Good-bye Felix, We Miss You

Felix the cat came to live with us in the Fall of 2000.  We had just moved into a new house and decided it was time to add a cat or two.

Felix was a rescue cat, already an adult when we picked him out, or he picked us out.  Before he came to live with us he had been a feral cat living in the parking lot of one of the IBM facilities off of Cottle Road in San Jose.  There he has been fed by people who worked at the facility.  When it was shut down in 2000, one of the women who worked there picked up Felix and brought him in to be adopted.  She is the one who gave him the name Felix, which seemed appropriate for a happy black and white cat.

At the same time my wife and I had bought a new house and had settled in enough that we thought it was time to add a cat to the mix.  And so we went to the pet adoption fair that was being held at the pet store near us.  There we met Felix, who was warm and friendly and crawled into my lap.  We were happy and the adoption people were happy, as they often have problems placing adult cats.

Once at our house, a strange new environment, he immediately hid under our bed.

Not coming out

Not coming out

We set stuff up around our bedroom for him, since he did not seem inclined to come out.  However, once WE got into bed, he decided that it was better to be in the bed than beneath it.

Let the cuddling begin!

Let the cuddling begin!

A week later we added a kitten to the mix, who we named Oscar, which also turned out to be an appropriate name, as he and Felix were an odd couple.  While Felix was quiet, friendly, and happy to meet everybody, Oscar was aloof, afraid of almost everybody, and loud.

Still, they became the best of friends.

Comfy on my clean shirts

Comfy on my clean shirts

Most of the time, anyway.  Oscar could be a bit pushy.

Not quite enough room for two

Not quite enough room for two

Life went on.  Our daughter was born.  Felix found somebody new to cuddle with while Oscar… hid under the bed.  The Felix fan club grew.  Life was good.

A cat in his pime

A cat in his prime

But time passes quickly.  Last summer, Felix started having health problems.  We never knew how old Felix was.  His early years as a feral cat were undocumented.  But we estimated that he was at least 12 and perhaps as old as 15.

His teeth were bothering him and, while at the vet for that, they found a tumor in his abdomen.    Tests said that the tumor was not malignant… maybe.  Operating did not seem likely to extend his life expectancy, so we decided to make him as comfortable as we could.

He had lost some weight and kept getting smaller and more frail.  In an effort to get him to eat my wife ended up cooking for him.  He would nibble some, but never really seemed hungry enough.

Then last weekend Felix’s health took quite a noticeable dive.  He began to seem quite frail.  He was having trouble getting around.  Food no longer interested him.  The time had come to say good-bye.

We cried a lot.

Even after the first big outpouring of grief, the tears kept sneaking up on us at unexpected moments.

They still sneak up on us now and again.  Even Oscar has been looking for his pal, walking from room to room meowing softly.

My daughter's rememberence

My daughter’s rememberence

Felix was a part of our family.  We miss him a lot.

36 thoughts on “Good-bye Felix, We Miss You

  1. Erbo

    O Bubastis, Goddess of the Nile, pray keep watch for the arrival of a little black-and-white cat named Felix, who never scratched or bit wihtout just cause, who was much loved by his people, Wilhelm and his wife and daughter, and who returned that love in full measure. Guide him forthwith to the Eternal Catnip Fields, wherein he may enjoy a well-deserved rest.

    (My own cat, Star, made that journey last year, right after I brought my new girlfriend home to live with me. After my wife left, I think she stayed around long enough to make sure I wouldn’t be alone anymore, then passed on, as her work here was done. She even spared me the decision to have to put her down, as she slipped away en route to the vet; looking out for me right to the very end. I still miss her, though, and probably will as long as I live. Even if my girlfriend and I get another cat, or two, they can never replace Star, they can only succeed her.)


  2. Mark

    Never normally post, but followed your blog for a long, long time. Your story about Felix made myself and my wife quiet teary. He lives on in your memories, in fact all our memories now.


  3. mbp

    I think it isn’t until you lose a pet that you realise how much a part of your family they become. Sorry to hear about your loss Wilhelm.


  4. Hudson

    That sucks man. I know that feeling being a cat lover myself. Sorry to hear (read) about this. I rescued my cat too and he is a rather lovable feline with a personality I know can never be replaced.


  5. UFTimmy

    I made a very similar note to that when my dad died (I was six). I wish my mother had kept it.

    I’ve often thought of this for my kids. Our dog is 8, and starting to show signs of slowing down. Our kids are 4 and 9 months, so they’ll be in bad spots when she does pass.


  6. darren

    I’m sorry John. We lost a cat last year too, which was with us since our very first apartment. Not fun losing a member of the family.


  7. coppertopper

    I’m not a cat lover, but that story just hits home for being a pet owner period. Don’t know if this helps, but animals live for the moment, they don’t worry about tomorrow. And it sounds like every moment he had since his adoption was full of love.


  8. Gallaria

    I was blessed to spend time with Felix when I visited at the beginning of the month.

    He was even more affectionate than usual (which is saying something as he was so loving and friendly to begin with); he spent a lot of time in my lap and allowed many hugs and kisses..

    He is sorely missed.

    Aloha Felix


  9. Sara Pickell

    It’s been a few years since I last had cats to lose. Still, I’ve been there for the loss of quite a few pets, and to tell the truth it never does get easier.


  10. arbitrary

    *hugs* I can’t imagine how I’d feel if either of our two even had health issues, so I sympathise intensely. It’s a lovely and fitting post, and I hope you all know how good a life you gave him!


  11. sl600rt

    Aww man you made me all teary. I lost my first cat in 2005 while I deployed in Iraq. She was 20 and just got so weak she went in her sleep while cuddled up in her bed made of an old beaver pelt and a cashmere sweater (spoiled much?). Thinking about her still makes me weepy. My condolences. /cry


  12. Jeff

    Sorry to hear about your cat. I lost my cat Castor a few months ago, and it was a very sad experience – I still think about and miss him a lot.


  13. Loredena

    My condolences on your loss. :( My tuxedo cat, Tess, passed after 16 years this past October, in a similar fashion. Your story made me smile and teary at the same time. Hugs to you and your family, especially your daughter.


  14. Genda

    Hey John,

    I have a cat, Panama, who I’ve had for 14 years. He’s starting to show the signs of a slow fade. He’s an amazing companion and has been through a lot with me.

    Reading about your Felix really hit home for me because I’m already dealing with the emotions and dread about Panama’s health and wondering how much longer we’re going to get to enjoy his company.

    Thanks for the sharing and thanks for a wonderful tribute to your little furry friend.

    Sorry for your loss, thanks for sharing the story.


  15. Stropp

    Very sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve lost a few pets now, both cats and dogs — some of whom just turned up on my doorstep. They must sense that I like animals — and it never gets easier.

    In fact this week my Sister will be having her dog put down, a female lab/german shepherd cross, she’s getting old and is in constant pain from arthritis. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s still hard.

    The great thing though is that you and your family will always have the memories of your time with Felix.


  16. pitrelli

    Sorry to hear about your loss :(

    Its always sad losing a family member, some people dont understand pet lovers and the connection and bonds they have with their pets but it is a real tough one to cope with, I still get upset when i think about my first dog passing :(

    Anyway lovely post, its certainly expressed some of the love you all shared


  17. Maugrim McFiriba

    As someone who has owned cats since childhood, I feel your loss. My current posse of felines include a male at 14 and a female at 12. The male, fondly known as Sausage (when he was younger, he developed a taste for them and would sit in front of the fridge for ages), recently recovered from a loss of appetite which is not always the case with cats and he’s obviously become deaf.

    Still, he shows an enthusiasm for life and I can only pray he can enjoy another Summer or two before he leaves us.

    Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story – know that you’re not alone in mourning the passing of your companion.


  18. syncaine

    Nice to have a spot on the blog as a memory, well written. Did your daughter have a tough time with this?

    (and 27 posts without something offensive posted? +1 for the internet, or have you been deleting comments?)


  19. Eric

    Always tough to loose a pet you love so much :(.

    This is a very nice tribute though, he looked very cool :). Felix would be proud !


  20. Joe

    This hits home for me as well; we have 2 cats that are getting up there in age. It’s gonna be rough when one of them passes. I try not to think about it too much. Great story, a fine tribute to his memory.


  21. manasi

    Wilhelm , i’m gonna go home and hug my two 10 year old cats and remember this time. Good post bro I wish you and your family many happy pets in your future. Best wishes.


  22. Khan

    Sorry to hear it, Wilhelm. We lost a family dog recently. She was so well-mannered around everyone but would bark relentlessly at the garbage men (“Waddaya mean, ‘don’t bark?’ They’re stealing our garbage!!”). It’s those little moments that pets contribute that make them so irreplaceable and so hard to let go of when they pass on.

    Thank you for sharing the story of Felix.


  23. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I want to thank you all for the kind words here, as well as some that came via email or in game.

    I think this comment thread is perfection itself, a pristine thing on the internet, which allows so few things to remain as such. Again, thank you.

    To preserve it, I am going to turn off comments for this post. It will stay just like this, with one addition.

    My daughter read the post then turned to me, “But you did not say we loved Felix.”

    I said that I thought that everybody who read the post probably knew that we did. But she persisted. And sometimes it is better to say exactly what you mean.

    We loved Felix very much.


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