Sunday, October 01, 2017

My Parker

Parker Runyon, Our Heart and Soul (2001 - September 29, 2017)

There was a kitten that hung out in the parking lot of the courthouse where I worked. He was one of several who called the bushes and back fence home. Unlike his litter-mates, he was not afraid of humans, and would often venture close for water and food, letting himself to be pet. As I walked back into my office from the courtroom one spring day, a coworker coaxed me into the supervisor's office. There was a box, and inside was the orange kitten. My coworker was well known for her love of cats and her efforts to rescue them. I had never expressed an interest in cats. In fact, I was vehemently a dog person. I did not want a cat. I had just adopted a dog the summer before and he was the light of my life. There was no way I could take in a cat. Besides, my husband, even though he was a cat person, would never go for it. Especially not as spirited and hyper as Riley our dog was. My coworker would not take no for answer, however, and without even consulting my husband, I took the kitten to the vet where he would get a check up and be neutered.


The next day, my husband and I brought our new family member home from the cat hospital. All the books say to introduce new animals to the household slowly--and we sort of did that. Just in a day.  We bundled up Parker in a blanket, my husband with him on one side of the door and Riley and I on the other to start. There were moments I thought all was lost, but the cat and dog were best friends by night fall. They were my boys. Parker and Riley.

I loved how well they got along with each other. They played together, and while Riley wasn't much of a cuddler unless it was with me, Parker snuck in there a few times.  Where my dog Riley was hyper, Parker was the opposite. So calm and laid back. He was the friendliest cat. Company would come and he would not run for the closest hiding place. He would march out to see what who was there and maybe climb on or into their bag if they had one.


Parker was very proper in that he would not walk across or sit on anyone's lap if it wasn't covered. He would patiently wait for me to pull a blanket over my legs if I was wearing shorts, and then climb on. He loved sitting on our laps. It did not matter if Riley and later Mouse or Anya were already there. He would find a place to squeeze in. Even more so, Parker loved to lay on our chests when we were laying down. One of his favorite places to settle in was Anjin's lap and chest when Anjin was at his computer. Sometimes Parker would sit on the desk in front of the monitor and nudge my husband's hand with his head whenever Anjin reached for the mouse.


When we first brought Anya, a stray kitten, home, she and Riley hit it off instantly. Not so much Parker and Anya. It took a while, but the two grew quite close after awhile. I like to think it is because Parker and I had a talk about his responsibility of being a big brother to her, but likely he fell for the cute ball of fur just like everyone else in the household had. Parker was there for her when she was really sick and we almost lost her. He groomed her and played with her. We would often find them curled around each other napping.



Parker was not sure what to make of Mouse at first, but when she would cry, he would come running to see what was wrong. Sometimes it seemed like he was able to comfort her when Anjin and I were not able to. He was so patient with her--always. Sometimes at night when I would be cuddled in bed next to Mouse, Parker would settle half on me and half on her, purring to his heart's content. These last few months, Parker took to sleeping on our pillows by our heads at night, something I discouraged for many years and he never showed an interest in until one night I offered him the chance. He especially loved to curl up near Mouse's head.



As soon as the bath water started running for Mouse's bath, Parker was right there. He would either like on the floor towel in front of the tub as Mouse bathed or he would sit on the edge of the tub watching her play. There was one time when he fell in and just stood stalk still in the water, unsure what to do until I pulled him out.




People say dogs are more affectionate and eagerly greet you at the door when you come home after a hard day's work unlike a cat. Those people never met my cats. Parker especially was often right at the door when I opened it in each evening. He liked to wait for me in the bathroom area as I got ready for work in the mornings or bed at night. Parker always seemed to know when I needed him the most. If I was in physical or emotional pain, he would lay with me, his purrs helping to ease that pain.


Like most cats, Parker was a morning cat, and would often wake me up in the wee hours of the morning (always before my alarm was set to go off). Pluck. Pluck. Pluck. he would pluck my nightshirt or the blanket to get my attention. Sometimes mewing, but mostly just plucking. He had this habit, too, of trying to move a blanket away from my face if he thought it was covering  or too close to my mouth. When we would nap together, just he and I, he would settle in with his face just an inch or so away from my own. He liked to be close. Anjin always got a little annoyed at how Parker liked to groom his beard, but we would always end up laughing about it. 

Parker was a comforting force in our house. When I think of him, it is always how he was there for us--this solid, calm force. The worst I saw him was after Riley and Anya died four years ago. He took their deaths very hard. It is also when his health began to decline.  During a visit the Cat Hospital the November after their deaths, the veterinarian talked me into bringing home a scruffy kitten named Gracie for a trial visit, thinking perhaps Parker would like some company. His health and demeanor did improve after that. Gracie turned out to be good for all of us, I think.



Parker went through a lot in his sixteen years of life, including having a cancerous tumor removed a couple years ago and other chronic health issues involving his digestive system (Triaditis) in his later years which required him to take a variety of medications on a daily basis. In his life, he survived a move, a break in, a new baby, new cats in the home, the loss of his fur friends, and the attentions of a young child, among other events.


Parker was the inspiration for my blog's name, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. It is because of him I took on the name Literary Feline. He often would butt his head against my book or kindle while I read, and liked to lay on my books on the shelves. He sometimes would even lay on my book as I was reading if I had it laid flat on the bed. He liked to sit on my lap or chest as I read, depending on if I was sitting or laying on my back.

This past year Parker had many ups and down, adding new medications to his existing regiment. He seemed to improve considerably, only to take a turn for the worst in September. More blood tests and another ultrasound which only led to bad news. Lymphoma. Parker's condition deteriorated rapidly after the diagnosis. By then he had already lost half his weight and was unsteady on his feet. Mouse, Anjin and I took turns saying goodbye to our Parker, our heart and soul, before we visited the cat hospital for the last time.

Words that instantly spring to mind when I think of him are kind, gentle, calm, considerate and loving and oh so soft. He had the softest fur of any cat I have ever had the chance to pet. They say cats have a favorite person, but I am not sure Parker really did. He seemed to always dole his time out between us fairly. He was my first ever cat. He turned this dog person into a cat person. Losing Parker has been heartbreaking. We all loved him so much. There will never be another cat like him in our lives. 

When I think of him now, I imagine him playing with Riley and Anya, young again and happy, his purrs filling the air the way they did my heart. 









© 2017, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

29 comments:

  1. I understand it's not easy when you've to go on after losing a pet who was such a good friend. I'm sorry for your loss, Wendy. (Sending love and hugs.)

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  2. I'm sorry for your loss, I was hoping that Parker would pull through. Sending over lots of hugs for you and your family.

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  3. What an absolute sweetheart and handsome boy. I am so sorry to hear this, and know that your heart is broken. But I am glad he is not sick anymore, and that the and his buddies are together and enjoying themselves.

    Everyone at our house will say a special prayer for Parker and for all of you. Take care. God bless Parker and everyone in your family.

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  4. It is so sad to loose a beloved pet. Sounds like he really was a wonderful cat and had a good long life. That last photo you show of him is beautiful.

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  5. I know how much you loved Parker and what good care you took of him so I know this loss is tough for you. I'm sending hugs your way.

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  6. Oh Wendy, my heart goes out to you and your family.

    I'm so sorry to hear of the death of your beautiful companion. Such a beautiful tribute, Parker was obviously well loved.

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss :( Our fur babies really are our family and it's heartbreaking that they have to leave us so soon.

    It sounds (and looks) like Parker was a beautiful and much loved cat <3

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  8. What a loving tribute to Parker and what a lucky boy he was to end up in your loving care.

    CJH

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  9. Wendy, I don’t know what to say. Your post brought me to tears. I’m so sorry for your heartbreak. It’s so painful. I’m thinking of you every day. HUGS

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  10. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's really hard to lose a furry companion. You write about him beautifully.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss. It can be so tough losing a beloved pet/companion, but your memories of him are beautiful.

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  12. Oh, Wendy.....what a BEAUTIFUL, TOUCHING tribute to a WONDERFUL cat!! Your love for him, as well as that of Mouse and your husband, is very evident here. I was moved to tears as I read, and I'm not even a cat person. (I could have been, though, as you will see below.)

    Animals are nobler than many people. They love their humans unconditionally, unlike a LOT of people who have all of these expectations. Animals don't have any. They are trusting and loving. All they really want is to love and be loved.

    I've never had a pet, nor my sisters, either. The closest we came to that was when we found a stray cat once, when I was around 11, and the second oldest, Carmen, was around 9. Mom would not allow us to bring him into the house, so we secretly left saucers of milk out on the back steps for him. Whenever we went outside, we played with him, though. We even gave him a name -- "Francis". Lol. One day, a lady walking by happened to see us with Francis, and said he was her cat. She also said his name was "Mittens". (How original -- he was a tabby with four white paws.) Then she simply took him away, with hardly a "thank you" for us kids. We were so crestfallen....

    If my sister and I were so disappointed and sad after losing a cat we had barely gotten to know, I can relate -- to some extent -- to how deeply this loss has affected you and your family, Wendy. I wish I could do or say something to make you feel better. All I can do, though, is 'listen', and pray for you and you guys.

    My heart goes out to the three of you. HUGS!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3

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  13. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful kitty. He was a sweet boy. XO

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  14. Oh Wendy, I was moved to tears reading this love letter to Parker. What a special furbaby who graced your family for a long time and brought you all joy! Remember the happy times...

    I can relate so well at this moment because my own orange tabby (Beau-13 years old) has metastatic cancer that spread to his lungs. He is on steroids 2x daily or he can't breathe properly. We're hoping to "let him pass" here at home, but only time will tell how things go. I don't post anymore but I still read some blogs and yours pulled me in to comment.

    Sending good thoughts & comforting vibes to your family, so you can learn to live with this loss. Take care.

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  15. I'm so sorry for your loss, Wendy! Parker was a handsome kitty. Although I never met him in person, it's easy to see how unique he was from his pictures. I'm sending internet hugs your way.
    ~Litha Nelle

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  16. Wendy this was so beautifully written! I love seeing all the pictures of Parker with the other family members. What a sweet kitty. So sorry you all are going through this! Big hugs!

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  17. Wendy, this post was so beautiful yet so difficult to read as we lost out 14 year old cat Freckles yesterday.

    Parker’s demeanor reminded me our sweet Lily who passed in February at 14 - she had lymphoma as well.

    May the beautiful memories you have of life with Parker lessen your pain.

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  18. Oh, Wendy :( :( :( My heart goes out to you and your family. This is such an amazing write-up and tribute to Parker, evidence of what a blessing and treasure he was for all of you in these 16 years. I'm sorry he suffered, but I'm sure he felt loved every minute. oxox

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  19. It's especially hard when your furry love has grown up with your children. My cat of 17 years grew up with my kids so we all took a huge hit when he left us. I know you feel the same way.

    Diane (Bibliophile) also lost her cat of 14 years recently. So much sadness lately.

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  20. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful cat. All my sympathies for your loss, Wendy.

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  21. I am so sorry, Wendy. It is so hard to lose a member of the family and Parker sounds like he had a very important role in yours. You have a lot of great memories to treasure.

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  22. We are so sorry your Parker was needed at the Bridge. We lost our ginger girl Zuzu September 25th, and we'd like to imagine Zuzu and Parker have run into each other on the trek out to the warm, summerlands beyond the Bridge. Sending hugs and comforting purrs.

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  23. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and condolences. I truly appreciate every one of your comments. My family and I were very lucky to have Parker in our lives. I know that many of you know the strength of the bond that grows between a human and his or her animal companion.

    Thank you again.

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  24. I'm sorry to hear about Parker. You gave him a good life, what a beautiful tribute with lovely memories.

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  25. Oh Wendy I'm so sorry. I knew things weren't good with him but I was hoping it'd be okay. Parker sounds like a wonderful cat and such a character. I know you'll all miss him dearly.

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  26. A fine cat with a fine name (my maiden name) Sorry for your loss.

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  27. *tears* This is a family. Truly. This is a beautiful tribute, my friend. I am so very sorry for your loss. It is so difficult to lose them. But, they remain with us always. Footprints on our hearts do not fade. Hugs.

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  28. I'm sorry to hear that Parker is no longer with you - he was such a special cat! I adore the picture of Mouse and Parker sitting by the door!

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