a link to a Facebook page called Homer Blind WonderCat. I Thought to myself, “Wow, is Homer still alive?” I clicked on the link and saw a post from five minutes before thanking everyone for their support and sympathy. I scrolled down and four hours earlier was a post saying that Homer had to be put to sleep.

There is a link on the Facebook post to Gwen Cooper’s blog where she writes a very sad and touching goodby. I hope she takes comfort in knowing that adopting a cat that nobody wanted was an incredibly good deed that ultimately enriched the life of one cat and countless people, myself included.

Goodbye Tigger – Rest in Peace

I am very saddened to say that Tigger is no longer with us. He was a good, loving cat who died too young. He will be missed.

I woke up Saturday morning around 4 a.m., as usual, because Chris was bothering me. I think I managed to get him to stop a couple of times, just long enough for me to go back to sleep before he would start biting my nose again or treading on my neck. I finally dragged myself out of bed a little before 5 a.m.

I didn’t turn the light on because Rose was still sleeping so I walked downstairs in the dark. When I reached the bottom of the stairs and turned the corner I stepped in something wet. I turned the kitchen light on and saw there were two or three small spots of poop on the floor. I thought Chris had a problem with runny poop again and it all didn’t come out in the box.

I cleaned my foot, cleaned the poop off the carpet and then made coffee. While it was brewing, I went into the bathroom to clean the box and noticed several more spots of poop next to the litter box and in front of the bathroom. It was looking like a real problem so I decided to check the rest of the first floor. There were several spots in the living room but under the stairs and behind the television, where the other litter box is, was the biggest problem.

There were several more spots of poop but there was three large areas of vomit. I spent quite awhile cleaning the mess quietly, and while I did that, I saw Tigger climb into the litter box and vomit again. I suspected it was Tigger but I knew for sure then.

When I heard Rose was awake I brought up coffee and noticed more poop in our bedroom. That started a cleaning frenzy that lasted almost four hours. Rose notice vomit on the bed downstairs and washed the comforter, only to have him puke on it again as soon as it was replaced.

She made an appointment at the vet for 11:00 but wouldn’t let me come with her. She suspected Tigger would not be coming back and thought I couldn’t handle it. I knew she was wrong and I insisted that I come with her but she said she wouldn’t go if I went. Eventually I just gave up and let her go. She was right, he did not come back.

Tigger has been somewhat unhealthy for a while. When he was young we had to rush him to the emergency clinic late at night because he was having trouble breathing. It turned out that he had eaten too fast and had a clump of food stuck in his esophagus.  They took x-rays during their diagnostics and noticed, in addition to his current problem, that half of his heart was enlarged.

A couple of years ago he developed a problem with his gums and had a problem eating. The vet said it is something that cats sometimes get and did not have a real solution to the problem except to give him steroids or antibiotics, either treatment was only a temporary fix. He said that removing all his teeth might stop the problem from coming back but he couldn’t guarantee that, so every couple of months the problem would come back and we had to get more antibiotics. We picked up the last prescription last Saturday and had not finished giving it to him yet.

He also seemed more Grumpy lately. I wrote in a recent post how he had been attacking Chris lately, which was not his character. We thought Abbey’s death had affected him, since they were close, but it could have been that he was just not feeling well.

Now it is just Chris and Puck, and Rose does not want to get any more pets because it is too hard to lose them. I totally understand.  We have lost too many pets during the last three years.

In memory of Tigger I have created (on Flickr) a set of photos here. I also created one for Abbey here.

Tigger and brother Flash

Tigger and brother Flash

Tigger and Alex

Tigger and Alex

Tigger and Abbey

Tigger and Abbey

Tigger playing Monopoly

Tigger playing Monopoly

Tigger in Flowers

Tigger in Flowers

Young Chris and Tigger

Young Chris and Tigger

Tigger, Chris and Abbey

Tigger, Chris and Puck

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Chris’s three-year reign of terror has ended. Okay, maybe that statement is a bit exaggerated but there has been a turning point in the Bad Cat Chris household.

Previously, Chris was able to dominate the other cats without fear of reprisal. He would often, out of the blue, pounce on Tigger or Abbey, pin them down and bite them on the neck. After a few minutes, he would then cozy up along side one of them like nothing had happened. Now that Abbey is gone and our new Kitten Puck is here, it is not so easy for him anymore. Puck fights back!

The two of them spend much of the evening going at it. Chris will attack Puck and Puck will counter with his own attack. I often see Chris as the submissive one during some of their many battles. It makes me think of Karma and the saying, “What goes around, comes around.”

Although it is no longer surprising, it is still amazing that at over three and a half years old, Chris still has the energy and personality of a kitten. The two of them seem like a perfect match for each other.

Now they are a great match, but I know that a year from now, puck will have matured and Chris will still be Chris.

Tigger, Chris and Puck

On another note, I just learned that Alex died. If you read the post, The Great Upheaval, you would know that Alex had to be left behind when we moved back to Florida from Myrtle Beach. He stayed with a friend that we knew would take good care of him, and he did.

Alex was the brother of Abbey, who died two months ago (story here). Both were great cats and only eight years old. They will be missed.

Alex (on top) with Abbey, Tigger and Chris