Thoughts

The little deaf tomcat

Updated 10/22/10: You can see better photos of Felix here.

In the summer of 2006, we visited family in Romania, and we met this wonderful white tomcat at my mother-in-law’s place in Tulcea, Romania. He was still a kitten, a growing boy, scruffy, dirty, and completely adorable. He was also deaf as a post, the poor thing.

Having been born pure white with blue eyes, that doomed him to a life of silence. He couldn’t hear a thing. Thankfully he’d feel the vibration of the ground as you approached him and turned around, but you couldn’t count on that, so you’d often have to touch him to get his attention and watch your step around him. The price for those eyes was heavy, sure, but get a load of those sparkling sapphires!

My wife and I fell in love with him immediately and thought seriously about adopting him, but there was an overseas trip to think about, and a visit to the US Embassy in Bucharest to arrange for his passage. Then he’d have had to live in an apartment, albeit a nice one, but still, he wouldn’t be outside, in nature. And we’d have had to hide him from the building administration, since pets were no longer allowed in our building. After a lot of consideration, we decided to leave him where he was, and hope for the best.

I still regret that decision. The next year, we found out he’d been run over by a car, right outside the yard. He climbed over the fence, and since he was deaf, didn’t hear it, and splat, his light was put out. At least it was quick, but it didn’t have to be that way. He’d still be alive today if we’d adopted him, condo rules and customs rules be damned. He’d be three years old now, a happy, content, white tomcat.

I also regret not taking better photos of him. The ones that I have are of barely adequate quality. The framing isn’t right, the lighting is poor, I’m not showing him from the best angles, etc. At least I have him on video in all his scruffy glory, playing with my camera strap and playing with a puppy whose photo you can see here.

You can watch the video below or on blip.tv and YouTube. You’ll notice the play between him and the pup gets pretty rough at times; don’t blame me for not stopping it. He could have run away, but he stood his ground and drove the puppy away in the end. That’s one brave little tomcat! Gosh, I miss the little white fluffball!

Although he couldn’t hear and respond to a name, I called him Felix, and this year, when we adopted a little black and white tomcat rejected by his mother, I named it Felix as well, to honor his memory.

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Thoughts

Goodbye little bird, goodbye

As I was about to walk into work at the start of May, I saw a little bird on the ground, trying to walk but unable to do so. The poor thing was convulsing, and its head kept rotating wildly. Two other birds were nearby, a blue thrush, and an orange-chested robin. At first I thought they’d ganged up on the poor little bird, but no, they were concerned and eyed me with fear, worried that I’d hurt it.

They didn’t have to worry about me. I picked it up and held it in my hands, hoping it would recover. I sat down on a bench and waited for about 10 minutes, and the little bird was thankful. It nested in my hand. Its eyes would close, then open again, and its breathing was heavy while its little beak was wide open. It was obvious that it had problems breathing. What had probably happened is that it flew into one of the windows, but really slammed into it. It seems to happen most every day at work, but the other birds are fine — slightly dazed, but otherwise okay. It wasn’t so with this poor little bird. It had suffered major internal injury. There were little stains of blood on my hand.

The human in me wanted to nestle it in my hands until it recovered, but the photographer in me quickly grabbed the camera and took a few photos. I couldn’t change lenses, and I had to use my wide-angle 24mm, which was already mounted on my 5D. Now I’m so glad I took the photos, because they’re the only things I have left to remind me of it.

Goodbye, little bird, goodbye

Since the little bird wasn’t getting any better, I figured I’d take it upstairs to my office and keep it safe there for at least part of the day. I was worried that it would make a quick meal for cats or hawks. Upstairs, I tried to give it some water, but it didn’t want to drink. Its condition was getting worse by the minute. I held it in my hand as it breathed its last breath. Needless to say, I don’t count that day as one of my happiest. Later, I took it outside and buried it at the root of this tree:

Under the sun

Goodbye, little bird. Goodbye. Rest in peace.

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