LIST Birmingham September 2019





Saying Goodbye to a Feline Friend

In 2001, Jill and I went on a beach trip. At that time, it was just the two of us and the four rescue cats Jill had before we were married. The cats were indoor/ outdoor, and, when we were on trips, they had a door that allowed them to go in and out whenever they liked. When we returned home, there was a fifth cat lying on our bed. We refused to name him because four cats were enough, and we figured he would eventually go home or someone would claim him. We just called him Skinny Cat. Before long, the whole neighborhood knew him, but, no matter who he visited, he always came back to us for meals. One day, Animal Control caught Skinny, and we were told that a little boy claimed Skinny had scratched him, but we knew this couldn’t be true. Jill stopped the Animal Control truck and asked to see Skinny and speak to the kid who made the claim. She asked the kid if Skinny had scratched him, and he said no. Jill told Animal Control we would get Skinny’s shots, and, from that day on, Skinny was an Upchurch.

it. There were no broken bones. Skinny was crooked for a while,

but he eventually straightened out.

We had 18 years of Skinny adventures. He was the best hunter of all

the cats in the neighborhood

and loved to bring us live chipmunks. Jill and I spent hours

chasing the chipmunks around the house, to the total amusement of Skinny. He also always knew when we were going on a trip and would hide in the car. Once we were halfway to North Carolina when he popped his head up.

About a year later, a neighbor called to tell us our garage door was completely shut and that Skinny was caught in it. The door had completely shut on him. He was still alive,

but he had a broken back. The vet said they would see what they could do but that he would likely need to be put down. We went home and waited for the call. When it finally came, the vet laughed and said he had never seen anything like

I spent the last 18 years watching garage doors shut and triple checking the car before we go on trips to make sure that darn cat wasn’t hiding somewhere. Finally, on June 30, Skinny died. He outlived all the other cats by years. Everyone in our neighborhood knew him, and he watched Bram grow up. He lived all nine of his lives well and probably took a few years off mine in the process.

If there is a cat heaven, Skinny is chasing chipmunks there right now. Goodbye, Skinny Cat Upchurch. Thanks for the amazing memories!

-Melvin Upchurch


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