John Cawley
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Frames of Time...

051_04 - Bell Bottom Cat
This handsome fellow is Sef.

Sef is one of a long line of shelter cats we've given our home to. I say "given" since most cats take charge of a home and allow you to remain. In that way, they are much like the bank that holds your mortgage.

Sef was one of our most unique residents. He was polydactyl. This means he had six toes. In fact, he had six toes on each paw. His name came from this unique quality. Sef stood for "six each foot".

Sef joined our family in typical small kitten fashion, but quickly grew into a full sized cat. But he didn't stop there. He continued growing into a "super-sized" puss as the bottom (perhaps slight pun intended) image shows.

However, no matter how large his body got, he remained a small cat inside. Through his entire life he emitted the tiniest, wimpiest, "meow". When bothered he would bat his paw madly in the air towards the source of irritation, never really making an effort to hit the source. We often referred to him as a "sissy" cat.

His sissy personality, along with his immense size, gave us a good many laughs. A favorite routine was to put him in one of our cat scratching areas. It was like a log with a hole in it. All the cats would run into the carpeted log shape and hop out of the hole. Not Sef. We would place him in front of the hole. He would leap through the hole and then struggle to pull his bottom through. We often joked his online tag would be "ton of fun".

The other cats often picked on him, so he found company with our canine kids. For this reason we also called him a dog in a cat's body. He would sit around with them, even eat out of their food bowl with them. As he got larger, he got more confident and would venture around. He also found a new friend when we adopted Dante, our little grey cat.

Sadly, Sef suffered a number of health problems from his youngest days. Most noticeable was his sinus problem. He would wander around sniffling and sneezing. His sneezes always were causing a most disgusting mucus to exit his nose. The brownish substance would stick to almost any surface and be unremovable by any cleaning solution. Less noticeable were ear mites that gave him continual ear itch and a heart murmur.

His size and agility made medication difficult. When trying to pill him, he would struggle with such strength he could knock me off my feet. Even at the vet, it took several folks to hold him down to administer a shot.

The end of his time with us came quickly and, painfully. He was having his usual morning, when he went upstairs to get some breakfast. Suddenly we heard a strange crying from him. I rushed up to find him lying on the floor, twitching madly. We wrapped him in a blanket and rushed him to our vets. By the time we got there, it was obvious he had had a stroke. Most of his body was cold and lifeless. We all knew his time had come. The vet stated Sef's circulation was almost gone. The vet actually had trouble locating a vein to administer Sef's final shot. A shot he did not struggle against.

Sef's sudden departure, only two days before Christmas, was a gigantic shock. However, like others we have lost, his spirit is still with us. When we look at the scratch post, it is not hard to imagine him struggling to get out. We still mimic his sissy meow. The walls still show signs of his sneezing. Luckily his health problems are over, and Sef is with some of the dogs he grew up with.

We still have a bit of Sef here. Due to his unique physical nature, we kept one of those big, six-toed paws and had it mounted. It currently hangs over our front door.

You can see more pix of Sef at his memorial.

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