A Tribute to Antioch Casey Blues

On August 11, 1992, Champion Antioch Easter Lily presented me with a litter of five kittens. She was very proud of these little wonders. She gave me the gift of her trust, and allowed me to touch them.

In October, I discovered that I would have to undergo major surgery. I was very frightened by this. In early November, I had a minor surgery, to delay the need for the major one, and to allow the doctors to do more tests. In late December, my surgery was performed. My mother came to help me for the first few weeks, and when I entered the house, I found that a hospital bed had been set up in our living room. I arranged myself on the bed and fell asleep. A few hours later, I woke to the aroma of my husband's culinary efforts. I asked for a glass of water...

At the sound of my voice, every cat in the house came running! They flooded onto my bed, greeting me with purrs and kisses. Even Lily's five month old kittens came. After some moments of investigation and greeting they each wandered off to resume some feline activity... all but one. The one that remained was a blue kitten I had been calling "Jericho". "Jerri" stayed with me as the other cats and kittens left, and settled down next to me in the sheets as if he were planning to be my nursemaid. In fact, that is exactly what he had decided. He was my constant companion for eight weeks, rarely leaving my side.

As I played with this kitten, I discovered that if I would hold a feather tease-toy in the air, this kitten would sit up and wave his front paws, Benji-the-dog-style. He soon learned that if he did this, the toy would be brought down again to within his reach. Soon, all I had to do was touch the ceiling with any stick, and the begging would commence. I was delighted by this "trick" and I decided I was not going to sell this kitten.

Soon after, I registered him "Antioch Casey Blues". Casey was to comfort me through difficult times for his entire life. As he had done when I arrived home after the surgery, Casey always seemed to have an uncanny empathy for my emotional and physical feelings.

I recall one day, having a muscular cramp in my shoulder. I settled down on the couch, sore and tired. I wanted a heating pad, but did not know where to look. This was one of those times when one hurts so badly that getting up and looking for pain killers or a heating pad seems to be too much to undertake.

Casey came to me as I lay there. At first, I refused him. Then, he sat up and begged. What could I do? I gave up and let him walk across my chest. He came to my shoulder, and precariously lay down on it. Soon, the warmth of his body heated the area, and I began to feel better. He cuddled with me many times in his life, and always seemed to know what to do to make me feel better.

It was obvious that Casey was able to reason. He soon learned that begging was the door to "mommy's" heart. He would beg for anything he wanted. He would beg at the screen door if I sat outside on the porch. He wanted to join me. He begged if he was caged, even for a few minutes, to travel to the vet's office. I did not teach him to transfer the begging from the toy to other things he wanted, Casey just "figured this out".

Before long, Casey decided it was his duty to provide for the entire group of queens who lived with him. He took this very seriously. At 10 PM every night, he would come to the foot of the couch, and beg. This was the time when all the cats were fed a big plate of canned cat food in the kitchen. The interesting thing was, Casey was not a big fan of canned cat food. He would beg and whine at me until I got up from my movie to feed everyone. When the food was being prepared, he would stand on his hind legs, and beg and whine. However, when the food was put down on the floor, he would taste it a bit, and then leave the rest of the crew to eat it.

When daylight savings time came, and the clocks were changed, Casey would be off a bit. He might come and beg an hour early or late for awhile after the clocks changed. Then, gradually, he would come earlier or later, until the time was adjusted, and he was back on schedule. Casey was so regular, that I could have set my clock by him on most days.

Casey was a real guy, not a sissy neuter! He knew about girls, and had "recreational encounters" with them. Just because he had "that delicate operation", did not mean he was not a fully functioning guy! One of our females, Hosca Kal Aktris Scarale, loved these "encounters" so much that she would not allow our stud cats to breed her. After her first litter, she was lost as a breeding queen, because she loved Casey so much. I would take her to the stud, and she would refuse. Later, I would give up, and she would rush up to Casey and begin kissing him and hugging him. Then, they would have another "encounter".

The refusal of "Triss" to be bred by our potent males, was a great loss to me, because "Trissy" as she is called, is the mother of Grand Champion Antioch Thank Heaven 4 Little Girls, CFA's best Turkish Angora for the 1996-97 show season. We would have liked to have a little sister or brother from the next litter, but Trissy would have no one but her love, Casey. I guess I really do not mind... who can stand in the way of TRUE LOVE?

The other aspect of Casey's prowess as a "guy" was the way he took credit for every kitten born in our house. He doted on them, kissing them, hugging them, taking them to bed with him, and entertaining them. I never saw him dish out "discipline" on any of "his" kittens. He was always gentle and loving as a father should be.

In 1998, Casey was ill. He saw three vets, a total of five times, between February and May. After a dietary change, and some medication, Casey regained the weight he had lost, and seemed to feel better.

On May 14, 1998, I came home from work, and threw myself on the bed, in exhaustion. Casey was there as always, to comfort me. He stood on my chest and made "kitty biscuits", bumped my head with his forehead in affection, and whined at me. He flopped down next to me, and lay on his back, begging for "tummy tickles". Suddenly, and without warning, he jumped off the bed and was violently ill, and I rushed him to the vet, ten minutes away.

Casey fought for his life that week. He would allow me to do anything... anything, to treat his troubles. On May 22, 1998, faced with further suffering, and no chance for recovery, I was forced to say goodbye to my friend and sent him before me to the Smaller Gate. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made.

Casey was more than a remarkable cat. He was sent to me during one of the toughest times in my life, and he seemed to know that loving me was his calling. Casey loved me with a single-minded devotion. He loved me with every fiber of his being. There will be many cats in my life, but Casey was the one who comes along once in a lifetime. His short presence in mine was a blessing from heaven. I believe I will find him there, waiting for me.

Painting by Thomas Kinkade

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