Billy, the persevering 18 year old cat of the Blume's died today (September 19th). She was given about a month to live by the vet in August of 2006, but managed to overcome the naysayers and last two more years than expected. Finally in her last week, she was unable to eat, and slowly wasted away. She was best known for her sneakiness, though had grown rather less sneaky in the past year. Her well honed sneaking skills included stealing socks, depositing them in odd places at odd times of the night while making demented cat noises and jumping up onto kitchen counters to eat tomatoes. Deaf and blind, she was still able to smell, and even managed to kill a rabbit in her last month of life.
Billy had always seemed to have a survivor knack. She had been picked up at a pet store in Albany, California in 1990 as a follow up to Cathead the cat, who met her demise in Boston and is interred at Walden Pond, Massachusetts. Billy's tail looked as if it might have been severed in an accident, though it could also have been a birth defect. It was oddly krinkly and referred to as a "Cheetoh" tail by N. Why "Cheetos" you may ask. It felt like several cheetos crudely glued together and looked as much in an X-ray once taken for tumorous reasons. In any case, W & N believed that it might have been cut off by a sliding van door, because Billy reacted pretty strongly to the sound of a sliding van door on Irwin Ct, leaving tread marks up and down N's arms and chest and face. N was just happy Billy didn't manage to hook her sharp little claws in an eye or two while strongly reacting to closing of a VW bus door. But the point was, she had survived it.
Later the same year that Billy was acquired, she managed to get lost in the roof while the chimney was being repaired. She emerged from the attic with a broken hind leg, N thought the vets in Oakland weren't up to snuff when they said using pins wouldn't work, they would simply put the ball back in the socket and it would work again naturally. N called UC Davis veterinarian school experts to see if they could somehow rebuild her. Davis vets concurred with Oakland vets reporting that pins would hamper her growth plates, Billy being the ripe young age of 6 months. The surgery did work, and she was soon able to leap up on counters again.
Later she was attacked by some kind of animal and bitten in the eye. She again managed to survive, though lost sight in the bitten eye. Her most recent brush with death was in the driveway of the Blume home on Oak St. N yelled desparately to W, who was backing down the driveway, to stop as Billy was cutely sitting just behind the front passenger wheel to keep cool. W didn't hear N's yelling and did not stop. Billy jumped clear just in the knick of time. Despite these handicaps, she was still able to jump up on counters up to the last month of her life. Her predilection for ice cream, tomatoes and cantaloupe were well known.