Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Ten years ago, as our family was in the midst of a move back to British Columbia, we picked up an unusual traveling companion.

A 12-week-old kitten showed up on my mother-in-law's front porch in Manitoba, dragging a mangled hind leg behind it.

Turns out that it had been one of three kittens who thought that sleeping inside a warm hay-baling machine was a good idea.
Only one of the kittens survived that ill-advised choice, and he was pretty messed up when our kids found him on the porch.

We took him into Winnipeg with us, and a local vet amputated the crushed and necrotic remains of his hind leg. We named him "Tripod", put a cone on his head to keep him from messing with his stitches, and continued on our journey west.

For the past ten years, Tripod has been one of the craziest personalities in a house full of eccentric pets and people. He didn't seem to realize that he was technically handicapped, and pursued all the normal cat sort of things with vim and vigor. He was cuddly, demanding, warm, imperious, friendly, and a cunning nemesis for all local vermin.

That cat slept through more football and hockey games than I could count, curled up purring in my lap. He entertained many guests, and became an ingrained part of the local community when we lived in Tijuana, Mexico: perched in his window box overlooking the street, keeping an imperial eye on his domain and his subjects as they walked past, waving and calling out greetings.

It's amazing how pets become part of your family. Cats are supposed to be aloof and smugly disdainful of mere humans. Tripod didn't get the memo, apparently, and made friends with whoever came within reach of his plush fur and soporific purr.

It's never easy when it comes time for that one final trip to the veterinarian's clinic. And today was the day.

Good-bye, Tripod. There will always be a spot on the hearth and in our hearts that will belong to you.

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