Wednesday, July 06, 2016
As many of you know, Sebastian and Hero's big, long-haired black cat was inspired by my own inimitable Huckleberry.
Huckleberry came to us as a tiny kitten just months after we moved to the States. Big, beautiful, smart, vain, and highly intolerant of most other cats, he was never demonstrative (you were allowed to hold him--only like a baby--for perhaps two minutes, then he'd had enough). But he was always, always, intensely affectionate, and he pined miserably whenever I left him, even for a few days. He followed me around the house all day, sleeping in the To Be Filed basket under my desk or in the special box I kept just for him under the coffee table near where I sit to write my books in longhand. He went with me up to the lake on my weeklong writing retreats--an excursion he always loved because he got to be an only cat. At night he slept on a dolls' bunkbed at the foot of my bed--Huck on the top bunk, Thomasina (his foster mom, adopted as a two-year-old rescue at the same time) on the bottom.
I love all my cats, but Huck was my special baby. He was at my side (meowing) through all the heartache and horror of Katrina and its aftermath. He comforted me when my mother died and when my girls spread their wings and flew. Three years ago I almost lost him to a flare of what we discovered was chronic toxoplasmosis (most cats are able to wall it off; Huck couldn't, and I learned it had killed his mother at age 8). I knew it would only be a matter of time before it flared again. I strongly suspect his grief over Thomasina's death six weeks ago sent his immune system into a tailspin that left him vulnerable.
Yesterday, I had to thank my darling for all the joy and love, laughter and sweet, sweet memories he brought into my life, and said goodbye. He has left a giant hole in my heart and in my life, and I am frankly devastated.