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Tom the Cat - Remembering a Friend Print E-mail
Aug 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM

(b. 1998 (?) - d. August 19, 2012)


August 20, 2012 (copied from a posting to the Feline Diabetes Mellitus Board on the web). 


Tom is gone. 

Yesterday morning, Sunday August 19 2012 about 00:20 (shortly after midnight), Tom the cat, whom the "regulars" of a few years on this support forum for diabetic cats knew as a "Levemir cat" who moved rapidly into remission in 2009, passed away in an emergency medical clinic in his beloved Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 

On the previous Thursday, about four days ago in the depth of night, he had a massive seizure, probably accompanied by a stroke. He was rushed to a clinic at 5 AM, and briefly appeared to recover. He was discharged, but he relapsed into seizures the evening of the same day, and the scene of the early morning rush to the clinic was repeated; and repeated again the following evening, in spite of attempted interventions by several doctors. Based on testing, it was determined that Tom was suffering from an unidentified neuropathic disease unrelated to his diabetes (into which he had relapsed a year and a half ago but which was largely under control -- in fact his doses had been decreasing significantly). Insulin-wise he had been down to .5 U and descending rapidly, showing ability to "coast" - possibly toward another remission, I thought. 

Tom was an amazing friend and companion. During his insulin therapy, when he first went into remission, I was convinced that we were in psychic communication; the second time, when he relapsed, we were communicating as well, but on that occasion, I was unsettled by what he was telling me. In hindsight his symptoms, which had shown up over the previous 10 months, some of them mistaken for diabetic hypoglycemia episodes, were largely consistent with a brain tumor, which would have subjected him to a series of seizures of increasing severity. At time of death Tom was 14 years old (estimate). We were with him, of course. 


That's the clinical narrative. Personally, my wife and I are shattered, I am inconsolable, and Tom's two feline companions, Wendell and Luna, are missing him already -- I don't know how to comfort them nor can I explain to anyone how it is that cats grieve profoundly, but I know now that they do; plus Sashi, our adopted shih tzu, is worried about the lot of us. We've saved and cared for many felines over the last decade -- all thanks to Tom, because he provided to us such an example of what cats can be, and literally opened our eyes to an astonishing dimension of nature, a dimension whose existence had been unknown to us. Before I met him I never thought twice about cats, and in fact there didn't need to be anything larger than life about Tom for us to love him - but there was, which was in itself part of the paradox. His unassuming air and reticence concealed all these qualities. 

Handsome to the last, Tom was a "common" mackerel tabby and the most quiet, inconspicuous and most modest of cats. He never bothered anyone, never put a paw wrong. He didn't walk through the garden, he flowed around each plant and leaf. I not only loved him deeply, I admired him -- it may sound ridiculous to say this about a "mere cat," but he was better than I am in so many ways. Even his habits were virtues. He was a hunter with a respectful and healthy honor of his environment; he loved nothing more than the garden, where he never harmed a leaf. He didn't want to be coddled and he was not a lap cat, but he let my wife groom him as he circled around and around, wanting each side to be set right. He was a bit of a gourmand, and he loved sushi -- but we could leave tuna sushi or sashimi on the coffee table within easy reach and leave to go shopping, and if Tom knew it was not for him, he would not touch it. He was supremely decent. Once at our home in Texas we lost him for hours and found that we had locked him in a garage. He had needed to go to the bathroom (No. 2) and since he was fastidious it was a dilemma where to do the deed; but he found a 7-inch high flower pot with some dirt in it; he knocked it over with his paw, scooped out the dirt, went in that and covered it up. Our boy. 


images/stories/tomporchredux3.pngYesterday afternoon, still the same day he passed away, we drove an hour and a half to get to a lot we own in the Valley. I had to dig and claw for two hours, through limestone and shale to get the right depth; the handle broke off the shovel and to break the remaining rock and shape the chamber I resorted to a claw hammer I had in the car, but now Tom rests securely in a vault of his beloved soil in the Shenandoah karst on a gentle slope among trees in Basye, VA. It is the town where we originally met him in 2002. From there, in 2003, he had moved to Houston, TX, and then back to Virginia. He was great to travel with. Last October, in the middle of our move from Texas back to the east coast, we learned that my brother in law, who lived in the Northeast US, had passed away. There was no one to whom I could turn over the task of giving Tom microdoses of insulin, so I took him with me. He flew with me in a carry bag from Texas to Dulles Airport in DC, then to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The following day I drove him North to the funeral, and then flew him back to Texas, only to complete the interrupted move -- thus I drove him with two other cats and our dog, from Texas back to Virginia, the place where Tom had just been a few days earlier! All in less than one week, and in all this time he never complained. I could let him out of his carry bag to go to the litter pan in the footwell of the car, at speed, and he would do what he needed to and then re-take his place without a meow of protest. But it was his silent companionship, his somehow inspiring and beatiful spirit, which we appreciated so much and which moved us so deeply. Indeed, there is a peace that passeth understanding, and we know Tom is there now. 

Fly free, our boy, our sweet, sweet boy. We hold you in our hearts. 




As far as we know, Tom is from Basye. He came to our door one day in 2002 (aged 3 or 4 according to our vet) and I said, "don't feed that cat, because if you do, he will come back." Of course when I was gone, my wife Barbara fed him anyway, and how right she was to follow her heart. Little did I know it was Tom the Cat. 

I'd like to share a story (of vortex relevance) about this quiet, remarkable, unassuming cat. Before I do, I should note that cats are not noisy to begin with, but Tom's silence was a quality even people who didn't particularly notice or care about cats, did notice. There was a palbable silence, if such an expression makes sense, around him - sort of an envelope of the ethereal, and a deep calm. An unruly pitbull once broke his chain next door and, all agressive, came to our walkway in Texas; Tom was sitting a foot, two feet away, by a shrub but not hidden by it; Tom did not move, nor did he look frightened in his ninja silence, and the pitbull did not see him as I got hold of if its collar and dragged him back to his own house. These vignettes repeated: Barbara's mother did not like cats very much, but about Tom she said, "quiet little thing, isn't he?" Quiet, and alive, I would say. 

So here is the episode I would like to share with you. Tom was not particularly sociable -- with other cats, not at all, and with people, only under certain circumstances which allowed him to connect with someone. Often these circumstances provided by something natural. For instance, if I was in the garden or yard, working with the soil or plantings, he was fascinated, as if he understood and honored in me this respect of the environment, and he would always be a couple of feet away, observing. In return I took a particular interest in how he related to his surroundings, especially in the garden. One day after we had already adopted him, I was watching Tom in a part of the garden where the previous owners had planted delicate long-stemmed flowers which were too fine to stand much of a wind. It had rained earlier in the day and the stalks were helter skelter, forming a kind of botanical obstacle course, the whole looking like a Japanese water color. Rocks like large sleeping turtles had been placed among the plantings, and made a semi-concealed interior walkway through a labyrinth. I watched Tom perched on one of them, scanning what was before him, and then I saw him leap gently forward into the thicket, navigating around each stem and long leaf, seeming to change shape while elevated; he went through like a current of air. Perhaps he brushed something, but not that I could see. It was a brief moment, but I was riveted. 

Reflecting on this later, and recalling exactly what I had witnessed, I marvelled at the agility of cats, and the heightened awareness Tom displayed. I also returned to something I how puzzled about before: how cats see. I began to consider the possibility that it wasn't so much that Tom knew how to avoid the physical stalks and leaves of the garden, but rather that he might actually perceive, not only the stems, but some kind of energy field through the lattices of which he knew how to pass. Other observations of the eye movements of cats had already led me to hypothesize about this topic, and I am fairly convinced that science will soon learn more about the unique properties of feline vision - not just night vision, which caused the ancient Egyptians to worship the cat as a spirit of the underworld (or afterlife) because for Egyptian theology the ability to see at night equated to a role, for the cat spirit, in guiding the souls of the images/stories/tomsresthoriz4.pngdead to heaven; but I also think eventually scientists will become interested in the general topic of feline receptivity to optical wavelengths outside of the human range. The cult of the cat goddess Bastet aside, and as stated elsewhere on this site, science tells us plainly that what we see, the visible universe, is part of the electromagnetic spectrum of energies -- but only a narrow sliver of the whole. [image: Tom's resting place on a wooded slope in the Basye Vortex. From the top of the hill, the view is toward the Appalachian mountains.]

The wavelength of the light we see determines the colors we perceive, and visible light is received by us in a specific wavelength of about 380 to 780 nanometers. Outside of that, on "both sides" (either higher or lower frequencies of vibration) we are blind. This is the scientific reason we need to reject the falsely common sensical notion that if we do not see or experience something, it does not exist -- nearly all of the existing universe is beyond human sensory perception and indeed, it has all been beyond our knowledge, like dark matter, which science proved by inference. But animals, while embodied like us, have different sensitivities and ranges of perception and learning more about what all of that means can become an important field of study. When Tom looked at a person, it was often not "at" the person but around the person, as if his eyes were following a nebulous horseshoe-shape of energies around the figure, perhaps observing what some people refer to as "the aura." When he looked at me, it was like he was reading a kind of braille script in the light around me. I do lend credence to the idea that he was actually seeing something in the supposed "empty space" because I saw that his eyes were very focused and actively making little adjustments while he looked there, taking in very detailed visual information -- not unfocused, as they are when we are deep in thought, and not really seeing, as even the eyes of cats can be when the cat is not targeting anything specific. I am not implying at all that Tom was the only one with the gift of seeing outside the human visible spectrum - only that with him was the first time I really started to think about this topic more objectively and scientifically. My thoughts returned to it often in the following days and weeks, and months, especially in relation to the lattice of energies in the Orkney Springs - Basye area. In other words Tom had a lot to do with the beginnings of the Basye Vortex website. It seemed to be a gift he had -- of catalyzing awareness of the unseen, the unknown, the underappreciated. 

My wife made up a little song she used to sing to Tom -- it is to the tune of a familiar children's song, and it repeat stanza went like this:


My Tom means everything to me

He brightens up my day.

He's good, he's great

He is first rate,

His name is Tom the Cat.

And he is where it's at -

His name is Tom the Cat.

("The Tom Song" - lyrics © B. Rosen, All Rights Reserved)


























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