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The Elf Himself

Living beyond a feline hemangiosarcoma diagnosis.

The Elf Himself

Elvis’ Story and Pictures

April 18th, 2015 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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Some background: Elvis came home to us not long after I lost my childhood cat, Twix.  Twix was 16 years old and had been living with chronic renal failure for a year.  I had/have a lot of unresolved guilt over his passing because it was violent and sudden.  Twix was such a sweetheart, always was.  I didn’t have the time or courage to give him the passing he deserved.  That was in June of 2007.

We adopted Bella from my best friend’s mom who could no longer keep her in July, and I believe I took Vesuvius in for a routine visit in August when my vet said, “I have someone to show you.”  She took me in the back room where they had a horde of kittens at the time, dug through a box like she was trying to find a toy, and produced this amazing orange kitten and shoved him in my arms.  “This is Elvis.  Don’t you love him?”  We looked each other in the eyes, and he started purring, and it was over.  I didn’t want a cat right then, I’m pretty sure I said “but, but, but” as she lead me back.  My heart had other plans.

Much like Twix, Elvis was a lover.  Much like Twix, he had a host of medical issues starting fairly young.  He was always anxious, had issues with anxiety and overgrooming starting as at around two years old.  Two years ago he had to have a PU surgery.  Last year he was diagnosed with the thankfully benign vestibular syndrome… interestingly enough, another condition far more common in canines.  I’m not thinking rationally now, but there’s a pessimist in me saying his body was breaking down slowly, and if there’s anything greater than us in this world, it wanted him back.

The bright side of all this is over the past several months, I have come to realize something important.  He was his own cat, no doubt about it, but he was also life’s way of giving me eight more years with my childhood best friend.  And I was Elvis’ second chance, because he’d already been given back once before.  We made promises to each other.  I couldn’t keep the promise that cancer wouldn’t take him.  That was out of my hands.  But we never gave up on each other, and I was able to give him the end days that I couldn’t manage for Twix.

Starting with the halcyon days of kittenhood…



This is why we call him “Elf”… as you can see, he has big, pointy ears.







There was a little consternation (lol) on first meeting, but they’ve been best friends since then.



I think Bella is going to miss him as much as I do.



With his boy.



I don’t like to put pictures of myself on the internet, but this is one that had all of them so close together.



Some things never change.



His final picture, taken a few weeks ago.  He wanted to be made into the bed.  He always loved being under the blankets with us.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Codie Rae

    Thank you for sharing more of Elvis’ story with us. It is easy to see why you fell in love with him right off the bat. And he grew up into such a sweet, beautiful boy.

    It looks like Twix knew what he was doing when he sent you Elvis 🙂

    These first days are so hard but I hope you can find some peace in knowing you did the right thing by Elvis. I know it sounds trite right now but the pain will slowly ease and one day you will be filled with smiles instead of tears as you remember your special boy.

    Martha, Codie Rae, and the Oaktown Pack

    • Jo

      Martha (et al. 🙂 ), thank you so much. He’s a beautiful guy, and also a beautiful soul. I loved his nose, eyes and his long Siamese toes best of all.

      I hope he will help open our hearts and home to another animal in need in the future.

  • benny55

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt tribute. Just lovely.

    As you have already grasped, clearly our animals come into our lives to teach. Twix came to teach you a lot of lessons…and you learned them well. He is sooo proud of you! Each dog or cat teaches you how to do be better…to love better.. “next time” around. Some may say part of Twix’s soul energy is intertwined with the soul of Elvis. And he knows you got the lesson.

    It’s weird. I know so many (including myself), who had that exact same learning lesson from our younger days when were less wise and less enlightened.

    These pictures of your little Elf and of Bella…PRECIOUS!! What an adorable pair. And the one of the three of you together…I’m so glad you shared that treasured memory with us. The love, the contentment, the united hearts…so special.

    Elvis was such a cute kitten a d grew up I to a very handsome boy. Love the coloring on his face.

    I know this grief seems like it will never end. It does essen. The sad part is always there, but it does get pushed further and further into the background.

    We are here for you and we understand far too well.
    When you love this hard, you grieve hard too.

    Try and remember the thousands of days of joy you shared. That’s what Elvis wants you to focus on.

    Thank you so much for this lovely tribute…and we look forward to more photos of the family!!!

    I shall light a candle for Elvis tonight as a reminder that his bright light can never be dimmed.

    Sending love and hugs,

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

    • Jo

      Sally, I am so grateful for your words. It’s already easy to look back at the more distant memories and smile or laugh, much harder to do the same with the most recent.

      He was with us for about 2,800 days. When you break it down like that, it seems like a long time…

      He is irreplaceable, as they all are, but I hope our family is able to experience his brand of love again some day.

  • jerry

    Oh this is so beautiful, what a sweet tribute to Elvis and your time together. Pawrents like you don’t come along every day, just like cats such as Elvis. The two of you made an inspawrational pair that shows what amazing gifts and beauty animals can share with us when we have the wherewithal and patience to be good students. Thank you for giving us a peek into your lives.

    We didn’t get nearly enough time with your sweet boy but I have no doubt that his spirit isn’t going anywhere. Elvis has NOT left the building, he will always be here to show that even when nasty cancer plays unfair, there can still be good quality of life inbetween. I thank you so much for sharing that with us.

    • Jo

      Jerry (and family), I’ve deeply appreciated the warmth and sincerity of all the comments, but yours has been the most helpful. Death is big struggle for me. I’d like very much to know he will always be here in some way.

      He was a gift. They all are. Thank you so very much.

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