I keep waiting for him to come jump on me and then I’ll grumble at him to stop kneading on me and then he’ll settle down and get hair all over me.
But that’s never going to happen again.
I’m still in shock. This morning, Chicory was having major trouble breathing, carrying over from late yesterday afternoon (when I first noticed something was wrong). I had taken him a month ago after over a year of not taking him (partly because I didn’t want to find out something was wrong with him – selfish, I know). His bloodwork came back negative and the vet didn’t seem concerned about him too much. He was coughing some (like hawking up a hairball) and was a little wheezy, so we were seeing if we could move a possible hairball through with some jelly stuff before taking x-rays. I had planned on calling Monday to set up an appointment to check him over again and start the process of taking care of his teeth and gums.
Part of me wishes I had taken the X-rays then, but I don’t think it would have made a difference. I’ll never know though.
I brought him in at 8:10. By 8:30 he was gone. My Chicory buddy was gone. Is gone.
After being worried about him for 6 months, I thought he was OK and we’d have at least a few more years together. I was wrong.
Chicory was a rescue kitty, though I think we rescued each other a little bit.
The Best Christmas Present Ever
In the fall of 2007, I was just separated and living in an apartment. I hadn’t taken Guinny, our cat, so as not to disrupt my girls’ lives too much and I didn’t want to separate her from George, the other cat. I was missing having a cat or dog, but the apartment didn’t allow pets, so I just sucked it up.
At the end of November/early December, I went to PetSmart for fish food and took a stop in the cat rescue because I didn’t have anything better to do. And there was Chicory. Now, this wasn’t love at first sight, but I did think he was a pretty awesome looking cat. He had a perfect cat’s face with a little Marilyn Monroe freckle. He had those catcher mitt paws (6 toes). And “Chicory” was a perfect name for someone from Louisiana.
Still, I patted a few of the cats and kittens through the bars and left. After all, no pets allowed.
But I kept thinking about him, so when I went to Target a few days later, I stopped back by PetSmart. Chicory was still there. So I played with him a bit through the bars, started thinking that I didn’t much care about the no pets policy. But, it was $100 or so for the adoption fee and money was a bit tight. Out I walked.
Still kept thinking about him. He was just a cool cat, with a cool presence about him. So I went back the next day and found out that he was still there and that he also had a problem with nibbling on folks when he got excited, which made folks nervous (I was to find this out too!).
Somewhere in between the 2nd and 3rd visit, I talked to my Mama and mentioned Chicory. She said she’d get him for me for Christmas. So I said if he’s still there tomorrow, I’ll bring him home.
He was. I did.
And he was the best Christmas present ever; edging ever-so-slightly my Godzilla with the shooty fist (which I still have – and, yes, I did shoot Chicory, and everyone else, a time or two). I’m not sure he’ll ever be equaled, much less exceeded.
Because I only had the girls every other week and was still mostly working from home at the time, Chicory was my constant companion. We spent that first Christmas together lying on my giant bean bag – with me being sick and him just wanting to be petted – watching Westerns. Yep, spend my first post-marriage Christmas alone with Chicory watching High Noon and The Searchers and eating pizza (I think I got him some treats).
I saved him from whatever fate awaited him and he gave me every ounce of affection he had. Having someone to keep me company and talk to now and then did help keep me sane as I regained my footing in my new reality. He made me laugh with his antics, and I’ve never known a cat with such a dog-like personality.
For the first two years I had him, he would play fetch. Literally. He liked a small ball of paper, but most objects would do. He was good for about 10 or so throws before he got bored and then hungry.
We spend the majority of our nearly 8 years together arguing over whether or not he’d get to sleep by my head. He had a loud purr that kept me awake. And lying over my head like a giant furry halo wasn’t conducive to me going to sleep. I invented the cat-a-pult when living in the apartment so that I could sleep – I’d lob him just enough to clear the foot of my bed and not hit the wall. When we moved to Ellicott City, he was smart enough to start sleeping on George (who will happily contort herself to accommodate the cats and the dog) or at the foot of the bed, where he could swat at Oscar.
He never totally gave up trying – I woke up to a face-full of fur a few days ago. He never quite got the trick of waiting until I was fully asleep before resuming cat halo. And he was tenacious, 4 or 5 cat-a-pults a night weren’t uncommon.
So he wasn’t my sleeping buddy, but he was my reading companion, my drinking friend (he loved to lick the condensation from a glass or bottle), my neck warmer when sitting in the big green chair, my greeter at the door when I got home, my TV-watching partner (with the ability to change the channel – always when the ball was about to be snapped or the punchline about to be delivered).
He was my constant companion.
I can’t believe he’s gone.
Chicory Plots Revenge
I mentioned that he had a slight nibbling problem at first. Lauren has scares to prove it. To this day, we don’t know why, but he would sometimes just get mad and bite. He was affectionate, but almost like if he got too much affection back, it would over-stimulate him and he would turn psycho for an instant. He would then run off because I think he was confused. An hour or so later, back he would come for more loving.
Unless you got a smack on him. The reaction to be nibbled at, is a pop on the nose. Chicory didn’t like that.
He would plot revenge. Serious revenge.
I remember one time particularly well. He had bitten at one of the girls and I had smacked his butt. Off he ran. Two hours later, the girls were in bed and I was walking through the living room. He was hiding BEHIND the beanbag chair and came lunging out at me – intent on revenge.
He also hid behind bathroom and bedroom doors a few times. Lurking and waiting for his opportunity.
This concerned me and I was seriously considering bringing him back when we figured out that he craved affection so much that by withholding any sort of petting for hours after he would launch an attack, it would drive him crazy. Even until a few weeks ago, he’d get a momentary gleam in his eye and put his teeth around a finger, then suddenly remember, “Shit, they ain’t gonna pet me no more” and stop.
Not quite sure how we figured that out, but damn glad we did so we had all these years with him.
Chicory had more names than any animal I’ve known – Chicory Dickory, Chicory Doo-Da, Chica Chica, Chubby Wubby, Fatso (and, no, he wasn’t fat he was just big, the vet said so years ago), chickchickchick, Chubba Wubba, Chickster, Chix . . . you get the idea.
He loved to chase a dot.
He loved to wash the windows with his paws.
If there was something on the floor, he was going to lay on it.
Especially if it was a shoe.
He loved to go outside.
Matched only by his love of wanting to come back inside 5 minutes later.
He loved to freak me out by playing tightrope on the deck railing with a 50 foot fall below
He loved Oscar (and I don’t think Oscar ever quite figured out he got bigger than Chicory)
He loved to eat.
He loved to greet everyone at the door.
He loved a lap. Anyone’s lap, but especially mine.
He loved to guard the watering hole.
He loved to hide in the cat fortress (under the table) and swat at Oscar as Oscar walked by with a toy.
He loved a snuggle with Lauren and Casey, and was always sad when they went back to their Mom’s
He loved a sunspot.
He loved even more laying in a sunspot next to Oscar
He loved to chase a leaf and was the world’s foremost leaf hunter.
But I think most of all, he loved me.
And I loved him.
Very sorry for your loss, Bryant. Never easy to lose a pet. Take joy in the time you all had with her. Thoughts out to all of you tonight and will raise a glass to you and to Chicory.
Thanks, Jesse. Going to be a little strange raising a beer later and not having him try to be licking the glass or head-butting it at the exact moment I’m taking a sip.
Bryant, I am very sorry to hear this news and sorry more for your loss. We have lost many pets, and it is never easy. You have shared some wonderful memories of Chicory, I am certain you will hang onto those forever.
Thanks, Dan. Has been a total shock as we thought he was OK and we’d have him around for another few years at least. If someone ever figures out anti-aging for pets, that person will become the wealthiest person in the world.
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That’s for sure. Even the dingbat dog we have right now has wormed her way into our hearts.
Bryant and George, I am so sorry for your loss. These little friends steal our hearts so easily. My thoughts, prayers and love to you. Chicory was so lucky to have you as his parents. Hugs.