Yogurt, 1991 (?) - 2009
Yogurt came to our home, when we lived down in Bakersfield, back in 1992 and hung around outside (my husband put food out for him, so that may have been why). He had a collar, so we thought he'd eventually go home. But he just kept hanging around and nobody seemed to be looking for him.
So we posted an ad in the "found cat" section of the local paper for quite a while and let him into the house while we waited, and introduced him to the two other cats we already had (Oatmeal and Pumpkin). No calls. Eventually we adopted him, named him Yogurt and trained him to be an indoor cat - something he didn't really appreciate but eventually became resigned to.
He got out a time or two in Bakersfield before we had him neutered, but was content to be inside after that. - except for one night here in Silicon Valley a couple years back, when he was out almost all night. The DH didn't sleep a wink, wandered around the neighborhood calling for him, looking behind bushes. Finally, so tired he had to try to get some rest, he went out front one more time and there was Yogurt in the front yard. He looked like he got into a small tussle with another cat, but was otherwise fine.
Yogurt was always a very talkative cat. You could get him to vocalize pretty easily and we'd have long 'conversations' with him. He loved to sit at the back door and chat with the birds that landed out back. I'm sure he'd have loved to have them for dinner, too. He was a patient, kind cat as well in these last years, who'd come sit on your lap and let you scratch him as long as you wanted, purring up a storm the whole time.
Last week all the cats went in for shots and check-ups and the vet was worried about how much weight Yogurt had lost. He had been a bit sick that week but otherwise seemed ok. Unfortunately, when the blood work came back yesterday, the diagnosis was total kidney failure. While we could possibly have kept him going for a while, he'd be in a lot of pain because it appeared he'd also suffered some nerve damage - which hadn't been a problem, it seems, before the vet visit, but he was definitely having trouble now with his back legs and tail - he's fallen over a couple times in the last day. So the decision to let him go was made.
He was the last of the 'elder' cats, we lost Pumpkin first and then Oatmeal not that long after. We became the people of two 'grandkitties' not that long ago, when my son joined the Army and moved to the East coast. We love them dearly, but we have a lot of great memories with Yogurt and he leaves us with a huge empty place in our hearts.
Edited to add: I'm bringing this comment from my husband up to the main page:
I have several distinct memories of Yogurt. Dawno already mentioned one: when he showed up at our door. He was a gangly pre-teen. 17 years later I still remember he had a light blue collar on.
A month or so after that, I was piddling around doing something in the bedroom. Yogurt jumped onto my lap, turned around, and sprayed me. He got fixed the very next day. We had him de-clawed as well... a decision I'd later regret. The two cats we have now have their claws and they don't destroy our furniture.
Not too long after we moved up to the bay area (maybe a month, maybe a year... it's all starting to run together), Yogurt and I were rough-housing a little and he got freaked out. He felt cornered and chewed his way through my hand to get out. I spent 3 days in the hospital with a bad infection.
Dawno also mentioned the time he escaped the house. This was just three or four years ago. She didn't mention she was the one who left the back door open, though :). I spent hours wandering up and down the street, between houses, along the driveways, etc. I was so worried. It eventually got too late and I had to stop. For some reason, people didn't really appreciate me wandering around their yards at 1:00 am with a flashlight. I was ready to crawl into bed and I decided to poke my head out the door one more time. I opened the door, called his name and he literally stepped onto the patio and meowed at me. He had a few scrapes above his eye and was missing a small notch or two from his ear... another reason I regretted declawing him. I slept pretty well that night with him back in the house.
Ever since Pumpkin and Oatmeal died, Yogurt very much became my cat, and I became his person. He slept with me every night, either within arm's reach or actually physically on me. He even went through a phase where he slept on my head. Thankfully that was a short phase.
Last night he was so miserable that he found his own quiet corner to sleep. It was the first night in years (that I can remember) in which I was home and he didn't sleep with me. I'll have to get used to that, I suppose.
Good-bye Yogurt. I love you.