Jarmo and Lynch Kater

Lynch Kater and Jarmo two weeks ago

Our cat Lynch Kater (named after David Lynch and the cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's - the dubbed German version) had been living with us ever since he strolled into our apartment in Gainesville, Florida in 1996, and jumped straight onto our couch where he remained for the next 16 years - no matter which city or apartment we moved to, no matter how often we changed couches. Just at night he would curl up in Scott's arm to sleep. I think of him as our rock. Big, reliable, calm, stoic, black, warm, soft and smooth. The German word Fels might be even more fitting.

Lynch Kater on March 14th
Our cat Jarmo (originally Jarmusch, then redubbed Slow-Mo Jarmo due to his seemingly slower personality)* was the runt of a wild cat litter behind our apartment in Tallahassee, where Kater had been eying him through the sliding glass door for weeks during the summer of 1997. During a rainstorm he got separated from his family - maybe they couldn't handle how much cuter he was with his Siamese pattern.

When we took Jarmo in, he fit in the palm of Scott's hand. Jarmo was the cat that our friends described as "the lover" or even their "boyfriend". We often thought of him as a puppy; he always had to be in the center of attention, jumping on vacated chairs during a party to join the circle of conversation or come running to the door when I came home - no matter if I had just gone to the grocery store or had lived in Germany for a year.

* Over time we figured out that Jarmo was just playing sweet and innocent, even though he never reached Kater's size, he was clearly in charge of the house and the food bowl - so he was clearly not "slow".

Jarmo before my trip to Thailand and Berlin in February

On Monday, after a long and still undefined illness (despite a lot of tests, medications and nurture) we had to make the very difficult decision to put Jarmo to sleep. Having Dr. McCollough from Pet Requiem come to the house made it a more comfortable experience - especially because Jarmo didn't even have to get out of his comfy bed.

Jarmo on March 14th

Lynch Kater seemed to ignore all the proceedings and just vaguely took a short sniff later. The vet had prepared us that he might want to do that - but that the theory that cats would be differently affected by seeing their mate die vs. the other cat just suddenly being gone was something that she believed people just projected onto cats. They don't think and feel like we do.

By the end of the same week however Kater suddenly became very lethargic and from one day to the other stopped walking around. When we took him to the vet we suddenly were faced with the news that his organs were shutting down and that the sensible thing would be to put him to sleep (or hospitalize him immediately for thousands of dollars and chase a possible cause or more likely euthanize him just a few days later). We were relieved to see Kater go seemingly even more peacefully than Jarmo - even in the vet office's environment and with our lack of preparation. 

That is how we lost both of our feline friends in the same week. Maybe it's a medical coincidence - but it's hard for me to think that this is just sheer chance.

It's hard to describe the void that has suddenly been created - especially when the second cat died so unexpectedly. I think only people who are as into their pets as we are, can truly understand the pain and the loss. I'm grateful to the friends who have reached out.

So now I'll just try to keep thinking of all the wonderful times we've had with Lynch Kater and Jarmo and what a wonderful life I believe they had because we always picked apartments for them with big fenced-in backyards, so they'd be safe but could play outside. Of course, for years Kater would still have to climb one more fence just to watch us from the other side and say: hah, you can't get me you'll have to wait for me to be ready to come home.

I really wish they'd come home.

Lynch Kater and Jarmo on Monday

Because I originally thought of posting this as a Music Monday post dedicated to our cats, I'm still including the song I had in mind: "I Lost You" by A Place To Bury Strangers.

 

And for those of you who would like to see these cats bring one more smile to you (and see how Jarmo does love attention and Kater is as always Mister Stoic), please check out the Christmas Cat Wishes video we made a few months ago.