Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Little Man-Cub

One of the saddest things happened on Tuesday. We had to put sweet, baby Manly to sleep. He was six and a half years old, and he was one of the first batch of kittens born in our dining room. I hardly even know how to write this. It makes me so sad.

Manly  (April 15, 2006 - December 4, 2012)
Click Here to View Manly's Photo Album

Manly was a big kitty. Thirty pounds (and sometimes a wee bit more!) and all solid orange stripes. He was the last of the seven kittens born in his litter, and he was never a small "rat-like" babe. He was born a real kitten --- and way bigger than any of the others. Despite his size, he was a little baby at heart. He never learned to bathe himself, didn't really know how to play and got "lost" if he walked into a wall or corner. He could sure love, though. Never a bad thought entered his little mind, and nothing made him happier than lovin's, pettin's and brushing.

The only toy that he liked was a big old rabbit-fur muff. He had successfully ripped all of the stuffing out of it, and he would carry it around the house as a present for anyone he might think of. There was usually a big piece of fur lying in front of the bedroom doors in the morning.

Elizabeth and I had just been sitting together this weekend, admiring Manly as he slept in his big basket in the living room. We had said that of all our ten kitties (Oliver excluded, that is), Manly would be one of the two that we wouldn't want to lose. Just two days later he was gone. What a picture of how fleeting life is.

He was sure a precious little baby. He had a loud meow and wasn't afraid to use it if you weren't petting him enough. He loved clean clothes. If I was sorting them on the bed, he'd have to sit right on a stack of them --- then, I'd shoo him off. But his favorite thing was sitting in the clothes dryer. Didn't matter if it was full or empty, either --- he liked it any way. And it was sure a hard job to budge him out of there.

One of the first three kitty babes that we got was a little six-week old kitten named Sydney. That kitten was the sweetest little thing, but he died three months after we got him. Well, Manly came along three short months later, and he was pretty much a clone of Sydney. You can't even tell their pictures apart.

Manly was a very healthy cat, but he had shallow hip socket. He (and his siblings) could sit with his back legs completely stuck out behind him (see photo). He also had a tendency to freak out over small things. On Tuesday morning, the vacuum scared him, and he jumped off of the tree house from the very top story. It broke his back leg, and possibly the hip socket as well. With his size and hip defects, there just wasn't anything they could do for him.

So, we now have nine kitties left, but Manly leaves a big hole. There are three of his six siblings left, and they aren't taking this well. They are all pretty sad and lonely. I know that the acute sadness will pass eventually, but I think Manly is one of those kittens that you never quite get over losing. You can't replace a baby like him. He was sure a sweetheart.

Elizabeth made it through writing a lot more about Man Cub than I could, so be sure to read her blog entry HERE.

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