Tribute to Thumper
Thumper came to us one evening in April, 2006. We had lost our beloved dog in October the previous fall and I was still missing her. I went outside after dinner to take a walk and “be with her”. When I got outside I noticed a pair of barn swallows building a nest above our garage door. I stopped to watch them when out of the junipers hops a three-legged black cat. Our household had two other all black cats at the time. My mom used to say that our home had an invisible sign that said, “Homeless Black Cats Welcome Here”. This one was not only missing his right front leg (actually had a stump of a leg there) but was dirty, dehydrated, and emaciated. But he immediately began to talk and rubbed against me over and over. Instead of taking a walk, I brought him into our garage as the temperature was dropping and by the time the sun went down, it was snowing outside. I watched as he jumped on our car and cruised all around the garage. This cat may be 3-legged but he was agile! (We were later to tell friends that he had no idea he was “special”.) Mostly he was so excited to be with us that night, and was so incredibly loving. The next day I posted some “found cat” posters in the neighborhood and called the humane society to let them know he had shown up. I didn’t specify his special feature, ensuring that if someone called to claim him they would have to know about his missing leg. No one called. Since we already had two other (black) cats (Shadow and Nessie) we reached out to several friends to see if they would like to take him. Fortunately for us, no one did.
As Thumper began to benefit from a regular diet and new found family love, he blossomed. His coat became so shiny, and his personality took over the house. He became what we called our cat-dog. He came when he was called, he followed us around, he greeted us when we came home from work, and he talked… loudly. Especially when it was time for a meal. That boy always loved mealtime. He also loved hugs. He would find the lap as soon as it was available, even if it was on the toilet. In fact, there were many years I do not remember being on the toilet without Thumper on my lap. He loved having your undivided attention! I couldn’t sit on my recliner without Thumper in my lap within minutes, usually seconds. He loved to sleep between our legs on the raised portion, and would stay there as long as we did. If we were standing, especially in the kitchen, he would come up and put his front paw on my leg so that I would pick him up, throw him over my right shoulder and scratch and pat his rump. He purred so hard he would drool. I loved to breathe in my Thumper, sticking my nose into his soft fur, and taking him all in.
Thumper was the most respectful of cats, particularly when it came to sleeping. He loved to sleep with us, and was always against one of us at night. In the morning, when it was time to get up for other cats, Thumper would wait until we were ready to get up before he started to ask for breakfast. If we would stir, he would come up towards our heads to purr and greet us. If we turned over to go back to sleep, he would respectfully settle back down. Sometimes he would put his front paw out to very gently touch our face. Thumper had many pet names that he was known by; Thump, Thumpah, Thumper or Thumpah Doo, Thumper or Thumpah Doodly-Do, Mr. Purr, Mr. Thum-Purr, Thumper-Drool, Lumpy (reserved for and used by our youngest son), Cool eyes, and Jazz Eyes (when he was happy his eyes would half close as he lovingly looked at us.) He liked to go outside sometimes to roll. He especially loved the deck off the master bathroom as it was enclosed and he felt safe. He used to go out there every day, rain or shine. As he got older, he didn’t go out in the cold and wind as much.
One day he ran into the garage and right out under the big garage door. It was before we upgraded our garage doors, and the door didn’t have the ability to notice anything was there, and shut right on him. He yowled and I hit the door to go back up. It was a very traumatic event for Thumper and caused a trip to the emergency vet. They took x-rays and did a full exam, and the whole time Thumperwas purring and loving. Fortunately there was no damage. We did talk to them about his stump of a right leg. They said that he may have been born that way, or had an accident that amputated the leg, but that if it had been done by a vet the stump would not have been left. We sure loved that stump. In the fall of 2014 Mike retired from his firmware engineering career and spent a lot more time at home. When he was in his chair, Thumper was on the recliner between his legs. Every night when I would call home on my way home from work, I would hear Thumper in the background (often sounding like the foreground) realizing that it was time for dinner! We would laugh as to what would happen when I retired in April and my phone call wouldn’t tell him it was dinnertime! As it turned out, 2 weeks before I retired, Thumper came down with ascitis, or fluid in the abdomen. Over the course of the next few days we learned that he had a large mass in his belly, that was probably cancer. He spent his last days in the front bedroom window looking out at the bunnies, birds, and spring flowers. Every morning, as sick as he was, until the day he died he still woke us up scratching at the bathroom door he was confined in so that I would come in and pick him up and pet him while I sat on the toilet and he purred and rubbed just like old times.
We set Thumper to rest accompanied with the kind hands of Dr. Sharlee on Sunday, March 29, 2015. We buried him in our back field next to a beautiful evergreen tree with the ashes of his (and our) dear kitty pal Nessie, a favorite toy mouse, and a jingle ball. We honored their grave with beautiful lily, crocus, and ranuncula plants. Thumper, you could not be more missed You were a friend, a confidante, and the sweetest, happiest, purriest, lovingest kitty companion we could ever ask for. Thank you for choosing our junipers to hide in that night, 9 years ago. Our lives were touched and have never been, nor ever will be, the same.
Rest in peace my friend. We love you.