A Final Feline Farewell

JUMPYSing with me the musical eulogy penned by the great Rodgers and Hammerstein for the classic musical Oklahoma (slightly modified) in honor of our recently departed family cat:

Poor ‘Jump’ is dead, poor Jump-y is dead.
All gather round his coffin now and cry.
He had a heart of gold, but he was so very old.
Oh, why did such a feline have to die?

This memorial was sung by hunky leading man Curly to his nemesis Jud Fry, the creepy farmhand competing for leading lady Laurey’s affections.

Jud was feeling unappreciated and Curly sang the inflated tribute as a cheeky hint that he’d find out how much he was esteemed if he was gone.

It’s true though.

Suddenly, I’m all sentimental and sappy over a lazy, shedding, whiny, needy furball who woke me in the night and had a tendency to miss the litter box by a few feet. But despite the literal pet peeves, Jumpy was truly a family member and a household fixture for nearly two decades.

It’s especially hard to lose Jumpy at Christmastime because it was his favorite time of year. How can you tell a cat’s favorite time of year? Well, with Jumpy it was easy. He actually moved. That otherwise lethargic, lazy bag of bones was a permanent fixture on my leather couch other than to feed or relieve himself—until the Christmas tree went up.

From the moment my hubby hauled the 12-foot, pre-lit, evergreen from the basement, Jumpy meowed and paced until he was finally allowed to assume residence under the tree.

The jungle-like foliage brought out his wild side.

He strutted around under there rubbing up against the trunk and playfully swatting at ornaments and branches. He’d stretch and circle around his domain until he found the perfect spot to curl up. If you placed a present somewhere that wasn’t fen shui for his environment, he’d make his mark on it with scratching, biting, or otherwise.

Now I can put presents anywhere I want under the tree and I can sit anywhere I want on my couch, but I’m sad about it. I didn’t think it would be so hard to say good-bye to Jumpy because we’ve said good-bye to him many times before. He’s scratched at death’s door soooo many times, that cat’s had more soppy farewells than Stephen Colbert!

I still have a half-written article I was going to publish the last time he was going toward the light. He’d suffered a stroke, again, so we made him comfortable in the barn and brought out the kids for good-byes. We reminisced, cried and hugged until he finally shut his eyes and took, what we thought, his last breath.

The kids and I went back to the house while Dad went to the garage for a shovel. We no sooner closed the door behind us, when we heard meowing behind it. We opened the door to Jumpy who spryly leapt up the step and back up to his perch on the couch. He purred and licked himself clean while I was stuck with writers block and an approaching deadline.

Well, Jumpy, thanks for the memories and the writing material. I hope you’re under the big Christmas tree in heaven.

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