HughieOn Monday June 20, 2011 at 9:00am Hughie succumbed from his two year battle with kidney failure. His foster parents were with him at the time.

Hughie had a long and happy life and contributed many hours of love and happiness to his foster parents and friends.

Hughie arrived one morning at the back door in 1993 as a small ball of fur meowing for some food and affection. After a neighborhood search we found that he belonged to a neighbor living on the street above us. This little, at the most six inch kitten, had traversed a 45 degree slope of several 100 feet to get to our back door. Several attempts to return him failed. Within hours of his return he was back at our door.

It was finally agreed that Hughie could live with us. One might say that he was the man who came to dinner and stayed, but in this case it was a kitten.

If Hughie was to live with us there were going to have to be some rules and training. In fact, the way it turned out, rather then we training Hughie, Hughie began the long process of training his new foster parents. When he wanted to go out he would sit patiently by the door or when he wanted food he would meow and go to his bowl as an example. Hughie was a patient teacher.

Hughie was not satisfied with just training he also supervised the activities in the backyard. He would follow us around the yard to make sure we were doing the right thing. If we were digHughie in his roomging a hole to plant a new flower or bush, Hughie would climb into the hole to make sure it was deep enough. Once he was satisfied that everything was right he would sit on the side watching to make sure the task was satisfactory completed.

Training and gardening were not his only activity. Hughie was the only cat in the neighborhood that had his own herd of tailless lizards.

Hughie was also very health conscious and wanted to make sure his foster parents had enough exercise. Every now and then he would bring a visitor home and release him in the house and watch as everybody chased the field mouse from room to room. Hughie would watch calmly sitting in pussy cat fashion like nothing was happening.

The Kiwanis have their marathon but Hughie had his "Catch the bird race". Whenever a bird hit the patio window and fell to the ground, it was a race to see who would get to the bird first, Hughie or his foster parents.

Hughie had many animal friends in the backyard. A family in particular was the raccoons. Every night Hughie would invite them to share his dinner table with him to the consternation of his foster parents. When asked who ate all the food, Hughie would just look at you in pussy cat fashion. It took an all-night vigil to find out that the raccoons had figured out how to open the cat door. Hughie just sat on his bed and watched.

He will be remembered
His foster parents

They will not go quietly,
the cats who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.

Old habits still make us think
we hear a meow at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.

Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.

And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them. . . and always will.

- Linda Barnes

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