4-12-13 – Goodbye, Spanky.

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September 15, 1996 – April 11, 2013.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Spanky. He’d been doing so well on the Liqui-Tinic that we were starting to think that he’d be with us for months and months to come. But over the weekend he started sliding rapidly downhill again, and beginning Monday he refused to eat no matter what tasty treat we tempted him with. He got that look in his eyes, and it was clear to us that it was time. In the end, Liqui-Tinic gave us two more months with Spanky than we would have had, and I am so grateful that we were given that time with him. We were able to spoil him with treats and shower him with love, which is what every cat deserves.

He went peacefully as Fred and I petted him and told him what a good boy he was, and he purred right up until the very end.

He would have been 17 in September.

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On Thanksgiving Day 1996, we went to Fred’s sister’s house for dinner. She had a barn cat who had recently had kittens, and I spent the day with a kitten on my lap. It gave me a serious longing for a kitten of my own, so I began bugging Fred. He was pretty firm in saying “no” to me, so imagine my surprise when he arrived home a little late from work a few weeks later…with a tiny white and tan kitten on his shoulder.

Spanky was about 10 weeks old when Fred brought him home. I couldn’t, for the life of me, convince him to eat cat food. He’d howl at me like he was starving, and I’d show him the cat food and he’d look at it and look at me with a big question mark over his head, and then he’d howl some more. Out of desperation, I gave him baby food, and he ate every bit of it.

He had a lifelong love affair with chicken baby food.

Spot was the head cat in charge when Fred brought Spanky home, and Spot was less than impressed with Spanky. Spanky, however, thought Spot was AWESOME. We had a wingback chair in the bedroom where Spot liked to hang out. Spanky would go behind the chair, and we’d hear the sound of him climbing the chair. It always went on FOREVER, and Spot would look more and more disgusted, and finally Spanky’s happy little face would pop over the top of the chair, and then he’d jump down to sleep next to his big brother.

Spanky always loved his people, and he slept with me every single night for the first few years of his life. He wasn’t picky, though – he loved Fred with all his heart.

I wish I had more pictures of him from when he was tiny, but that was back in the days before digital cameras, unfortunately.

Spanky absolutely radiated joy. He was just the happiest boy, and he would purr so hard that he sounded like a cricket. He was also very talkative, and enjoyed wandering through the house singing – and he very often did it in the middle of the night when all his people were asleep. If you yelled “Spanky!” at him, he’d be quiet for a moment, then give you a very soft “Maowww!” before shutting down the singing completely.

If you meowed at him, he’d meow back, as shown in this old video and this one from last year.

There are some cats who prefer to hang out in low places, like under couches and in floor-level cat caves, and some cats who prefer to hang out in high places, like atop cabinets and cat trees. Spanky is the only cat I’ve ever known to prefer somewhere in the middle. He liked being up off the floor, but he didn’t want to get too high. So the backs of couches were perfect for him.

And until the advent of flat-screen monitors (a very sad day indeed), he found the perfect place to keep us company.

He loved to be outside, and if the weather was halfway decent, his mornings were always spent outside, sitting by the fence, watching the squirrels and birds.

As much as he loved being outside, he loved it when we were outside with him, and he’d always greet us with a meow and a loud purr. But if he was inside and you were outside where he couldn’t get to you, well, he had something to say about THAT. He’d meow and meow until you got yourself back inside.

He had the most beautiful seafoam green eyes and I was never able to properly capture the color in a picture.

He had the most beautiful, silky, soft fur. He kept his white fur pristine, right until the very end.

Like all cats, he loved a good patch of sun, and would follow it across the room.

The whole fostering thing took him by surprise, and while he wasn’t thrilled when the fosters sought attention from him, he was a good guy and would (within limits) put up with their shenanigans. I can’t count how many times he’d wake up, see a kitten in the bed with him, and glare in another direction, disgusted. He never attacked a kitten, only hissed and smacked if his space was invaded. Kittens have to LEARN, you know.

I don’t know, really, how to properly describe what a good boy he was. He was just GOOD, you know? Always happy, and never gave us a moment of trouble from the instant he became ours and we his. He was an integral part of our life for longer than we’ve been married, even. I can’t believe he’s never going to walk into the room, give me a bright-eyed head-twirl, and “WAOW!” at me. I imagine we’ll be seeing him in his usual spots – the cat bed on my desk, on the rug by the side door, on the couch in the front room, by the fence in the back yard – for a long time to come.

Spot, Spanky, Mr. Fancypants, Tubby.

He was the last of what I called The Old Guard, the cats who came to us when we lived in our apartment, the very first home we shared together. He’s gone to join them now; it’s the end of an era.

Goodbye, Skittyboo. We’ll miss your sweet face and your sweet voice and your good heart.

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If you’re of a mind to, donations can be made in Spanky’s name to Challenger’s House, the shelter I foster for.

They accept donations by mail (check or money order), by phone (Mastercard/VISA), or there’s a Paypal button at the bottom of the Petfinder page.

Challenger’s House
112 Tristian Rd.
Toney, AL 35773

Phone: 256-420-5995

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I’ll be back this weekend with plenty of sweet baby kitten pics. Please check your sugar level before you check the site this weekend; I don’t want anyone fainting from the sweetness of those babies.


2011: “Don’t judge me.”
2010: Dreamy little Corbett.
2009: Let us talk about little Bessie.
2008: The pigs like chocolate.
2007: “Please, lady? Can’t I go out?”
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



4-12-13 – Goodbye, Spanky. — 173 Comments

  1. It’s all been said so well already, what an awesome cat, beautiful tribute, and yes, tears in my eyes. These critters don’t leave us gently, and it’s never easy, specially when they’ve made our lives so rich. You’ve made theirs hugely rich as well. Hugs to all. And of course the kittens will be therapeutic.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about Spanky, Robyn. It’s clear that he loved you guys and was loved dearly, and I’m sure he knew that.

  3. It always so hard to lose one of our furbabies but so much so when they have been with us for a long life together. He was a beautiful boy. I am sorry for your loss.

  4. What a beautiful tribute. I have tears in my eyes, and yes , I do remember those other cats as well. I am so sorry for your loss

  5. It is so hard to lose our furry friends. Spanky was a lovely cat who lived a wonderful, full life full of love. Comforting thoughts to you and Fred.

  6. Awwww, Robyn, my heart hurts for you. You were blessed with 2 extra months that you might not have had, otherwise. I know you and Fred loved Spanky dearly, so what better life could an aging kitty ask for? My thoughts are with you.

  7. I’m already crying, so I’m not going to read the comments, will just repeat what I know they all say: I’m so sorry for your loss. Your eulogy for Spanky reminded me in several places of the things I love best about (He’s) Bill (Pardy). Thanks for making a cat’s wildest fantasy of the good life come true for Spanky (and everyone else, of course), and for reminding me to shower my monsters with love, and overlook the occasional annoyances. (((you))) Thinking of you.

  8. I’m at work. Everyone that comes into my office today gets told the same story. “I have a cold.” (It’s not true.) My heart goes out to you, Fred, and all of Spanky’s brothers and sisters.

    As an aside, I also had to put my dear sweet Cooper (my six-year-old one and only cat) to sleep three weeks ago and it’s been……well… a tough three weeks. All the beautiful photos/videos of Kate and her babies that you’ve been posting have kept me from going looney. Truly, I cannot thank you enough! You are a very good soul, Robyn.

    Rest in peace, dear sweet Spanky.


  9. I’m sad that Spanky is gone, but so glad you got to make so many good memories with him while he was here!

  10. No matter how much and how long we ‘prepare’ for this, it is always so deeply heartbreaking and profoundly painful. I am so very, very saddened to learn of Spanky’s death, and I am so sorry for your loss, Robyn and Fred. What a beautiful, beautiful cat he was, Robyn. My heart breaks for you and Fred both. But I’ve learned, through the deaths of my own beloved cats (and dogs, too) ove the years, that they are and always will be with you, in your heart, in your memories of them, and the reciprocated love we feel for them and their love and affection for us. Death cannot rob us of this.

    When I think of my sweet Mollie girl now (she’s been at the Bridge for nearly five years, come October), the weeping has slowly dissipated and has been replaced by wonderful, happy and funny, endearing memories of her and all the antics she got up to. I miss her. I will always miss her. But I still ‘feel’ her and sense her presence here with us. You have give Spanky, and all the kittens and cats that you have fostered and have loved over the years, so much care, so much love. Thank you both for caring so much about and loving all of these beautiful angels.

    Rest in peace, beautiful Spanky. You were, are and always will be so very much loved.

  11. Getting misty-eyed… This was a beautiful tribute to Spanky. I’m so sorry for your loss, Robyn.

  12. Came back to read the comments and I’m tearing up again. God speed Ol’ Man Spanky!

  13. Oh, I am so very sorry for your loss. What a sweet boy he was, and of course had the best possible home with you and Fred. I’m so glad you had these extra months with him, and that he made such rebound with the Liqui-tonic.

    I know you will miss him terribly.

  14. Oh Robyn, I’m so sorry. Spanky was so pretty, he was always one of my favorites. RIP, sweet kitty.

  15. I’m so sorry. I am going to lose Mr. Harley soon (he’s 22) but I keep believing I will have him forever.

  16. I’m so sorry. I have an almost-20-year-old kitty, and it’s hard to imagine life without her. Spanky was lucky to have found an awesome home, and I’m sorry you lost him.

  17. I’m so sorry … but so glad dear Spanky passed so peacefully. That must give you some comfort. This post is such a lovely tribute to Spanky. I wish I’d been able to do the same for each of my cats that has passed on — all of my Old Guard too. In the case of 3 of the 4, I tried, but couldn’t get beyond the grief sufficiently to do them justice … So I’m even more appreciative for this post, which brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing his beautiful boy and his lovely sweet spirit with us.

  18. I’m so sad to hear about Spanky. He lived to a good old age and obviously had a great life. It’s wonderful you had a couple more months to spoil him.

  19. Many people would say, “But you’ve still got a bunch, right?”

    WE understand. It is very hard saying goodbye to someone who has been part of your life for such a long time.

    He will be missed.

    Goodbye sweet Spanky!

  20. I have such a soft stop for old-man kitties. Spanky was a sweet and beautiful boy. And his love for chicken baby food made me smile — I used to have an old man cat who loved it, too. Thank you for the wonderful tribute and fine pictures, and mostly for the love you give to all of them.

  21. Oh Robyn…. so sorry about Spanky… but I love the tribute you have done for him. So beautiful!

    lots of hugs,
    Ann & BillCat

  22. I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to sweet Spanky, Robyn & Fred. It never gets easier, and even though we all know our kitties can only be with us for a few short years, we always wish they could live forever. He got to live a pretty extraordinary life with you guys. Thank you for sharing pieces of it with us. <3

  23. I will miss reading about Spanky…I’ve been reading about him since Day 1. He was a great guy. PS It was so nice to “see” Tubby again.

  24. Little Spanky. What a gentle soul you are. Thank you Robyn for sharing him with us, and for such a beautiful tribute – it feels as though I knew him so well. You gave him simply the best life a cat could have, and he gave you his unending love and trust and sweetness. I wish all cats could have such wonderful lives. Hugs to you, Fred and the residents and fosters. xxx

  25. Farewell to Spanky, old boy. I can’t believe he’s the last of your Old Guard. Hugs to you all!

  26. I’m so sorry about your sweet boy. Spanky had a great life with you guys. His personality reminds me of Rufus, our kitty who also passed away at 16–pure goodness.

    Hugs to you and Fred.

  27. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing Spanky with us and for giving him such a good life.

  28. So much love headed your way … I just came back from having to put my floofy gal Phoebe to sleep. 🙁 Her kidneys started failing back in November and last night she made it clear to me that it was time to stop fighting and let her go. I’m so heartsore.

  29. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad the Liqui-tinic gave you a couple more good months with him. I’ll miss seeing him. I love the video of him and you meowing at each other.

  30. I’m so sorry Robyn and Fred. This was such a beautiful post – a lovely tribute to such a wonderful kitty, inside and out.

  31. Robyn, my heart aches for you and Fred. I know how hard it is when a beloved pet passes away. Please take solace knowing that you and Fred gave Spanky the best life he could ever have dreamed of having. Lots of love, plenty of siblings to play and cuddle with, a huge farm to roam and plenty of chicken baby food to eat. Rest in Peace, Spanky. And if you see Mischka and Flirt at the Rainbow Bridge, tell them not a day goes by that I don’t fondly remember them.

  32. Such a fabulous tribute for a well loved kitty. You got two extra months to shower him with love but it still doesn’t prepare you for when they’re gone. Nothing does. My thoughts are with you and Fred. RIP Spanky.

  33. So very sorry to read about Spanky’s passing. What a fantastic life he had with you and Fred. Thinking of you guys.

  34. I’m so sorry for your loss. Its never easy, no matter the circumstances.

    Prayers and hugs

  35. Robyn, my heart goes out to you and Fred. This has been such a hard year for you guys. I’m so glad you had that extra time with Spanky. Love to you both.

  36. I’m sorry to hear about Spanky. It’s hard to say goodbye when they’ve been part of the family for so long. Spanky had an amazing 16 years and was a very lucky cat to have such a great life.

  37. I am so sorry, Robyn. Especially so soon after losing Elwood and Rupert. Spanky was such a beautiful, wonderful, special boy. Big hugs to you, Fred and all the adorable floofies at Crooked Acres.

  38. Oh, I’m so sorry. I know he had a wonderful life and he was such a good, good boy. (I also know the “end of an era” feeling – over Christmas we had to put our 20-year-old cat to sleep, whom I’d adopted before I met my husband. It’s such a sad moment.) Have a good peaceful weekend remembering lovely Spanky.

  39. It’s so hard to explain, “But he was a good cat, he was so sweet.”

    That just doesn’t convey how special these guys are to some people,but we get it.

    He was a gentleman and a sweet boy with a beautiful soul. He loved you and knew that you adored him.

  40. I’m so sorry to hear about Spanky.

    So much of what you wrote in this post echos what I have thought about my cat Cassie of 20 years, gone now for 11 years on Monday.

  41. it’s Hard to say goodbye no matter how long they lived. Here’s one to the old guards thanking them for giving us the benefits of their presence.

  42. Commiserations. He had the best home and the best humans any cat would have. He will live on in your hearts. xo

  43. So so sorry for you all. Always a sad day when we lose one our babies. But knowing he had an absolute wonderful life helps. He will be missed.

  44. Robyn, I’m so sorry to hear about Spanky. I’ve been reading since 2000, and while I have to admit that Tubby was always my favorite, Spanky came in a not-so-distant second. He was such a good boy. Love to you, Fred and the rest of the furs.

  45. so very sorry to hear of spanky’s passing – great big hugs to you both

    RIP orange guy <3

  46. I’m way late to this news and oh so had to hear this. I’ve been reading since basically day one and Spanky feels like a member of my family as well. The “last of the old guard” did me in and totally ruined my “will not cry, will not cry” mantra as I was reading this. What a beautiful life he had with you guys, he was oh so lucky to have you and you him. I’m so sorry.