Toby (cat), 1994-2007, RIP

Toby died yesterday morning at 7:50 AM after suffering from congestive heart failure. Toby was an opinionated cat, who in his early year was a fist-sized gray blur, racing around Gypsy’s apartment in Grinnell. He spent the first half of his life as an indoor cat, but after permanently moving in with us, he became an avid outdoors-cat. He was perfectly camouflaged as a rock in the yard even when, on consideration, that was not a place where gray rocks were known to be found.

Although known for his loud disposition, he mellowed with age, but remained opinionated, though not aggressive. He overcame his aversion to being picked up. He was not merely verbal, but his declawed paws could be heard at a distance when he walked on a hardwood floor. At the same time, he was easily contented as a lap-cat, requiring few scritchies and perfectly willing to purr in one’s vicinity.

His blue eyes, rock impersonations, and loving purr will be missed.

He is survived by housemate Brittanicus, as well as humans Jordan Wood, David Leppik, Sylvia Leppik (age 3), Ian Leppik (10 months), and his first owner, Gypsy Gies.

A memorial service will be held at his residence in St Louis Park, MN in about two weeks.

On a more personal note, this is the first time I’ve actively been involved in the death of a loved one. I had him euthanized this morning, after he spent a night at the emergency vet. He was having difficulty breathing, even with oxygen. The emergency hospital is only open at night (it’s a pet manicurist or something by day), and he likely wouldn’t have survived the short ride to the regular vet.

I left for work before Sylvia woke up. Jordan had to break the news. She seems to understand, though her comprehension is a little shakey. She has been asking about death a lot lately. A few weeks ago she had me explain how funerals work. She seems to think that you reach a certain birthday and then you die. (A few days ago, on my sister-in-law’s birthday, she asked “is she going to die?”) She also thinks that animals turn to stone when they die, based on fossils she’s seen at the Science Museum.