December 23 - This is so hard. I began this entry almost two days ago, but haven't been able to finish it until now. We've lost another of our cats. On Sunday, our oldest kitty, Earl Grey, passed away very suddenly after an extremely brief illness. He was almost fourteen years old.
We've had him in our lives since before we were even married. Earl came to us from over two thousand miles away. In 1996, he was captured in the wild near Medford, Oregon, and turned over to Committed Alliance To Strays, a shelter and cat adoption organization. At that time, the volunteers at C.A.T.S. included my sister, Kristin, who saw that the scrappy little year-old gray mouser looked virtually identical to our childhood cat, Grey Ghost. Inspired by this, she adopted him - then nicknamed "Gunner" by the staff - to present to my wife and me as a wedding gift. At her expense, Kris flew all the way home to Wisconsin with "Gunner" on her lap, just for us. Preceding our actual wedding by almost a year, the cat we renamed "Earl Grey" became our first joint commitment (even though he lived with The WOMP Staff beforehand). From that time until now, he has been the center of our home life. Until Sunday night, we had never spent a night at home without Earl curled up in our bed with us. Over the last twelve-plus years, he became many things to us. He was our Olympic athlete, plucking thrown toy mice from high in the air, or, if he missed catching them, dutifully returning them like a retriever. He was the Law to the other cats, doling out justice when needed (kitty-fights always ended with Earl scaring off the aggressor and comforting the attacked), but he was also their soft-hearted Big Daddy. He was always there at the door when we came home, usually to chew us out for being away for so long (reminding us with a sarcastic tone as he repeated his name - "Earl! Earl!" - over and over again). Even after we rushed him to the vets office, he purred during his exam, instinctively expressing his love while literally mere hours from death. In short, he was the anchor of our domestic bliss. It's always hard to lose a pet, but Earl was truly more like a family member to us. Life without him will not be the same, but I am so happy to have shared our home with him for as long as we did. I'll get back to my usual blatherings later, but, for tonight, I want to thank you for letting me post this little on-line memorial. See ya.
Earl Grey Mundt
1995 - 2008