Sunday, August 09, 2009

We Remember Neelix

It was just a year ago this weekend that our sweet boy Neelix went to The Bridge. The disease that overtook him came on so swiftly that it defied our desire that he stay here with us. I always intended to write a memorial post for him, but it never quite happened - I thought now was a good time.

We got him from the local Humane Society - he was so little and had this rattly purr - turns out it was "rattly" because he was sick - even the vet said that they should not have given him to us - but I was glad that they had, because from the moment we saw him - he had a hold of both our hearts. We were big fans of the show "Star Trek Voyager" and Neelix the cat had the same orange striped pattern on his head as "Neelix the Talaxian" on that show - so he became our Neelix.

For The Shepherd, he was his "right hand man" - he snoopervised the building of the barn and outbuildings, and required a ride around the farm on The Shepherd's shoulders every evening when he got home from work.

Neelix loved the sheep and was in attendance at most lambings - pacing like an expectant father. When he knew things were all "good" - he would purr loudly - "See what we've done?" he'd say.

For as big as he got (almost 22 lbs. at one time) he had an "itty bitty" meow - left over from the respiratory illness that he had as a kitten.

He used up two of his nine lives - one time, disappearing for over a week - when he returned, he was missing his collar and was a few pounds lighter. There was a bad storm the night he disappeared and we think he'd gotten it caught in some underbrush and was only able to get loose when he'd lost enough weight to get his head out of it. I never put another collar on him after that. The other time, he got locked in our storage room out in the barn for a day and a half in the hot part of the summer. Any other cat would have put up a ruckus that we would have heard, but, as I said, Neelix's meow was no more than a tiny "mew" - Luckily, The Shepherd remembered that he'd had the door open for a few minutes the day before - when I raced out with the key to open the door I was met by one very thirsty kitty. After that, he stayed out of the storage room, that's for sure.

Neelix was the only cat I've ever had who slept on his back. He was our official farm greeter and would run out the door to meet whoever had come in the drive way.

I loved how sassy he was - He patrolled the farm and protected us from skunks (yes, he got skunked once - that was enough), and was observed knocking a young raccoon off our back porch. He had a mean left hook. Most of all, he kept the rabbit population down. The Shepherd has really missed that this spring as the rabbits have decimated his garden.

With his floofy fur, he often looked like he had a halo -

I have written almost 500 posts since I started my blog and if you look at my "labels list" you'll see that he was a part of 50 of them - such a big part of our lives.

Our friends Karla & Miss Peach wrote a beautiful poem for us that weekend. It still "makes my eyes leak" but it is a good reminder of a (not so) little fellow who was a big part of our lives.

For Neelix (and his "mom & dad") -

Close your eyes now, my longtime friend,
and let this time of suffering
come to a peaceful end.
We'll walk together soon, I'm sure,
as winter turns to spring,
when snow gives way to budding leaves
and birds begin to sing.
The gentle breeze shall call your name
along the water's edge.
For what we shared and what you meant
shall never be forgot.
Your friendship spans the years behind,
your memory ahead.
You'll always be there next to me,
companion and good friend.


Jan's Funny Farm said...

We remember Neelix. This is a nice memorial post for your handsome and loveable guy. They leave such a hole in the heart, don't they!

vlb5757 said...

When I saw your post I was saying to myself, has it been a year already? I am sure he is missed a lot. We have lost a few cats over the years and I remember like it was yesterday. He sure was a handsome cat!

Tammy said...

What a beautiful tribute to Neelix, Tina. He was such a beautiful cat, I just loved to see his big fluffy self in your pictures. What a happy fellow he must have been to have all that responsibility to snoopervise the farm. It's hard to understand when people say that cats are aloof and indifferent...while I've met a few who might be considered that, the balance were always right there about my business. I love them too.... Thanks for sharing this tribute to your dear friend, I know how hard it is to see them go. Take care,
Tammy (and my eyes are leaking too...)

thecrazysheeplady said...

A beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

Donna said...

So Tina, you made my eyes leak too. What a nice tribute. I am so sorry you had to lose him but he sure did bring a lot of happiness to your life and you his.

Leigh said...

Gosh, I can't believe that was a year ago. He was one fantastic cat.

Sharon said...

I can't believe it's already been a year. I've had a number of cats but I think each of us has had that one that lingers in our memories. For me it was Carson Kitty. He was my Neelix.

Kathy said...

I run across photos of Neelix once and a while from things you've sent me - and I miss him, too. I never met him in purrson, but through you and John.
I know he will always be a bright star in your hearts - never dimming, and showering you both with the warmth of his love for you, and yours for him. At least until you meet up again on the Trail Through The Universe...