Elvis came into our lives late one night in May 1999. We were living in an apartment, which was filled with abandoned strays that I had been feeding. For no reason at all, I peeked out of the curtains and saw the loveliest fuzzy gray and white kitten licking the concrete where the food had been. It broke my heart and it was love at first sight.
I spent the summer using food to tame him. He was big and loud, and he had sharp claws. But he was always just out of reach of humans, seemingly wanting to be closer. In September, we had a storm coming through Tampa and I didn't want him out in the weather. So I scooped him up and brought him in. My older cat Ziggie was not pleased. But they quickly settled into a working truce.
Over the next few months, the kitten came in and out of the apartment as I was able to lure him in. We hadn't given him a name until Garry came home one day and asked, "So, is Elvis in the building?" I don't know who I was fooling by not giving him a name. He was always going to be my cat. Thus began my time with Elvis.
Elvis was stubborn. Everything was his way or no way. When we moved into the house in 2001, I kept him inside for a month. It was a long, noisy month as we listen to non stop yowling about how much this cat wanted to be outside. We hadn't built the screened patios (lanai in Florida) yet but we noticed that everyone in the neighborhood let their cats out without any problems. When we let him out, Elvis quickly established domain over our yard and several others around us. He became the scourge of Lake Saxon Drive.
He loved to hunt. We've had our share of dead birds, squirrels, and snakes. He cleared up a long standing mouse problem for a neighbor, who was most grateful for the service. I couldn't argue with him much because he ate everything he killed. As he got older, he no longer killed anything. He'd just bring his catches home and let them go in the back lanai. I've released an assortment of panicked birds and squirrels and one terrified rabbit.
As Elvis got older, we realized he had dyspepsia in his hips and that arthritis would be a problem for him. Otherwise, as the vet noted, Elvis was in perfect health. He remained that way for many years until recently, when we found him in the garden, unable to walk. He had developed an abscess (cause unknown) and we took him back and forth to the vet for treatment.
We ended up keeping Elvis in the house again for two weeks because we had to give him antibiotics. Garry and I discussed keeping him in permanently. The question became who would we be doing it for? Us? Elvis? In his usual fashion, Elvis let us know his feelings on the topic. He wanted out!
So we let him back out and everything seemed fine. Last Saturday, while trying to get Elvis to eat, I flipped the kitty door closed. Garry went out later and opened it for him. He went trotting across the yard like he always does and plopped down in the garden in a favorite spot. That was the last either of us saw of him. We knew that he was coming in and eating because his food, treats, and crunches were disappearing. We kept calling and looking and hoping but no Elvis.
Then, this morning, when I went out to put feed in the bird feeders (we have a fenced area for them), I spotted his body on the side of the house. We're not sure what happen to him. The vet said it could have been any number of things. We didn't have him autopsied. We didn't see the point. Sometime over the next few days, he will be cremated. Believe it or not, it's legal in Florida to be buried with cremated pets. I plan on going off to the great beyond with Ziggie and Elvis tucked on the right side of my feet...where they both wanted to be at night.
I'm going to miss my handsome boy Elvis, just like I still miss my sweet girl Ziggie. If you've read this post to this point, thank you for indulging me in honoring the life of Elvis Treme, a four footed friend, a hell of a character, a cat who lived his life on his own terms. I loved him dearly.
March 1999 to 19 Dec 2012