my best bud's cat, claude, had to be euthanized this morning. he was nearly 19. after battling a kidney disease for two weeks, it was time. in her words, murph said :”he was vocal and opinionated to the very last, protesting when the vet had trouble finding a vein for the pre-euthanasia sedative. at almost 19 years old, he had a long, happy, and very well-fed life.”

claude was no ordinary cat. he was a thousand pound cat. ok, ok, so i exaggerate a little. but claude never met food he didn't like. we would taunt claudie — we'd say “claude – food!” and claude would perk up, prick up his ears, and look expectantly for some tasty morsel. claude was a big boy.

and friendly, too. i remember years ago, crashing at murph's apartment in NC before our big road trip to Athens, GA (where we were going to try to find REM. if that wasn't a goof.) i slept on the floor. a humungous claude stood over me and gave his characteristic call in the morning: “Wowwwwww, wowwwwwww!” yep. i dunno who you are, bitch, but it is time to feed ME. he followed me into the bathroom, and, i daresay he would have followed me into the shower. unlike murph's other cats, he was a very friendly guy.

when BC was very small, i took her to meet claude. she LOVED him. he sat patiently for a time, letting her gaze on his massive beauty. then, he was done. BC's first lesson in the world of cats: don't ever think they are there for you. you are there for them.

i have a wonderful picture of claude sitting near a pumpkin. when i was a producer at AOL many, many years ago, i used to use this picture as filler on pages i built. it was too funny. if claude wasn't grey and furry, you might mistake him for the pumpkin 😉

but my favorite still is claude with santa. i shall have to find that one and post it. yet another picture taken (with proceeds going to the local ASPCA of course, just like the pumpkin pic) showing claude's personality. there he is, large and in charge, sitting on some teen-aged looking santa. he takes up the entire lap, and then some. i help my husband celebrate xmas every year, and every year, i try to bring out this photo. it is just that funny.

i will miss claudie. i don't know how i will explain to BC that claudie is no longer here. but i sure loved that cat. in the back of my mind, i always figured that if g-d forbid something ever happened to murph, i would take claudie in. nevermind my colossal allergies. i would manage. he was worth it.

i hope someone has a big-ass bag of kitty treats for him, wherever he is.

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