8-15-15 Tom Cullen (and the Weekly Roundup)

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Yesterday, we said goodbye to Tommy. It was sudden and unexpected, and just all-around awful.

I’ll reprint what Fred posted on his Facebook page below with the details. Monday’s post will be my tribute to Tommy; I just wanted to let y’all know that he was gone.


After posing for such an awesome picture on the bookcase yesterday, our cat Tom Cullen went out in the back yard to hang out near the fence, as he loves to do. At bedtime I had to go out and get him, because he was too happy rolling around on the warm concrete to come inside when I called for him. He ate his crunchies and retired to the bookcase in the front room to survey his kingdom.

When Robyn was making the plates for snack time this morning I realized I hadn’t seen him since last night. After a long search, I found him in one of the cabinets in the front room, curled up on a blanket. I picked him up and sweet-talked him on the way to the front room. He smelled funny, but not too bad. Not then.

When I put him down by his plate his hind end flopped to the side. His tail was limp. He looked up at me and meowed mournfully, then turned away from the plate and tried to walk away from it. “Tried” because his lifeless hindquarters dragged behind him across the rug. His legs were wet with urine and waste, and he struggled for every inch of progress.

We got him into a carrier and raced to the closest emergency vet, where we we learned that he had a saddle thrombus: a blood clot that had lodged in his aorta at the point where it bifurcates to carry blood to his hind legs and tail. His rectal temperature was 92 degrees, which is 9 or 10 degrees below normal, because his hind end was literally dead. They took him into the back, and when they returned with him he was swaddled in a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.

We sat in the emergency clinic cuddling Tommy while the vet explained the situation. His legs had slipped free of the rug and I could feel their coldness against my own, could smell the stench baking off him. At about six a.m., we rubbed his head and told him we loved him as he was given propofol intravenously to render him unconscious. A moment later, a second injection of barbituates stopped his heart. They took him into the back again to remove the intravenous port, and gave us a card with his paw print on it. We buried him next to his brother Sugarbutt, who we had to have euthanized a month ago, and Miz Poo, who we had to put down two weeks before that.

So at the risk of sounding snarky, when people tell us to keep every kitten and every stray that comes through and we don’t, it’s because we have to go through this with each one we do.

It never gets easier.


Weekly Instagram/Facebook Roundup!

“We iz having a sekrit babykitteh meetin’, lady. You go ‘way.” #Calabash #Zuke #TheSquashBugs #BottleBabies

#Calabash discovered the bowl of Babycat kibble! Tomorrow they get their first introduction to canned food! #ByeByeBottle #TheSquashBugs

When offered a plate of canned food, #Calabash did this. She ate a TON. The other three could not possibly have been less interested. #TheSquashBugs #ByeByeBottle

Look who you’ll be meeting in tomorrow’s post on Love & Hisses! #TheSwimmers

Self-serve. (She’d already eaten and had her bottle, and was playing, then she spotted the bottle sitting there and got verrrry interested!) #Calabash #TheSquashBugs

Getting the #CrazyEyes from #Phelps, while #Torres looks on. #TheSwimmers #MilkMouth #BottleBabies

“Holy crap! Where’d those come from???” #Spitz #TheSwimmers #FearsomeClaws #SNIK #BottleBabies

Usually #Zuke is the last of #TheSquashBugs to get his bottle because he is SO slow and takes forever to finish. But I feel bad for making him go last every single time, so this time #Ambercup was last, and she was #NotHappy about this turn of events. #LetMeOUT #HungryHungryHippo

#Pattypan swings (and misses)! #TheSquashBugs

“Nawt funny, lady, let us OUT!” We’re at #Pattypan ‘s follow up vet appt for her leg, and #Zuke #Calabash and #Ambercup got roped into being travel buddies again. They are NOT happy! #TheSquashBugs

This picture just kills me. The longer I look at it, the better it gets. #Calabash #Pattypan #Zuke #TheSquashBugs #NobodyKnows

Bliss. #Zuke #TheSquashBugs #NotReadyToGiveUpTheBottle

“Lady, you named me after a swimmer. Why you surprised when I go swimming in my food?” #Spitz #TheSwimmers #SwimmersGonnaSwimSwimSwimSwimSwim

#Calabash is the gate keeper! When #TheSquashBugs are full and have run off energy and are getting sleepy, they put themselves to bed back in the cage. Calabash likes to #snoopervise to be sure they’re doing it right.


2013: Somethin’ has amazed the Norbs.
2012: Oh, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
2011: The many faces of Sally Peppers.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Kara & babies.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Jodie did rub up against Miz Poo yesterday, and got a smack on the head for her troubles.



8-15-15 Tom Cullen (and the Weekly Roundup) — 55 Comments

  1. Oh, Robyn and Fred, I am so, so sorry! Tommy was such a good, friendly boy. And so handsome. And the foster kitten ambassador. I know he will be greatly missed by both of you and your readers. Again, I’m so sorry.

  2. Fred and Robyn, I am so so so sorry for your sudden loss. I am just in tears over how sudden and awful that must have been for you all. I just don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry you lost such a sweet boy. My heart goes out to you all.

  3. Such an awful, awful year for you and Fred. I can only think that $DEITY is clearing space in your lives for the very greatest of blessings … though I can’t imagine what that would be.

  4. Robyn and Fred, believe me when I say that if it hadn’t been for those pictures of the babies, I doubt I would have been able to write this. I don’t think I can adequately express how sorry I am about Tommy. I loved him; he always reminded me of my darling Gandalf who passed nearly a year ago.

    I’m not an overly religious sort of girl, however I do believe that the Lord never gives us anything to bear that we cannot get through (a rough translation of a french expression my mother used to say).

    Tommy, you continue rolling in the sunshine and being the all-round awesome elder statesman you were here. And look in on your Mom and Dad once in awhile, ok?

  5. I am so very sorry for your loss, for both of you. Tommy was a lovely cat.

  6. Tears! I’m so sorry for your tremendous lost. My heart breaks for tommy and both of you. Love and hugs

  7. I am so sorry about Tommy. I lost a kitty the same way. No matter how you lose a kitty, it leaves a huge hole in the heart. Keeping you and Fred in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Robyn and Fred, I am nearly beyond words at this point. No one should have to suffer as many losses in as short a time as the two of you have this year. Especially no one who has given so much of their time and love to homeless kitties! Keeping both of you (as well as poor Stinkerbelle!) in my thoughts and prayers today. Rest in peace, beautiful boy! I know the And3rson kitties will be there at the bridge to welcome you.

  9. So sorry for your loss. It’s been a tough year of losses for ya’ll. Hoping the rest of the year is better. ((((Hugs))))

  10. Oh Spitz! Your fuzzy fur and your cute as a button face have stolen my heart! I wish I lived closer so I could scoop you up when you are able to go to your fur-ever home!

  11. So sorry for your losss. I hope the other kitties can give you some comfort at this awful time.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. Black cats are my favorite cats, and I always loved reading about Tommy and his kind and loving nature. Much love to all of you.

  13. I’ve been trying not to be very, very angry with the universe. You and Fred deserve more joy than ever — not more sorrow. May you eventually find consolation in the knowledge that while Tommy’s time was cruelly cut short, you gave him an exceptional life. My heart goes out to you both and to Stinkerbelle.

  14. I am so very sorry. I lost my Willie Dixon the very same way. The pain is still with me. Fred is right, the pain never leaves and with each new beloved that passes it seems to intensify. So very sorry, it has been a bad year for both of you.

  15. I’m so sorry. It broke my heart to read about Tommy. When I saw his name on the title I refused to believe it and convinced myself that you were just doing a new Sat post featuring your permanent residents. Then I read on. You and Fred give all your cats so much and they were very lucky to have you. Tommy had a wonderful life.

  16. There are no words. I can’t believe you and Fred have had to go through this. I only hope that the needs of those eight wonderful soon-not-to-be-bottle babies are able to distract you from some of your grief. I’m in awe of what you and Fred are able to accomplish with all of your fosters and permanent residents, and so grateful that you were able to give such wonderful lives to Corbie, Sugarbutt, Miz Poo and Tom Cullen, even if those lives were much too short.

  17. What a horrible time for you, I am so sorry that you now have lost Tommy. He surely was not only the brains, but also the heart of the organisation and it must be so hard if it happens so unexpectedly. I am hoping that the kitten therapy will help a little.

  18. I am so sorry. I’ve lost cats to thromboembolism before. It’s so terrifying, because in the nature of cats, they look fine on the front half and gone on the back. There’s no easy way to lose a cat though. We can count ourselves lucky that there are, however, many easy ways to love them. I am sad he is gone. I am glad he was loved.

  19. I have a tear in my eye this morning, and so very sorry to hear you & Fred lost another dear friend. It’s bad enough losing one, let alone 3 in such a short time. My heart goes out to you both.
    Run free at the Bridge sweet Tommy.

  20. I’m so sorry for your losses. I will miss Gentleman Tommy. Sending good thoughts your way, and hoping that 2015 gets better.

  21. I am so sorry for your too many losses in such short time. I really wish there were words that could somehow alleviate even a bit of heartache. I can only imagine your pain right now, but please know Tommy had a great life with you all, loving you as much as you loved him.

  22. That is the part of pet ownership that I hate–losing them. You two have had too many this year. Hugs and purrs your way.

  23. I’m so, so sorry to hear this. I can’t believe you’ve had to endure another loss this year. I was thinking the other day on who my favorite permanent residents are, and quickly figured out it’s always been Tommy and Jake. I know the loss is by far hardest for you and Fred, but for myself and I’m sure many others out there who knew Tommy only through the internet -I will really, really miss him. I loved his gentle, easy going nature. How is Stinkerbelle doing? Does she seem to know?

  24. My thoughts are with you as you face the loss of Tommy, amid the other recent losses. Please take comfort with the assurance that you gave him a wonderful life and he knew great joy at Crooked Acres. Special cuddles to Stinkerbelle, who will miss her Tommy too.

  25. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! I also lost a cat to saddle thrombosis, something I was warned about due to his heart defect, but it’s still just such a horrible thing to witness and so scary. My heart goes out to you and Stinkerbelle.

  26. I’m so saddened to hear about Tommy. What a difficult year this has been for you guys… My heart goes out to you, Fred and Stinkerbelle. 🙁

  27. Robyn and Fred – My heart is breaking and I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking such good care of Tommy, giving him a life where he never had to go without love, kisses, pets, and sunshine. Sending you so much love and hope that you will find comfort it celebrating the love he brought into your lives.

  28. This is so not fair. So sad for you guys. I lost one cat suddenly this year and that was hard enough. Hugs to you humans and pets to Stinkerbelle.

    The babies, now, those babies are ridiculously adorable.

  29. Oh Robyn and Fred,I’m so sorry to hear this. Please know that you gave him so much love and such a good life and he’s somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge running in the sun. 🙁

  30. Robyn and Fred- Sending you all my purrs, gentle headbutts and Mommy’s prayers to you both. The world is not fair. You both have had enough heartache, and to dump one more onto you is unthinkable. Know that you gave Tommy all the love he needed. I’m so sorry for all your losses. Sending you both my heart in your time of sorrow.

  31. So very very sorry, Robyn and Fred! What a loss, and take as absolutely long as you need. You guys have sire been through it a lot lately.

  32. Oh, this is just shocking. My heart goes out to you. Without meaning to be unkind, I would have to disagree with the person who said we never get more than we can handle. This is just too much sadness and loss in too short a time to bear. I’m so very sorry.

  33. I have been thinking about you and Fred since I read about Tommy yesterday. I just cannot fathom this. The only thing I can think of to offer any comfort is that Tommy and Sugarbutt are still together now. Perhaps that was how it was meant to be. I am so sorry it had to happen this way. But I am very grateful that Tommy had you two to take him to the vet for relief from his pain. He knew to the end that his Mom and Dad loved him and he would always be safe and happy with them. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  34. Dearest Robyn and Fred — oh I am in tears for you, for your loss of beautiful Tom. I am so very sorry for your loss. I have never heard of such a thing. It never gets any easier because you both have huge hearts, doing what you do, helping all these animals and caring for your own. I am so very sorry for your loss. This is heartbreaking.

  35. I am so thankful that Tommy had you two with him.

    He was so adored, everybody loved him.

    My deepest sympathies.

  36. I am so, so sorry…..words cannot express how heartbroken I feel for your sweet family 🙁 Sending lots of {{{hugs}}} your way, Robin and Fred.

  37. Oh Robyn,
    My heart breaks for you and Fred. I will hug my two guys a little harder tonight, thinking of Tom Cullen.

  38. I’m so sorry to hear about Tom Cullen. I can’t imagine how the two of you must feel, my heart goes out to both of you.

  39. So very sad about Tommy’s passing on. Am still wiping my teary eyes. And Fred, I don’t think you’re snarky at all. I feel the same way. I think of all my dear ones that I have lost and it is indeed very sad and difficult.

  40. I’m shocked to hear about Tommy, after all you’ve been through lately. I lost a cat this way when I was a kid and it seemed so unfair but there was nothing that could be done. I’m so sorry for you all.

  41. OMG, I just can’t believe this… so soon after his brother, and after you said he was basically the gentleman leader of the bunch. I am so sorry, Robyn and Fred – and everyone else at Crooked Acres, especially lovely Stinkerbelle.

  42. Oh no…I’m so sorry about Tommy. But I am glad he had you and Fred to take such great care of him for his whole life. He was a lucky cat, to spend his life with you two and with his brother. Still I am so sad for you…too many cats gone in so short a time. You’re all in my thoughts today.

  43. There are no words. I am so sorry you and Fred have to endure another loss. No one could have given him a better home and more love than the two of you. Rest well, Tommy.

  44. Tears flowing…I am so, so, so sorry to find out about Tommy. I just don’t know what to say. Our prayers are with all of you all Robyn, Fred and Stinkerbell especially… And thanks again for ALL you both do for the kittens in need in your area.