Last week started off on a happy note, we had a surprise visitor on site and were able to find him a home. The week took a turn for the worse, though, and I have to confess that I have been bummed out since Friday, when I received some bad news on the job. In the interest of topicality, I decided to wait until today to reveal my melancholy mood.
Back in 1998, my former co-worker Peter, who relocated to Virginia a few years ago, found a tiny gray fuzzball in his neighborhood and named it after basketball great Moses Malone. He brought Moses the kitten to work, where he found employment as a mouser. Moses pretty much had the run of the property for a good fifteen years, and came to be loved by staff and visitors alike. When I started working here in 2006, I was immediately taken by the cat, with his luminous amber eyes and his silky gray fur. I'm a cat person to begin with, the family always had cats when I was growing up. Moses was something special- I've met many wonderful cats in my day, and Moses ranks pretty high up in the pantheon of felines.
Last Thursday, when the three site cats were brought in to the local animal hospital for their annual checkups, the veterinarian noted that Moses had lost two pounds since his last vet visit late last winter. Moses had been looking a little gaunt lately- he had been on thyroid medication for a couple of years, and had had a couple of teeth pulled recently. Well, on Thursday, the veterinarian discovered that Moses had an inoperable cancerous tumor in his mouth. The site manager who brought the cats in to the veterinarian returned to the site and revealed the bad news to everyone. He contacted Peter, who had found Moses and brought him to share in our work and our lives. Peter gave his consent to the agonizing decision to euthanize Moses to end his suffering. Today, the site manager is bringing Moses to the veterinarian who had taken care of him during his tenure here for the last time. As you can imagine, everyone in the organization is devastated. The plan is to cremate Moses' remains and scatter his ashes throughout the site he "ruled" for fifteen years after a memorial service.
When Moses was a kitten, Peter would place him in the hood of his sweatshirt in the colder months, and Moses would snuggle in it, contented. As an adult cat, Moses loved to jump on his human friends' shoulders and would often stay on one's shoulders for up to half an hour while one went about one's tasks. Here's a picture of Moses sitting on my shoulders on Christmas 2011, the most attractive "scarf" that I have ever worn:
This moment was captured by the talented Zombie Rotten McDonald. I will bring the sketch into work when we conduct our memorial service for our beloved coworker.
Our company e-mail server has been filling up with eulogies of Moses. One former co-worker sang his praises, and put him in the great company of mousers that have guarded mills and granaries since time immemorial. A great and admirable bunch! Another coworker related a touching story about a pair of cat lovers who met Moses on a visit to our site:
Our good friend Moses was sitting - posing, more like - on a bench... A middle age couple came by - instantly recognized as cat people - and began admiring Moses as so many visitors have.
Of course, I happily regaled them with his who and what abouts. Then, as he scratched Mo on the head and chucked his chin, the gentleman declared simply:
"Yep, he's the right cat for this place!"
Just that; not a word more or less.
Yep, Moses in summation, ..."The right cat for this place"
The right cat for this place indeed... the place won't be quite the same without him. Goodbye, Gray Mouser, you will remain forever enshrined in the hearts of your coworkers.
NOTE: Post title *yoinked* from Fritz Leiber.