Gummitch is named after a Fritz Leiber kitten. I have pictures of him dancing with the kitten in the mirror, which makes him very like the Leiber original. Roni's friends found an "abandoned" litter in the woods at the UCSC campus, and Roni brought me this scrawny fluff, only 3 weeks old. Actually, we drove him home in our non-air-conditioned car on one of the hottest April days one can imagine, in 1985. He looked pathetic. We gave him bread soaked in milk and a lot of love and care, and he grew into my Favoritest Cat Ever. He is still Top Cat despite the fact that Tanith would make three of him.

What Makes Gummitch Special?

Gummitch loves to suck one's finger, a nearly 12-yr-old baby whose ears twitch. He owns the neighborhood, just ask him, and every day he must make the rounds and check out what's going on. He defends the territory quite loudly against the neighbor cats, at least till the dog comes charging out to rescue him. Gummitch does not much like the dog. It depends on his mood whether he's actually afraid of Sailor or just annoyed that Sailor exists. (He missed his chance when Sailor was a frightened puppy, hiding behind me to get away from those terrible tigers!) He's a great mouser, which also means he gets the occasional bird. He really hates me to rescue them. The last one was a baby oriole, who also had a couple of near misses with other cats. Gummitch's favorite food is cooked pumpkin, which must be what keeps him so orange. He is a definite family cat and generally likes to be in someone's bed, Roni or Vince if they are home, or Bernadette, and if all else fails, us. Rich has definite ideas about where the cat belongs, however, so lately he's gone on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed. Sometimes he'll come up on my side, demand to be petted, and soon enough demand a finger, when he goes into an ecstacy of sucking, ear-twitching, and loud purring. He also is a proper cat and likes to lie in front of the fire. He could have written The Bad Kitty List!

The Course of His Illness

Gummitch used to see our vet regularly, till he (the vet!) retired, and then we just never quite got around to it. We kept the shots up at the pet clinic, but the cat was happy and healthy, so it didn't register that it was checkup time. Not till he started to lose weight. Every spring he sheds enough fur to create another cat, but this winter, he didn't put on his cold-weather weight, just kept losing. The last couple of weeks in December he also lost his purr and just didn't seem to feel very well. On December 26, Gummitch was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure and I started giving him subcutaneous injections of fluid. (Him, myself, the air...) He weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces when the treatment started.

We had 5 good months, but Memorial Day he wasn't hungry in the afternoon. He crashed. He was 7.1 pounds when he died on June 5.

Gummitch, April 1985 - June 5, 1997
Rest in Peace

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