The Sunshine Home
at This Old Cat
In Memory of Riddler
My name is Mac, I am a 41 year old Australian with a wife and son. I have had cats all my life. When I was a teenager I met an Abyssinian cat belonging to my dad's uncle. I was so amazed by his look and character that I could never forget him. So, many years later I met the love of my life (now my wife - Ewa). She wasn't really a cat person, but she had never met an Abyssinian cat. So I surprised her with one on her birthday. When she saw his beautiful little face pop up out of the box he was in, her face melted into a pile of tears of joy! I can only compare her happiness on that day to the moment when we kissed on our wedding day. She took the cat as a symbol of my long term commitment to her.
Anyway that was to explain how important the cat became to us. Ares (from the Greek god of war) was his name (pictures at left). He endlessly surprised and bewildered us with his love, affection, beauty, and crazy antics. You probably know all the kind of things I am going to say, but I'll just share a few examples anyway. He would attack all dogs in his territory, large and small. Our neighbour came to us one day saying our cat was in her house. We said "Oh no, you have a large german shepherd, is our cat OK?" The neighbour said the dog was s*#t scared of our little cat. We found Ares in her house relaxing on the couch while the dog was on the floor cringing. He would also regularly climb onto another neighbour's roof and meow until I climbed up their drain pipe, put him on my shoulder, climbed back down, then we would both race each other home. He was friends with most of the other cats in the area and would chair social gatherings atop the table in the back yard while several other cats would watch on.
We took him away on holidays, to family celebrations and much more. He would sleep in between us, because he felt he was the centre of our lives. He got angry if we left him for too long, and would constantly pester us for attention. I think his favourite place in the whole world was perching himself on my wife's shoulders while she went about her daily activities.
My son was born when Ares was 5. Slowly they also became the best of friends too. We were one happy family!
Three years ago Ares got sick and the vet found kidney and bladder issues which we were able to treat with a special diet. They said he wasn't drinking enough water and had crystals in his bladder. He started getting a bit fat and we thought he was just a bit greedy and lazy, no big problem. After a while he would demand many drinks from our sinks and bathtub, we were happy he was drinking a lot. Then in the last six months he started to lose all that weight. We thought he was doing great, until we noticed his bones a little too much. One day he wouldn’t eat, looked weak, and his breathing was labored. I was worried and took him to the vet. He was in a bad way, got some more special food and vitamin shots and took him home. He didn't sleep on our bed, he didn't sleep at all, neither did I. He ate nothing the next day and had no strength to climb into his litter box to pee, and did it on the floor. We knew we were in trouble. The next morning I told my wife he had to go to the vet. She burst into hysterical fits of tears, so did I and my son, because we knew what that meant.
June 30 2015, the vet took away his pain, we hugged and reassured him it was OK because we couldn't bear to see him suffer one more minute. Our mighty, never say die, bold, beautiful, picture of strength and honor, reduced to a pitiful, helpless, shell of his former self. That broke all of our hearts, it was like losing a human family member to us.
He left a mark that will never be erased on our hearts. I still shed tears sometimes in amongst the endless happy memories. I'm sure you and others must share this feeling. The Abyssinian breed, the athletic body, the "work of art" colouring, the intelligence and affection will never fade in my heart. Seeing your story and video took me right back there and I was overcome with happiness and grief at the same time. I saw Riddler doing just what Ares had done to me for so many years and it broke me and warmed me like it probably does to you. Thank you for sharing that little piece of happiness with me and the world.
It has been close to a year since we lost our best little pal. We have avoided getting another cat out of honor to him. My family has convinced me we have mourned enough, and that a new cat is not a cheap replacement, but an opportunity to give and receive unconditional love. We have decided to get a Bengal kitten because another Abyssinian would have unfair pressures placed upon he or she. We are making a scrapbook of Ares, he has a grave with catnip planted above him, a headstone and garden gnomes and stuff to watch over him.
Long live Ares, long live Riddler and all others who shared this special bond with a special breed.
Mac and family