The King Flies Away

I remember Tink when he was a kitten, wild and free.

He’s been the gentle King of the roost for 13 years, his constant happy face and comical ways, his capacity to love back at you, at anyone, everyone, was astonishing really. The humble happy King was he. He never lorded status though. He was authentically humble, a good king. His last wish to me was to appoint Rocky as his heir to the throne, and to please continue giving the children wet food after I’m gone, since he understood that as top cat he’d pretty much always taken care of that.

I had to buy tons of lysine for Tink – he had that runny eye herpes syndrome, he had it often and worse than any of the other cats. He was the number one Herpes concern, and he often had to be treated for severe nose-clogging outbreaks. Tink still loved to eat even when his nose was stuffy, which I thought was an unusual adaptation and showed smarts. Most cats will not eat if they can’t smell the food, congestion can be fatal if they stop eating. (force the issue by plopping a spoonful of wet food on their forepaw or foreleg, they have to lick it off in order to clean up the mess you just made, and often that will kickstart the appetite) His herpes was constantly being managed and I was always so glad to see him the times when he would be clear, and would start him on lysine and warm sponging when the symptoms appeared, but after a few years I just kept him on lysine all the time.

Tink was a joy really, a little package of happiness, golden colored, sleek and sweet. He was also the papa of most of the younger cats in the colony, he was finally coaxed in and neutered after he was already a year and a half or so, but he had his heyday, and all of Elsa’s kittens came from him. And all the rest came from Elsa’s kittens. So he was the great-granddaddy. All were at last spayed and neutered in 2009-10. Today we are one less smiling face than we had yesterday.

Because Tink passed away last night. He wasn’t sick, he was just old and tired, he’d been slowing down for weeks and finally just stopped. He tried for a while to fight it, he loved life and didn’t want to let go, but finally died in his sleep on a soft cushion cup next to the heater, under a makeshift tent.
We buried him this morning in the garden and a rose will go there next spring.
It’s calm, a gentle rain is falling, but there’s a kind of echo in the air without the little golden man Tink tiptoeing around.

Tink and Bitsy 2009