Whiskers Newman: In Memoriam

Our dear little Whiskers passed away on St. Patrick’s Day this year.  Here is his story.

On February 13, 2011, I was on my way to Vincennes for a 6 am shift.  Just a couple of miles from the hospital, I spotted a kitten jumping into the wheel well of a car stopped at an on-ramp.  I pulled over, and ran toward the car.  The driver had also spotted the mischievous kitten, and together we pulled him from his hiding spot.  I happened to have an empty cardboard box in the back of my vehicle, so I put the tiny kitten inside for safe keeping.  When I arrived at work, my co-workers wanted a gander at the cute little guy.  Here is the first picture of Whiskers ever taken.

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The day we met, with Mellissa and Julie.

Eric was already heading out-of-town for the day (I can only assume for bicycling purposes), and was not keen on little Mr. Whiskers going home with me.  None of my other co-workers wanted to take him, but I did persuade one, Ms. Dian, cat-lady extraordinaire, to take care of him until I got off work.  She swung by to pick him up, and I took him home after work.  I told Eric that Whiskers could be my Valentine’s Day present that year – what a great deal for him!

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Whiskers was always good traveling by car. Here he is, heading home on the day I found him.

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Eric warmed up to Whiskers the instant they met. They were good friends.

We had just lost a kitty, Buddy (AKA Lobotomy), the month before Whiskers came to join us, and I was excited for Tiger to have a new friend.  Unfortunately, Tiger was about 16 at the time, and didn’t want to play nearly as much as Whiskers did.  This picture was taken a couple of days after they met, and typifies their relationship to the end.

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Tiger just doesn’t know what to do with a kitten.

Whiskers had a runny nose from day one, and despite treatment, it didn’t go away.  We found out that he was infected with Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV).  Some cats are able to fight this off and some develop a latent, or dormant,  infection.  Whiskers fell into the latter category.  Unfortunately for him, the latent infection usually becomes active within just a few years, and infected cats have a severely shortened lifespan.  We were hoping to have about four years or so with our kitty; we had just over two.  On a side note, Tiger receives the yearly FLV vaccine, and has never acquired it.

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Whiskers was always very thoughtful.
Here he is, helping me get ready for work one morning – with his claws.

Whiskers was very curious – more so than the average cat. He constantly broke the rules, and used peer pressure to get Tiger to join him in his adventures.

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Bad kitties; at least Tiger acts like he has misbehaved.

For reference, Tiger is old, and lost all but one of his teeth years ago to a gum infection.  He has no front claws.  He lacked the weaponry needed to defend himself against the young whipper-snapper.

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A very rare instance, in which Tiger had an advantage over Whiskers.

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One of my fav’s.

Up until this point, I had only had experience with what I would consider traditional lap cats: cats who slept constantly, and seemed to have a sixth sense that enabled them to awaken and gravitate toward warm laps whenever they appeared.  Buddy and Tiger were both lap cats, something with which I was familiar and comfortable.  Whiskers was a different story.  Granted, he appreciated a warm lap almost as much as the next cat, but he had something rather silly and sometimes dog-like in him, too.

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Fond of lying upside-down, which Eric referred to as “airing it out.”

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See what I mean?

Until his girth became enough to prevent it, Whiskers used to scoot around on is back beneath the furniture, using his claws to propel himself along the underside of the couches, ottoman, beds, etc.  He would also plan elaborate, ten-point bounces off furniture, and manage to land directly on top of Tiger every time.  He had real talent.

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Who, me?

I have video of him, playing with an apple for minutes.  Here is a still shot.

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He could play with anything.

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Rubberbands, the greatest invention ever for felines.

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Also, quite fond of mice.

Whiskers was not always perfect.  He had problems with very, very bad gas, and would use this fact to get even with us.  For instance, if denied when begging for food, he would act as though he was okay with a firm “no,” and brush against my legs, purring as he went.  He would then walk out of the room, just in time for me to smell the gassy present he had left behind.  So much for discipline.

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Whiskers, King of the SBD.

Most of the time, though, he was a great cat.  He would always meet me at the back door, when I got home from work, and follow me around, bouncing from couch to chair to stool along the way.  He was a good companion, and mostly nice to his brother, Tiger.

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My favorite boys!

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The boys loved to use the computer.

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Here they are, helping me decorate for Christmas.

Later in life, Whiskers gained quite a bit of weight.  He began a strict workout regimen, which lasted until the next time he passed the food bowl.  He had to eat every time he passed it, and was one of “those” cats, who lie down to eat.

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Pumping iron.

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Hanging out.

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Hugging mom.

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What a goofball!

One of Eric’s favorite things to do with Whiskers (which he also liked), was to spin him like a top on our wooden kitchen floor.  He would spin and spin until he swung off in one direction, then he would come right back for more.  It was their special game, and our guests often enjoyed a good round of Whiskers-spinning.

Since we left on our travels, Whiskers and Tiger went to stay with their Aunt Lauren in Colorado.  Whiskers became good friends with one of her cats, Mr. Big.  They would chase each other up and down the stairs for thirty minutes at a time.  They were inseparable.

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Whiskers snuggles near his good friend, Mr. Big, at Aunt Lauren’s house.

We miss our dear kitty-man very much.  Sadly, he hurt his leg while we were on our way to say our goodbyes to him, and he had to be put to sleep before we arrived in Colorado.  Aunt Lauren took great care of him, and we got to conference call with him to say farewell, at the very end.  Eric and I miss him very much.

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Farewell, Sweet Whiskers

With much love and belly rubs,

-H

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Comments
6 Responses to “Whiskers Newman: In Memoriam”
  1. Deb K says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Mr W….. Love wrapped up in fur…… Hugs…

  2. Dave says:

    LOVED THIS POST:)!

  3. Donna Williams says:

    I loved and laughed and teared up at you Mr. Whiskers tribute.

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