Sunday, June 27, 2010

This one goes out to Lance Flame!

I am a dog person. I mean, I think you probably already knew that given the whole 'pupsinteacups' thing.

However I do have 2 cats of my own and live with 2 other cats. I love three of them. I mean they are animals so of course I love them.

But one? Oh, 1 used to be the sole apple of my eye (until Chief came and stole it, core and all :-)

His name is Lance Flame the Wonder Cat. And he really prefers if you shake your hands above your head when you say his name (he also likes you to say his name while you are spanking him but that is a whole other PG-13 rated blog).

Out of all my years as a veterinarian I have never met a cat like him. Sure I have met other bossy flame point Siamese. I have met cats that stole things... to punish you. I have met cats that were snuggle love bugs.

I have never met a cat that was all of those things and more.

Lance has ruled the house for nearly a decade and a half at a whopping 22 pounds. Did I mention he was a big boy?

When I first met him, at 4 weeks old, he could fit in the palm of my hand, glaring at me with those GLACIAL blue eyes of his. But he was so very sick. It took literally months of fluids, antibiotics, force-feeding and love to get him through.

Since then he has been the epitome of health...

Until last month when he was stricken with cancer. I can't tell you the devastation. No amount of fluids, antibiotics, force-feeding or even love will get him through this time. He is melting before our eyes.

To be a veterinarian and know that with all your skills and knowledge and experience you can't save your own cat?

There has been weeping and bawling and bargaining with God. But alas, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Lance is being called home.

So my Roomie and I have been preparing for it. What will life look like without Lance to tell us what to do every second of every day? I know we will feel unmoored.

Usually after the death of a pet, I wait until I feel ready, then go rescue another animal. It makes me feel better to do something proactive and positive.

However, with Lance and his Sultan mentality, both my Roomie and I felt that it would maybe not be honoring his memory to bring another cat into the household, and let's face it NOBODY can replace Lance Flame the Wonder Cat (and yes, one hand was up in the air doing 'jazz hands' while I typed that).

We discussed in depth whether or not to get another cat and made the connected decision to not replace him (because how could we)...


What came into my Roomie's clinic?

Um... a FEMALE Orange tabby (ok, rare enough) that clearly is a Siamese cross (ok, lots rarer) with BLUE eyes - ok, that really should be genetically impossible.

Oh and did I mention she is PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!

So yes, a pregnant stray cat came into my Roomie's clinic the day after we decided not to get another cat! And the chances she is carrying a male flame point? Um, pretty darn high.

It is like Lance heard that we weren't getting another cat and talked to the big guy about it. I mean, if we aren't going to go out looking, how is Lance going to come back? Or at the least make sure there was a Flame Point in the house (you know, to boss everyone around, since Lance is clearly worried we will fall in with the wrong crowd in his absence).

I am not sure what is going to happen next. I'm not sure how much longer we can keep Lance happy and comfortable. I don't know when this stray cat is going to give birth. I don't know if any of those kitten will be "The One."

All I do know is that this is another great story to tell any professor (see for the "Do dogs have souls" blog) that tries to tell me that animals don't have souls and aren't part of God's plan.



  1. Dr. McCray,

    Brent Emery & Gren Wells here. We're the ones from Sherman Oaks vet with the bulldog, Loki, and the Savannah cat, Modi. We've been trying to track you down to see where you're practicing now. And, hopefully, somehow that we could bring our pets to you...any chance of that?!?

    Hope all is well. Please let us know how to reach you.


    Brent & Gren

  2. What a very heart warming and sad story all at once. Of course you will never replace him, but perhaps a bit of his uniqueness will dwell in one of the kitties. I hope so.