A different cat named Gus died

Reader Robert Dally had a tabby named Gus (same name as White Earless Gus in Winnipeg) who just passed away. The saddened Robert sent in an obituary and remembrance, and I post it here, along with pictures of the late moggie. The story about the iPad announcing Gus’s dinner is clever and adorable.

I’m a dedicated, long-time reader of your website, but I’ve never written in before — tho you did post a picture of my girlfriend’s one-eyed cat, Olive, back during your black cat series.  I’m writing now to talk about the loss of my best friend, Gus, back on Wednesday afternoon.  Gus was only eleven when he passed in my arms from causes unknown.  It only took him a week to go from his normal glory down to having nothing left in him, and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever watched.  I have no doubt it will take significant time for me give up the habit of jangling my keys as I approach my building to notify him of my arrival, and I still expect him to jump up into his favorite window (the only one big enough to allow him to stretch out completely) and yell at me to hurry up.

As you’ll immediately see in the attached pictures, he was a big man.  He was extremely food-focused and struggled with his weight most of his life.  He had been on a diet the last five years, getting all the way down to about 19 lbs., and he hated every moment of it.  Breakfast was served promptly at 8:00 AM and dinner at 8:30 PM, and mealtime was announced with the iPhone ringtone “By the Seaside”, picked because no reasonable human being would ever choose such a song as his or her ringtone.  The idea was to convince Gus it was not I who was in charge of mealtime, but rather the iPad, so as breakfast approached, he would harass the iPad instead of me.  It worked.  For up to half an hour before the alarm would go off, he would sit calmly on the screen, waiting patiently for his signal.
Despite his love of eating, the normal cat-favorite table scraps weren’t really his thing.  While Olive aggressively tries to take chunks of meat off our plates, Gus would wait patiently for his favorite treats: tomato sauces and various seeds and nuts, whether whole or in butter form.  His favorite was sunflower seeds.  Toward the end, we discovered he enjoyed whole (shelled, obviously) peanuts as well, and he and the local squirrels that we feed would practically beg for them in unison.
The vet assures me that his condition was, as far as they can tell, unrelated to his weight, but honestly, even if it certainly was, I am glad I left him with a little bit of the joy of eating.
He was one of the most gentle and accepting cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around, welcoming strange cats into the house with effortlessness, accepting Olive’s attempts at dominance with indifference (he was twice her size and barely noticed), and showing no interest in hunting or killing anything.  The closest he came was the time he carefully patted one of the visiting squirrels on the butt as she was distractedly shelling a walnut.  When a squirrel ended up in our apartment several months ago, he calmly watched the ensuing fiasco from the sidelines. This photo shows how little the squirrels feared his imposing presence, and how open he was to having them hang around unmolested.
I miss him a lot, and just hope I brought as much joy to him as he did to me.  Our home will always feel a little empty without him.  I’ve attached a couple pictures of him so that maybe you (and your readers, if you want) can bask in his prime glory as well.  I can’t wait for this week’s Caturday Trifecta, because I’m sure it’ll help to reminded of all the wonderful cats that still exist, as will heading to the cat shelter to try and make all the homeless cats experience even a tiny bit of the joy and contentment that Gus brought me every day.

RIP Gus

23 Comments

  1. darrelle
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Robert,

    I am very sorry to hear that you’ve lost Gus. Given what you wrote about him I’ve no doubts that he was a wonderful companion, or that you were in turn a good companion to him.

    Take Care,
    Darrell

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    It is a very tough thing to go through. You never get over it completely but time will help as it always does. We have lost one after 17 years and have two more around 6 years old now. Cats are forever.

  3. Sastra
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Gus sounds like a wonderful cat. You were both privileged to have known each other.

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I think even the squirrels will miss the dear substantial foodie Mr. Gus

  5. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely obituary. Gus sounds like a really special cat, and the pics prove it! Thanks for sharing him with us.

  6. Glenda
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to read about your wonderful cat Gus dying. It is always so hard to take. Keep
    remembering you gave him eleven great cat years. The relationship you shared was once in a lifetime and you will have such precious memories.

  7. Marlene Zuk
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    How sad to lose such a wonderful cat, and with, as my husband would say, plenty of miles left on him. And what a wonderful description; I feel like I knew Gus myself.

  8. Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to read of the loss of your Gus, Robert. That was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful cat. May you take comfort in good memories.

  9. Laurance
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss of your dear friend Gus. Cats make the best of friends, and they leave such a huge hole in our lives when they move on.

  10. Posted August 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Gus was very fortunate to have found such doing staff. Here’s wishing similar fortune for some future cat(s). Charlie (Darwin) the cat sends his condolences.

  11. claudia baker
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Feeling your pain. Gus was beautiful and, from the sounds of it, had a great personality. So sad for you.

  12. BJ
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    That was a very sweet obituary. One never completely moves on after losing a beloved cat. Sometimes I still think I hear the patter of cats passed on my steps all these years later (all my cats past and present had distinct patter that I still remember).

    Best of luck and much joy to you, Olive, and whatever other cats join your family in the future.

  13. BARB
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    A fine tribute to your Beloved Gus. I am teary after reading this.

  14. Mark R.
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Jerry is gracious to always honor the loss of beloved pets. Thanks Robert for sharing this tribute, and thanks Jerry for conscientiously posting the sorrow and reality of such losses; I believe it helps the bereaved.

  15. Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for your loss, Robert.

    Earlier this year, our old girl finally gave up the ghost after 19 years, and I still at odd times catch myself looking for her lithe black shape amid the undergrowth in the garden.

    What’s mitigated the squeezing on my heart strings are the feral and stray cats who have now taken over the yard.

  16. Diane G.
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    What a touching, lovingly written eulogy, Robert. Sounds like Gus was a delightful character, and he was obviously very lucky to have had such caring staff. My thoughts are with you and yours (including Olive).

  17. David Coxill
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your cat Gus ,the hold cats and other pets can have on their staff is one of the only good things about us Humans .

    Take this scruffy moggie as an example ,had him in the 80s ,and it broke my heart when he died .

  18. Andrea Kenner
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Robert, I am very sorry for your loss.

  19. Greg Mills
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I hold it true, whate’er befall;
    I feel it when I sorrow most;
    ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
    Than never to have loved at all.

    Tennyson

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Late seeing this but just wanted to add my voice to the condolences at the loss of your friend.

  21. Posted August 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Condolences on your losing a good friend.

  22. therfd
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you everyone for your really kind words. It always helps to talk about it, read it back to oneself, and be reminded that others are equally acquainted with these feelings, even if it simultaneously saddens me that it has it be that way.

    As a member of a family that has always had a multitude of animals in the house — especially cats — I’m not new to the inevitable feelings of loss, but this one has hit me especially hard. It probably has to do with some combination of my perception of his unconditional affection as rather rare and the fact that he is the first animal to whom I have been primary caregiver from soon after birth, through to his death. And it doesn’t help that his sheer size has left a gaping physical hole in our home; I’ll certainly be reminded of him every time I drowsily awake and roll over unhindered by a twenty-pound sandbag draped across my legs. Should I ever wake in a state of sleep paralysis, it will be neither a succubus or an extraterrestrial prober that I see, but rather a Ghost Gus on my chest, restricting my movement, as he would most mornings around 3:30 AM, purr box fully engaged. Olive has started laying claim to his now abandoned favorite sleep spots, and half their space remains vacant. Perhaps half a dozen kittens would help her more successfully occupy the territory?

    Speaking of kittens, I wanted to mention a few things for anyone else in the Denver area. When Gus first started exhibiting symptoms, our usual vet didn’t have any same-day openings, so they pointed us toward Tender Touch Animal Hospital. I’m glad they did. Everything about the experience was as good as it possibly could be, and I couldn’t possibly recommend them more highly should you find yourself in need of a vet.

    Additionally, should you find yourself in need of an actual kitten, Tender Touch currently has a full litter of solid black kittens looking for homes. Apparently, they always find it difficult to adopt out black animals, and these little guys have proved no different. There was a single gray individual in the litter that immediately found a home, yet no one has even expressed interest in his equally adorable siblings. It is unfortunately too soon to claim one for myself, but I feel spreading the word about them is the least I can do for all the fuzzy assistance they provided during our multiple waiting room occupations.

    Thanks again everyone!

  23. Ginger
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Robert,

    I am so very sorry to hear about your kitteh Gus. Your obituary was very moving ; I feel as though I knew Gus.
    He sounds like a wonderful kitteh. Having recently lost my kitteh Timmy, I empathize with you most sincerely.


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