“Tasmanian” Devil, 1987-2006
It’s hard when a pet dies, even one who has lived a long and happy life. “Tasmanian” Devil, known affectionately as “Devil,” passed away a few days ago. The photo above was taken a couple of hours before his passing.
Despite his name, Devil was a gentle and shy kitty—also large, though not so large as his buddy Buddy. Buddy is a cat, all black, who looks like a chow dog with short legs and a small head. He’s enormous, and if you (are able to) pick him up, he wants to hug you—like hugging a six-year-old kid.
Buddy also is a gentle soul, but not so shy as Devil was. When we were feeding them while the owner was away, we never saw Devil, who would retreat far under the bed as soon as he heard the footsteps of strangers. But Buddy would come out for a hug. Each had his own feeding bowl, and neither would eat from the other’s bowl: respect.
They were both indoor kitties because if Buddy went outside for a while, when he came back inside he wouldn’t recognize Devil and he’d freak out. You don’t want Buddy freaking out.
Devil was gentle unless his owner tried to trim his nails. Then he would show some serious (and sharp) attitude. So he had to be taken to the vet for nail-trimmings, where he would sit placidly, all but holding up his paw, toes apart, to make it easier, purring away. The vet would always tell the owner, “You could do this at home, you know,” while the owner gritted her teeth and shot sharp looks at Devil, who blandly ignored them. Obviously, Devil considered nail-trimming a job best left to the professionals.
In honor of Devil’s long life and recent passing, I offer this poem by Gavin Ewart. Rest in peace, Devil.
Sonnet: Cat Logic
Cat sentimentality is a human thing. Cats
are indifferent, their minds can’t comprehend
the concept ‘I shall die’, they just go on living.
Death is more foreign to their thought than
to us the idea of a lime-green lobster. That’s
why holding these warm containers of purring fur
is poignant, that they just don’t know.
Life is in them, like the brandy in the bottle.
One morning a cat wakes up, and doesn’t feel
disposed to eat or wash or walk. It doesn’t panic
or scream: ‘My last hour has come!’ It
simply fades. Cats never go grey at the edges
like us, they don’t even look old. Peter Pans,
insouciant. No wonder people identify with cats.