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On July 2 of 2011 I was outside working in my garden and I heard mewling. I traced the sound into the old abandoned kennel (the original kennel my dad had built in the 50's) and in the gutter was a tiny damp ginger kitten. I didn't know any better so I picked him up to see if he was hurt and he wasn't so I put him back and left him for his mother.

I checked a few hours later and he was still there, although he was much quieter (now I know he was probably much WEAKER) so I went back to my business.

My ex husband got home from work and I told him about it and he informed me that the feral mother probably would not take him back since I handled him and that since I left him there all day he might not be alive. I was SO upset that I might have killed that little kitten. We brought him in and he was very weak and hardly moving. I called my mom (since she was used to handling newborn puppies). She told me to give him a few drops of brandy with an eye dropper, warm him up, and get him some formula. Ex husband rushed off to the pet store to get in before they closed while I did the rest.

I was *NOT* a cat liker and I didnt' expect him to s urvive the night so I told my ex husband that IF he lived, we could keep him. He was so tiny and so weak. Sure enough ever two hours we fed, helped him eliminate his bladder/bowels and kept him warm..... We took turns taking him to work with us (thank goodness for understanding employers) with his box/heating pad/blankets/formula/bottles, and elimination rags......

That was 12 years ago (in a few days) and Li'il Antony (named for Little Antony Rusanno from the movie Oscar) thrived. He was always my ex husbands cat. I had affection for him and he tolerated me, but he lived for my ex husband. Our special time was on Friday nights, my husband always closed the store on Friday Nights and Antony would pace until he came home. I started making that 'crab' night. It was the only human food he ever enjoyed. I'd pick up two or three blue crabs, spread newspaper on the kitchen table, and set a chair right next to mine. He'd sit on the chair and eat crab off the edge of the table. A bite for me and a bite for him... he always matched me bite for bite. When it was all done he'd lay on the floor with his belly distended and burp the night away. When Ryan came home he'd crawl into bed next to him and zonk out.

A few months ago Antony was diagnosed with CKD and started to fail. Despite trying numerous foods/ sub q fluids/ various meds he failed to thrive and last night my ex husband made the decision to send him to the bridge. The vet gave him pain killers and pumped Antony full of fluids one last time to get him comfortably through a final night with his best friend so they could say goodbye.

This morning he took his final trip and is across the bridge. RIP Li'il Antony, I hope your journey was fast and you're comfortable and happy now.

A final pic of Antony that Ryan snapped last night. The pain meds did their job, Ryan says he hasn't been that active in months.

Antony by KrisMowBook, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
He certainly changed my mind about cats.

My ex husband just posted an 'obituary' on facebook and it reminded me of a few good laughs and fun times we all shared.

How when he was a tiny kitten we showed him how to cover his poos in the litter box and praised him with crab treats when he did it himself. How proud we were when he learned that. ALso how cute he was when he was so tiny and we had to put a brick outside the litterbox so he could get over the side.

The time we lost him when he was SO tiny and we freaked out completely. We even called in reinforcements to help us hunt for him. We knew if he got out the other feral cats would kill him.... he was laying on the kitchen floor the whole time but our ugly old linoleum was the same color as he was... he was competely hidden in the pattern.

A bit on the morbid and horrible side.... I always thought at the time that cats were meant for mousing and if he wanted to stay he needed to help bring down the mouse population in our house (which on a grain farm was ABUNDANT). I caught a few mice in humane traps and we would put them in the bathtub (they couldn't escape up the sides) and put Boo (his nickname) in there when he was a kitten to teach him to hunt. Then we would add places for the mouse to hide. (yes, not something I'd ever think of doing now)... He became an AMAZING mouser and kept the house completely clean. Especially when he learned that I would exchange a dead mouse carcass for some canned crab meat. He would meet me at the door after work and proudly drop his kill (usually flattened out from him laying on it all day) at my feet and meow for his reward.

When Ryan stepped on him by accident and broke all the metatarsals in his little foot. Thankfully our vet was also a family friend and were able to get it set at 10:30 at night. That earned him the nickname 'bump' because of his cast bumping around the house. His foot never did heal straight and the foot turned in for the rest of his life(and pained him when it was cold). This also turned him into a boozer. I gave him brandy at night to help him sleep through the pain and before long he was begging for his warm milk with blackberry brandy. To the day he moved out if I opened a bottle of brandy he was RIGHT there begging.

The time we went on the cruise and hired a pet sitter.... when we got back she said that the first day he chased her up onto the kitchen table and circled like a shark until she talked him down. According to her he did that EVERY day for the first week (I guess until he learned petsitter=food).

The time the mail lady left a note in our mailbox saying she could no longer leave packages in our sun porch due to our vicious pet. We had to call the post office and ask what they meant because the dogs were crated d uring the day when we were gone. She said that it was actually the cat. He would wait on the top of the window (it had a wide ledge) and when would bend over to put the package down he'd jump on her head, maul her, and run through the cat door into the main house.

HOw we got our Malamute puppy who at 8 weeks was more than twice his weight but he set limits RIGHT away. I walked out of the room for 2 seconds and heard her crying (distressed crying). I came back to find little Luna in the corner with Boo sitting and staring at her. Each she she tried to pass him he would lleeeaaannn towards her and she'd back back up. We were so worried she'd chase him with her huge prey drive but instead he taught her an INCREDIBLE respect (read fear) for cats (unless they were feral, then they were fare game for her to chase out of the yard).

HOw upset I was after the divorce that I'd lose Boo. I KNEW he'd be happier with Ryan, he adored him so much. I knew Ryan would always take care of him and he knew that if something happened and he couldn't keep him I would always have my door open for him... I missed a lot at first.
 

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What a nice story. He had 12 amazing years, thanks to you. You gave him love, life and dignity ...what more could anyone ask for.
I hope the pain of missing him lessens. Such a pretty cat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for the condolences! It's so hard to think that he was a 12 year old cat... even when I'd go up to visit him after the divorce, it never occured to me how old he was getting.
 

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I am so sorry about Little Antony. Sounds like you guys loved him a lot and he knew it. Thank you for sharing so much of his anecdotes, like teaching him to be a mouser, he got crabmeat instead of mouse. That kitty had a good palate! Hang in there.
 

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So sorry to hear about the loss of Li'l Anthony. One minute I'm crying reading your story, and then laughing out loud at the thought of him chasing your pet sitter on the table, OMG! And the poor mail lady!

This is how I got through it when my springer spaniel died. I didn't get out of my bed for a week, and then I started talking with my husband about all the goofy things he did, and it helped me to talk about them.

Your little guy was such a character. RIP Li'l Anthony.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I imagine him crossing the bridge and snapping orders like a drill sergeant. "Bring me crab" "This grass is too high, it tickles my belly!" "Get off that log, I want to lay there!" "From now on 12pm - 3:45 is nap time, reverent silence shall be enforced during those hours!"
LOL.
 

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What a darling expression on his face in that photo - not in pain, with his favorite person, and maybe ready to go? And what a wonderful story - I will always think of those soulful eyes when I open a can of crabmeat now. Crab and brandy, amazing. Rest in Peace, beautiful ginger boy Antony....

Fran
 

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I'm so sorry. :( What a character he was - and to think that he started out barely hanging on to life until you were able to rescue him! The story about him blending into the linoleum made me laugh out loud, as did the one about the petsitter. I hope those happy memories will help to ease the pain a bit.
 

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Hugs to you and L'il Antony's cat dad! What a sweet story of love and tenderness. I loved the part about him blending in with the ugly floor! LOL....sniff, sniff.
 
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