Jeremiah Cheeseburger IV (1997-2011)
In about 1998, I met a cat named Jeremiah Cheeseburger. My older daughter brought him home. He belongs to the girlfriend of a guy I know, she said, but the girl can't take him home and the guys who live in the apartment don't really want a cat, so can we keep him?
Cheese was a gorgeous cat and I tried to hold him. He shredded my hands and arms. That was our introduction and of course he stayed.
At the time we had just one cat, Minus, who had been an only cat his entire life and wasn't so sure that he wanted another cat on his turf. He relented, though, and I thought that Jeremiah Cheeseburger needed a slightly expanded name. I started referring to him as Jeremiah Cheeseburger IV. He didn't seem to mind.
Cheese hadn't been mistreated at his previous home. More like untreated. Nobody at the house really wanted a cat, so they ignored him. He hadn't been socialized and he didn't quite understand what people were all about. He could not be held.
Cheese and Minus quickly became friends but a year later it was clear that Minus had a problem. Kidney failure. This is not an uncommon problem for older cats, which Minus was. Cheese stayed at his side until the very end. Finding himself all alone, Cheese was as depressed as a cat can be (assuming you believe cats can be depressed). They can be.
So we found Jax at a local shelter, named him Tangerine, and brought him home. Cheese was delighted. Tangerine was delighted. They became best friends.
Then we found another kitty at the shelter and brought him home. Scampi and Tangerine ended up being best buddies, sometimes omitting Cheese. But Cheese stuck around and pretended not to care.
The trio regularly sat at the front door or in the front window watching for squirrels, the postman, or marauder cats who might dare to step paw on the property.
Time passed and Cheese became a bit more social. We could scratch his head, but he still didn't like being picked up.
In 2010, Tangerine died of cancer.
In 2011, it was Cheese's turn. When he stopped eating in early January it was clear that he had only a short time left. We learned that it wasn't kidney failure. We learned that it wasn't diabetes. We knew that it wasn't a bacterial infection. But what? By then he was too sick for it to make any difference and all we could offer him was hospice care.
Suddenly we could pick him up. We could hold him and he would snuggle and purr. We had always wanted a holdable, snuggling Cheese, but this was a very bad sign. The decline was quick. By Wednesday, January 12, we knew that his time had come.
He visited his veterinarian for the last time on the 13th and shortly before 4:30 on that cold, gray Thursday afternoon, Cheese went to sleep. Goodbye, Mister Cheese. We will miss you.
I have added more photos on Facebook.