This beautiful story was written and submitted by Anne Marie Byers. She and I connected on our shared love of cats and music. I’m grateful to her for allowing us to share her story about Argyle who is now journeying beyond the Rainbow Bridge, perhaps with Cumin!
In the spring of 2001 in a Chicago suburb...
...a feral mother cat and her kittens were making themselves at home on an outdoor patio for hospital employees to use for their breaks.
After a few weeks Animal Control picked them up, missing one small tuxedo kitten who had been off exploring.
My brother-in-law had been feeding them so he noticed the little one left behind and scooped him up and took him home that night, the alternative being unacceptable. There were already indoor cats at home so he wasn't sure how this would work out.
When we learned of the lost kitten's plight we offered to take him.
But he needed to get to California!
We knew of a Chicago-based flight attendant planning a personal leave trip to San Diego and her family lived a few blocks away from us!
Thus Argyle flew First Class and was delivered to our front door in mid-August 2001. We estimate he was about 4 months old, full of mischief and joyful to have a forever home.
Our two older cats were appalled at this intrusion into their lives!
We did a gradual introduction.
His first encounter with Prassery was a hoot! Prassery snarled and hissed at the tiny kitten at his ferocious best – Argyle rolled over on his back and waved all four socks at him, as though to say "OK, whatever."
Prassery was confused!
Our sweet Gracie soon took him under her wing and showed him the ropes and he was grateful. Soon his grooming was top notch and would remain so for the rest of his life.
And so he became our Skittery Kittery Argyle.
His mission was to entertain us and make us laugh.
He outdid himself his first Christmas
...scaling the 6-foot tree daily and more. By Christmas Day it looked like a hung over tree, ornaments on the floor (I had given up putting them back on the tree, now they were in a basket under the tree), garland askew, half the lights unplugged by a misplaced paw.
It was a mess – but it was HIS personal tree, after all. Somehow nothing got broken and he never knocked it over. He spent hours just hanging out there a very happy boy.
Argyle enjoyed many hours listening to music with us and special times with favorite vintage opera radio broadcasts from Stormy's archives, complete with commentaries and curtain calls!
His health was good until 2014
...when he was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid.
At our vet's suggestion and after much consideration we opted for an iodine radiation treatment. Unfortunately he was in the small percentage that the treatment did not work for and now he had an under active thyroid.
He would need meds for the rest of his life.
But this did not deter him, he became the most cooperative pill-taker and patient as well.
Our vet was more upset than we were at this outcome and proceeded to give him extraordinary care for the following 7 years!
He was a very regular visitor at the vet's office and deemed to be "a legend" there.
We had hoped to celebrate his 20th birthday, but his decline began shortly before that and his kidneys were giving up.
We went in for the last vet exam during the time when we could not accompany him into the office and we were distraught that we could not be with him.
Once we all agreed that it was time for him to cross over, they cleared the office so we could go into an exam room with Argyle and the vet for the last goodbye.
It was peaceful and sweet. He passed over in Stormy's arms with my hand on his head.
He will always be missed, his memory cherished, and our hearts are grateful for all the love he gave us and the good years we had together.
Dedications to my husband Stormy who without hesitation offered to take in Argyle. And diligently gave him his medicine and special care for 7 years. My brother-in-law Wade who rescued him, and his partner Eric who helped make a safe space for a lost kitten in his time of need. And our vet, Dr. Deirdre Brandes and all her staff.