This is Not a Sad Post


I’m sitting here laughing, because after observing my behavior today, it is clear to me that the most effective training I have had in my entire life was at the hands of a Drill Sergeant in Basic Training and the last twelve years with Tunch. Tunch had me so trained that I am a very obedient indentured servant. When I get another cat, I bet they will think I am the best human butler on the planet, I am so well trained.

This morning at 6 am or so, I could have sworn Tunch had jumped up on the bed, so I moved over and groggily reached out to pet him before remembering and falling back asleep.

When I eventually woke up, I went to the bathroom, and was shocked when he didn’t come in and try to lick my toes or weave in between my feet, and then said “Oh, yeah.” Went to the kitchen to make coffee a little later, and said I better feed the animals and threw food in his bowl before feeding the dogs, because he would just bitch up a storm and trip me the whole time I was in the kitchen if I didn’t feed him first. The dogs, on the rare occassions I forget to feed them, do nothing- I think Lily may think she has done something wrong. Tunch, on the other hand, my goodness. You haven’t lived until you are sound asleep and wake up with a 20 lb cat on your chest with his head 3 inches from yours eyeballing you as if to say “Hey, jackass. I’m hungry.”


Or how every time I am not typing while at my computer desk, I dangle my left hand down so Tunch can come head butt it and rub against it and I can pet his ears, because if I didn’t he would start weaving between my legs fussing up a storm for attention. As you can see in the picture above, sometimes that was not enough attention. He was a lot of things, but subtle was not one of them.

Or how every time I go on the back porch I take my right flip flop off, because fat boy, no matter what time of day, would come out and lie on his back on the concrete and I would rub his belly with my foot until he bit my big toe to let me know he was done with me and my human affection.

I also keep seeing him out of the corner of my eye. Tunch always used to just stand by the back sliding door when he wanted in, but it was never as simple as opening the door to let him in. If you opened the door and stood there and motioned for him to come in, he would either just sit there and look at you with a “Did you want something, your furless fat bastard?,” or turn around and walk away. So, in order to let him in, EVEN when he wanted in, you had to open the door, walk away, and then he would come in. “Free will, skin sack with treats. I’ll come and go on my terms.” I was just talking on the phone while cooking dinner, thought I saw him, opened the sliding door, and went back to cooking, and 20 seconds later I realized what I was doing.

Or the fact that I could never, ever, ever put anything on the arm of the couch next to the lazyboy. No remotes or phone, because if I did, Tunch would jump up there next to me, knock them all on the floor, then make himself comfortable and conspicuous so I would pet him. And let’s not even go into his collusion with Rosie to destroy my wallets and other stuff.

He was such a good friend and the best master I have ever had.

146 replies
  1. 1
    A Ghost To Most says:

    All my cats learn ‘inorout!’ in a hurry. Move, or the door gets shut in your face, fursack. I may be a cat butler, but I can be an impatient one.

  2. 2
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    Nice memories.

    Trying to type this as one of my feline overlords walks in front of the screen demanding attention . . .

  3. 3
    Josie says:

    I am smiling as I read this because it is so true and so typical of cats, every single word. I’ve never heard the term “cat butler,” but it is really appropriate.

  4. 4
    wmd says:

    Keep this up. You’re doing great!

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    Good stuff, JC and yeah, a veddy veddy well trained human.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Such a pretty picture of Tunch. He looks so sweet there under the chest of drawers. Glad your memories of him bring a smile to your face.

  7. 7

    “inorout” is spoken by me every morning when I open the door to leave for work and two or three of my cats will stand half way in and half way out of the door so that I cannot close it and lock it. Whereupon Skeeter will try and follow the cats and I now have three cats and a dog head in the door which means I can’t leave for work. I go through this every single morning.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This is not a sad post, John, it is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your memories of the quirky, imperious Tunch with us. It’s a good feeling to smile again after a long miserable weekend, and I’ll bet it feels good for you, too.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    Totally OT: for any other BJ “Justified” fans, “Raylan” by Elmore Leonard is a Kindle daily deal at two bucks today. Go forth and get, since it’s a long haul ’til the next season.

  10. 10
    BerkeleyMom says:

    Our cat of 14 years died 9 months ago and I still don’t sit in the largest, most comfortable chair in the house because that was her chair. Always. She’s still our cat, but just a phantom we sense now and then.

  11. 11
    Moesha says:

    I think Tunch is letting you know he’s still around.

  12. 12
    BeezusQ says:

    I recently lost my most beloved cat Beatrice (“Beezus”) to a lightning-fast cancer in her face… I miss her so much. Every day. Only had her 12 years and wanted at least 10 more. She was truly the smartest, mellowest, most gorgeous cat ever. From the second I adopted her from the SFSPCA it was true love. From a skinny, somewhat short-haired cat, she exploded into a glorious creature. I never tired of her relentless anti-literacy campaign as she worked her way between me and all reading material; her ever watchfulness sitting in the window waiting from me to come home (= dinner!); her easy assumption that every guest would swoon over her and give her the compliments and attention that were her due; her soft chirp to get attention as she was splayed on her back wanting some belly kisses; her absolute joy when she realized her favorite shrimp shrimp was on the menu; her calm and ready acceptance of both temporary boarding cats and new rescues; and, finally, her soft patience, and quiet dignity at the end – gracefully submitting to all efforts to save her. At the end, all she wanted was to curl in my arms and let me talk quietly into her fur, recounting our time together and assuring her she was so utterly loved and appreciated. People keep telling me how lucky she was to have me as her guardian when, the real truth is how lucky I was that she chose me. If we are fortunate, there are a lot of wonderful animals in our lives… and there is always one that is/was the one… and Beezus was just that.

    And then there is Bunnzola – whom I refer to as the angel in ill-fitting, fuzzyfurry grey pajamas. Bunn was a rescue adoption and afterwards I kind of felt as if maybe 3 cats was 1 too many. From day one, she openly worshipped Bea and would follow her around and do anything to be near her. When Beezus became blind and sick, Bunn never left her side – she would porpoise her to the litter box, down the hallway, back to bed; she would spend hours grooming her and then flop hard and snug against her. When I had to take Bea out for appointments, Bunn would be waiting at the door and anxious to get her out of the carrier. During this time of sharp sadness, this warmed my heart. When Bea was finally gone for good, Bunn spent a lot of time looking for her friend, but now seems to understand she is gone. She has tried so hard to take her place – sleeping where she used to sleep, and ensuring reading always includes a kitty on my lap.

    I sincerely appreciated all the support I received from my friends… no one claimed I was a crazy cat lady for my attempts to save her nor tried to diminish my grief. I think we all feel the same, that even knowing and realizing we do have to say goodbye, it is worth it. And when people ask you if you will get another – remember, they are not assuming your beloved cat/friend/companion can be replaced… what they realize is that you have the capacity to love, the home to provide, and the scores of kitties out there that so desperately need a lap, a scritch, a home.

  13. 13
    Yatsuno says:

    You haven’t lived until you are sound asleep and wake up with a 20 lb ton cat on your chest with his head 3 inches from yours eyeballing you as if to say “Hey, jackass. I’m hungry.”

    Fixteth. But still may be wrong by an order of magnitude.

    Tunch was good kitteh overlord.

  14. 14
    RandomMonster says:

    I also keep seeing him out of the corner of my eye.

    That has always been the hardest part for me — the phantom sightings. Even recently, our favorite (not allowed to admit that as a cat-parent, but..) went missing for a couple days, and we were so full of despair. And it pained me to no end to keep seeing a flash of movement that momentarily convinced me it was her.

    We don’t really realize the central role these beings play in our lives until their absent…

  15. 15
    tulip says:

    My cat knocks shit off my desk, my dresser, my table when he decides it time for me to get up and feed him. Sometimes I yell, sometimes I get up. Most times I wish I had a spray bottle. :)

  16. 16
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    It’s been ten years since we lost my sweet Alex, and I still catch glimpses of him occasionally.

    I posted this on the earlier thread while you were posting this one. I have a friend coming through WV next week who has offered to bring you a kitten. We made lots of “it’s too soon” noises, but for some reason it made me feel better.

  17. 17
    geg6 says:

    Oh good! You’re remembering all the sweet kitty things he did, so you are feeling a bit better. Gotta tell my John. He’s been worried about you.

    That second pic is just awesome and so so Tunch.

  18. 18
    hitchhiker says:

    Our Jasmine used to think she was our firstborn daughter’s actual mother. She would follow that kid out of the house and hiss at anybody who came near. At night she would hide under the kid’s bed until we left the room, then jump up to sleep on top of her, which we tried to discourage because we preferred to herd all the cats into the family room for maximum possibility of getting some sleep.

    After a car randomly destroyed her, I used to see her everywhere — but mostly on top of this one particular fencepost just off the deck, posed like a library lion statue. She was waiting for Emily to get home from school, and her look very clearly said that I should go eff myself.

    Loss sucks. Cats, otoh, are insanely great.

  19. 19
    Botsplainer says:


    Totally OT: for any other BJ “Justified” fans, “Raylan” by Elmore Leonard is a Kindle daily deal at two bucks today. Go forth and get, since it’s a long haul ’til the next season.

    Done! Thanks – am a big fan.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    I love the fact that Lily and Rosie deferred to him as their leader, too. He was a benevolent dictator.

    I still think Keaton gets anxious sometimes because Boris died before he could teach Keaton all of the routines necessary to take care of me. He gets a look in his eye sometimes like, “Damn it, Boris didn’t warn me about this!”

  21. 21
    abo gato says:

    Thanks John. I loved hearing about Tunch like this. Please keep grieving in your own way and please keep letting us know what you encounter on the way. I cannot believe how much better you sound. It will get easier and better every day.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    That second picture is just gorgeous. Ah, Tunch.

  23. 23
    TCG says:

    For those who think the jury should not be blamed, you should have been watching AC’s interview with one. Total sympathy for poor George who has learned his lesson and will be more careful now. I am not kidding, Fuck the jury. Those bitches can die in a fire.

  24. 24
    rammalamadingdong says:

    @Moesha: This.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, from everything I’ve ever read about grieving for pets, the intensity is the same as it is for humans, but you move on faster to the “smile with a tear” stage because our relationships with our pets are never as complicated as they are with other humans.

  26. 26
    Gex says:

    I just love every bit of writing you do on your animals. It really adds warmth and beauty to my day. I love this post. I love your relationship with Tunch.

  27. 27
    raven says:

    About a year and a half after Raven died our vet called and said they had a little cocker that had been dumped and would we come look at her. We would have NEVER tried to replace Raven but, when they brought her out, she looked so much like him I literally went to my knees. My bride grabbed my shoulder ad said “is it to soon”. It wasn’t.

  28. 28
    Matt McIrvin says:

    We had two elderly, sick cats who required a complicated medication regimen twice a day, and who died within two weeks of one another of different causes. One of them had hyperthyroidism and ate a tremendous amount of food, and the other was on a wet-food-only diet (which the hyperthyroid cat would instantly snarf down) to try to get his sad, broken intestines working, so feeding them was also complicated.

    After they went, the thing that was hardest for me to adjust to was that I no longer needed to structure my life around caring for these cats. I don’t think I entirely realized how much effort we were putting out just to keep these animals alive. When they died, all that was just… gone.

    (We have a third cat, but she’s in fine health and is almost trivial to care for by comparison.)

  29. 29
    dance around in your bones says:

    Our cats have always been indoor/outdoor (go ahead and yell at me) but the best let-me-in I remember is the leap at the screen door and hang up there until somebody notices……works both ways, at least until said cat has scratched/chewed a hole through a screen window and doesn’t even need their cat butler anymore.

    I used to ‘see’ departed cats out of the corner of my eye or ‘feel’ them jumping onto my bed until the realization finally hit home – they were gone. I think they wear pattern grooves into our brain that take a while to smooth out….and they will, eventually.

    I still look over my shoulder to share some juicy tidbit with my dead husband (almost 2 years now) from Balloon Juice, which he enjoyed so much, but it’s getting rarer now. Like, my brain grooves are re-shaping themselves.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @TCG: We’re talking about it on the previous thread.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: I think this is how it actually works from a neuroscience perspective. You’ve got a superhighway in terms of neural pathways for things you normally do or say, and when that changes or you want to change it, for whatever reason, it takes time to build a new pathway. So you get the dirt track, the gravel road, the paved road, then the highway. You really are re-wiring your brain.

  32. 32
    YellowJournalism says:

    I swear that would be a pic of my departed Mitzy if it weren’t for the brown bits. Tearing up.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    John, been thinking of your sister and brother too today. And your dad–hope his finger is healing properly. Healing thoughts for the entire Cole family.

    That second picture is the sweetest picture of Tunch ever.

  34. 34
    Botsplainer says:


    I used to see her everywhere — but mostly on top of this one particular fencepost just off the deck, posed like a library lion statue. She was waiting for Emily to get home from school, and her look very clearly said that I should go eff myself.

    Our sweet, kind, good natured, smart old Groenendael Shepherd passed last August, I’d hoped for a visit. Of course, my hearing sorta sucks. Back a couple of months ago, my youngest daughter swore that she heard him raise his head and his tags jangle when a raccoon came to the porch. Napoleon always went nuts over raccoons, and we’d seen him do that 100 times.

    I like to think the big guy is hanging around still. Figure he likes the puppy, too.

  35. 35

    Trying again after WP eated my comment.
    I have two furry alarm clocks, the fat orange one with white paws and a white chest could be Tunch’s sister in girth, so I know what you are talking about. When she was sick this spring and had stopped eating I actually missed the am wake-up calls.

    Best Simon’s cat ever.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    I love that second picture. So Tunchie.

  37. 37
    dance around in your bones says:


    I love how you say ‘So you get the dirt track, the gravel road, the paved road, then the highway. ‘ It truly is a progression. I used to do the same thing when he was just away for a while – I still turned to talk to him and share something…but now he’s gone for good.

    Maybe I’ll get to the highway at some point. So far it still feels like I’m bumping along a dirt track or possibly a gravel road :)

  38. 38
    Emma says:

    My kitty died a few months ago. Strangely enough I’ve forgotten the exact date
    Same thing happened when our first dog died. Part of me, I think, refuses to acknowledge they’re gone.

    Kitty (who refused any offered name and would answer when it suited him to whatever anyone called him) loved the Kindle. I read mostly in bed; he would climb ln top of me and stared at the screen. If I didn’t read fast enough he would reach out and swipe his paw across the screen and change the page. I figured he was an alien who was studying our culture.

  39. 39
    WereBear says:

    @trollhattan: Much obliged! I’m a big fan and actually got to be his driver at a Film Forum once. I was incredibly pleased that he was an awesome fellow and a joy to hang with.

  40. 40
    PostScript says:

    This post choked me up a little bit, like many of the posts you’ve made since this horrible tragedy. This time, it was a happy choked up, though. Tunch was an amazing companion – I feel lucky that I got to know him through your posts over the years. I see definite shades of our own cat Kizmet in some of Tunch’s antics. It makes me happy to know that Tunch was loved as much by his “servant” as Kizmet is by his.

  41. 41
    McCohen says:

    I’ve been reading here forever, but only been inspired to post once before. I just lost my 19 year old cat, VooDoo. She was pretty much the physical opposite of Tunch, i.e., one of those skinny black panther type cats. She was ornery as hell with everyone else, but loved me tons…a love that I returned. I attribute it to the fact that every night for her first year she would lie on my pillow and make biscuits in my hair as we went to sleep. I had known for a while that her kidneys were failing, but once she couldn’t even keep her special diet down, I had to let her go. It was hard and I cried and cried, but at least I got to hold and pet her to the end. My sympathies, John, for the suddenness of your loss and the fact that you had no chance to say goodbye. Bizarrely enough, my other cat who is 10 and never really got along with VooDoo also seems to be in mourning. Somehow, I feel VooDoo is somewhere feeling that she got the last word in by annoying Tiger Lily with her death.

  42. 42
    gbear says:

    My two cats don’t have me trained very well. I can sleep as late as I want in the morning and they won’t need breakfast until I get around to it. Same with supper.

    I sleep with a CPAP mask which they hate so they don’t snuggle with me at night. One of them (Edward) is always next to my shin when I wake up in the morning, but I think it’s more to keep an eye on the door to make sure the other cat Halley can’t share the bed (Edward is very possessive. I wish I knew how to change that for Halley’s sake). The one thing I’m well trained at is throwing a ball. Edward LOVES playing fetch, and if I’m seated anywhere for more than 2 minutes, the ball will be at my feet and it will keep coming back as long as I feel like throwing. He finally lost his original ball and I picked up a new one for him this week when I bought food.

  43. 43
    Howard Beale IV says:

    I had to put down 3 cats in a 4 year span-and one was a six-moth old kitten (a tortie named Voodoo) to be a companion to the last cat I put down at the ripe old age of 16 two years later (Minuet, a Seal Point Himalayan.)

    Just remember: dogs have masters-cats have staff.

    We all ought to chip in and get Mr. Cole a Savannah.

  44. 44
    Carol M says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Your comment hit home for me. My husband and I went through the same thing this past year with our cat who was on medication for hyperthyroidism, then two different blood pressure medications, and then baby aspirin (toxic for cats, but we could give her 1/2 tablet every three days) for severe arthritis. We used to call her “our little car payment” because that was about how much per month we were spending on vet visits and medication.
    And at the end her intestines were sad and broken too. She had a distended stomach but was all skin and bones, no matter how much wet food we gave her. When we finally realized she was suffering too much and there was nothing our vet could suggest that would help, we put her down. It was surreal how much our lives changed after that. We still miss her, though.

  45. 45
    Burnspbesq says:

    Man, the strangest things can get to you.

    Was re-doing the iTunes library on the work computer today, and in the process of cleaning up metadata it suddenly hit me that holy fuck, it’s actually thirty years since Texas Flood came out.

    Shit, I’m old.

    Glad to see you’re doing better, John. You never fully get over it, but it gets a little easier every day, and yes, a new feline overlord can help. There is never a day that I don’t think about Mr. Sam, but I love Laettner to pieces.

  46. 46
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    You should get a kitten that you can bond with, not much older than 6 weeks old. I won’t get into my own personal hell, but I’ve been in a pressure cooker for going on a few years now and the coolest thing that happened to me was a kitten bonding with me (through no effort on my part) that my daughter got from my sister-in-law.

    He’d sleep in the crook of my neck when he was a kitten. Now he follows me around the house and helps me do everything. I’m not much of a cat person but he’s not much of a cat. The whole family teases me about our relationship. He even goes to work with me. I’d get into more detail but I always feel like I’m betraying his confidence when I talk about him.

  47. 47
    muddy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I love the one with the fly, the chirping is perfect. And the fact that he ends up on the back of the chair. Both remind me of Tunch.

  48. 48
    Garbo says:

    I am now incapable of putting down a beverage or a tv remote on an accessible surface. Ferrets will wake up from the deepest sleep to take advantage of a mental error like that.

  49. 49
    Eljai says:

    One of my favorite Tunch stories was when John discovered that Tunch was either drinking out of his water glass or dipping his paws in there — I can’t remember which — while he wasn’t looking. I laughed because my Sparkle had a tendency to claim any water glass I left out. I have no idea how much water I drank with cat spit in it over the years, but apparently it did me no harm.

  50. 50
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @TCG: Zimmerman isn’t out of the woods yet; he better hope that a libel suit against NBC News goes his way.

    Now here’s something to ponder-news reports says that he and his wife haven’t worked in the last year-then may I ask who has been paying his expsneses, never mind a probably six-figure attorney fees?

  51. 51

    @Just Some Fuckhead: So you are big softie under that tough blog guy persona.

  52. 52
    dexwood. says:

    I always tell people I am owned by my pets, it isn’t the other way around. It is consensual on my part. Some get it, some don’t. So be it. Is it weird that I don’t trust anyone who refuses to provide for a pet?

    You’re doing OK, Cole.

  53. 53

    @Eljai: Yogi kitteh will spill any glass of water left unattended, even flower vases are not safe from him.

  54. 54
    CaseyL says:

    Oh, I get that corner-of-the-eye thing every time, every time one of my kitties dies. And the phantom kitty-walking-on-me in bed thing.

    Shayna was my Siamese who moved with me when I returned to Seattle some 25 years ago. She was 17 at the time. I asked her doctor how she would tolerate the move across country, to an entirely different climate and an utterly alien city. He said “She’ll be with you. That’s all that matters.” She lasted another 2 1/2 years out here.

    One habit she developed instantly upon settling in was to crawl under the waterbed covers to sleep: the waterbed must’ve felt wonderful to her skinny old arthritic self. Because she was under the covers, I got into the habit of lifting them and feeling around before getting into bed, to make sure I didn’t lay down on her.

    After her death, it took me weeks to stop lifting the covers and checking to see if she was there… (Oh god; I’m tearing up over her, 20+ years later).

    They leave phantom presences, every single one of them.

  55. 55
    trollhattan says:

    @Botsplainer: @WereBear:

    Pleases me no end to share with fellow fans. “Justified” is quality teebee and while I love what Leonard I’ve read, haven’t had the chance for a go at this one. Summer reading, here we come!

    Also, too, meeting Leonard? How cool is that!

  56. 56
    Garbo says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’d get into more detail but I always feel like I’m betraying his confidence when I talk about him.

    That may be the single greatest sentence I’ve ever read.

  57. 57
    Fluke bucket says:

    It really is weird as hell how your memories are. We had to put down our dog friend and family member of 15 years about a week ago and I still expect to see her outside with me when I am working around the house. At bedtime I have gotten up to get her before remembering that she is not there. I am sure that it will stop but it still makes you feel so strange inside.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    I still look over my shoulder to share some juicy tidbit with my dead husband (almost 2 years now)

    My dad’s been dead over 18 years, and I still find myself turning to tell him things, before that “Oh, yeah” moment of realization kicks in.

    My dad, BTW, would have loved Balloon Juice. I know it.

  59. 59
    RoonieRoo says:

    Beautiful post. It still made me cry but the tears were different this time.

  60. 60
    Hungry Joe says:

    Damn. Tunch. One Beautiful Cat.

    I’ve been wrestling with the whole feeling-terrible-over-the-death-of-a-cat-I-didn’t-know-who-belonged-to-a-guy-I-don’t-know thing, and what I’ve finally decided is that it’s about about caring, it’s about empathy, it’s about giving a shit.

    Hell, it’s about love.

  61. 61
    dance around in your bones says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: So you are big softie under that tough blog guy persona.

    I’ve always felt that way about our Fuckie. He’ll prolly tell me I am totally out to lunch.

    @SiubhanDuinne: It really lasts a long time, those ingrained habits….I still miss having him to share things with because he always ‘got’ them right away.

  62. 62
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Best Simon’s cat ever

    Yup. I love every Simon’s Cat I’ve seen, but this was (IIRC) the first, and definitely the best.

    I assume you’ve seen Dog Wants a Kitty? If not (or for that matter, even if so) you are in for a treat.

  63. 63
    muddy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: My favorite is when one of my dad’s terrible jokes or puns pops out of my mouth, and with his exact laugh. It’s a little like being possessed, because I don’t laugh like that any other time.

  64. 64
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I don’t see that tough guy persona you do. I’m just a retard saying stupid shit.

  65. 65
    SIA says:

    @Fluke bucket: I’m so sorry!

  66. 66
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    make biscuits

    Oh, I love that! I’ve always heard “marching” or “kneading bread,” but “make biscuits” is new to me and it’s a wonderful expression!

  67. 67
    trollhattan says:


    “Texas Flood” Stevie!

    By co-ink-eee-dink, my Hendrix vinyl bundle arrived today. Must scoot the fam out of the house so’s I can give it a proper go.

  68. 68
    muddy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’ve started saying “keep your collar on” to the dogs since I saw that video. I used to say to “keep on the pants you’re not even wearing”.

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    He’s visiting you to make sure you know he’s watching. When I lost Butter, I’d see and hear him for months after. When I lost Smudge, same thing. Eventually, the feeling that they were around would fade until it was once in a blue moon. Maybe it’s the animist in me, but I believe we all have a spirit that animates us and makes us, us. Whatever is left once the body and mind is gone, is spirit and is perfectly capable of ensuring the beloved human pet knows he’s being cared for and not to mourn too much, but to remember.

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Zimmerman isn’t out of the woods yet; he better hope that a libel suit against NBC News goes his way.

    I hope you’re right, only because I hate that fucker more with every passing moment, but from what I know about the lawsuite (not much) I must say it sounds as though NBC egregiously edited the audio tape to completely change its meaning.

  71. 71
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I just got home after being away. I want in the worst way to grab my kittehs and snuggle them. But, as is the rule, when I come home from a trip, I must go about my business until they decide to forgive me for my absence and come to me.

    I am not ashamed to say, when I was finally alone in the car today, I cried like a baby for Tunch….and so many other things that needed to be grieved.

    You’re a strong man, Mr. Cole.

  72. 72
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Your cat looks a little like Hitler in this picture.

  73. 73
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Geez, I really hope “lawsuite” was FYWPOAC and not me.

  74. 74
    Laura C says:

    Whenever Henley is away from home — twice when he was at the hospital, a few times when I haven’t yet picked him up after a vacation — I catch myself saying “hi Henny” as I come in the door every single time.

  75. 75

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I don’t think you are stupid or retarded, at times you are amusing.

  76. 76
    maya says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: NBC just has to use the FOX News 1st Amendment defense, AKA, the right to make shit up. Worked for them, should work for NBC.
    He and his lawyers are probably just angling for an out of court settlement.

  77. 77
    IowaOldLady says:

    Ooh, a friend of mine just posted a FB pic of her husband being arrested and handcuffed at Moral Monday. She posted about being at training earlier today.

  78. 78
    melissaD says:

    Thank you for the great stories about that fat magnificent Cat. And, a special hug for the doggie girls who snuggle with you in help, love and remembrance

  79. 79
    MazeDancer says:

    John, such a sweet post. And that whisper side view of seeing one’s departed kitty goes on for years, in my experience.

    @BeezusQ: Beautiful description. Feel like I know your cats.

  80. 80
    Yatsuno says:


    He and his lawyers are probably just angling for an out of court settlement.

    I hope he gets it. Then he’ll get his ass sued for wrongful death and lose it all plus some.

  81. 81
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:


    “marching” or “kneading bread,”

    We’ve always used “killing snakes” as in “he’s making sure any snakes hiding under that blanket are dead before laying down”.

  82. 82
    Kobekid says:

    thank you so much for sharing John, Tunch is much loved by many because of that…

    the phantom sightings, yeah happens every now and again at my house having said goodbye to 4 kittehs. Sometimes see them in their former favorite spots or out of the corner of the eye. You can’t talk about these things with everyone as lots of folks don’t get it or are not that into furry critters but you’ve created a place here where almost everyone gets it. There’s a great horde of us out here nodding in agreement, and right there with you…

  83. 83
    Ash Can says:

    So nice to read this post. I’m off wandering the Wisconsin/UP wilderness with the boys, with spotty Internet access, and was so traumatized by the news about Stuck and Tunch that I refused to even think about this joint for a couple of days. Now I’m glad I decided to check back here tonight. And I’m very much looking forward to hearing stories about the cat(s) for whom you butle next, when the time comes.

  84. 84
    kc says:

    What a great face!

  85. 85
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: It’s kitten behavior. They knead and prick their mother’s belly so she’ll roll over and let them nurse, and the instinct to do that is associated with warm fuzzy mama cat thoughts throughout their lives. So that and grooming (licking) are about the closest thing they have to petting.

    That said, I always do have to remind my girlfriend whenever she gets worried over our two cats wrestling, batting each other, or otherwise showing harmless dominance behavior that cats are just “furry little Klingons” at heart and need a bit of battle now and then.

  86. 86
    Jane2 says:

    Ah, how they rule our homes. Tunch had a large personality, fitting for a big-hearted owner. My Phil is like that….he’s now 11 and in early “get off my lawn, you kids” stages, and when he wants his dinner, HE WANTS HIS DINNER. I’ve been stared down by 13 lbs of ragdoll blocking my way outside should I dare try and leave before his needs are met. And his sister (the passive-aggressive alpha) just sweetly waits in the living room, letting him do all the heavy lifting.

    Pets are our joy.

  87. 87
    gogol's wife says:


    Absolutely. I keep coming back here to see what he’s written. And there are pictures of Tunch here I’ve never seen.

  88. 88
    kc says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You’re destroying my image of you!

  89. 89
    gogol's wife says:


    He is such a superb writer.

  90. 90
    Suzanne says:

    I adopted my Nico as an adult, and apparently she had led a hard life before deigning to allow me to be her servant. I don’t let my cats outside, but Nico would get antsy. She didn’t like being held tightly very much, but she would submit to it if I took her outside for a walk in the fresh air. About once every two weeks or so, she would be such an insane needy bizzatch, getting all up in my grill, that I would leash her (yes) and take her outside for about half an hour. She’d be calm and sweet as pie again.

    I lost that cat six years ago and I cried until I threw up on the day we had to have her put down.

  91. 91
    FlipYrWhig says:

    We had two cats for a long time, then lost the younger one at age 12 last August and the older one at 17+ in January. They both had health issues, the younger one only at the end, the older one for a while — like with Mr. Burns, we thought all her diseases were in a state of perfect balance to keep her from succumbing to any one of them. After the younger one died, I had a very vivid dream that he wasn’t dead, he was just under the dresser, and in the dream a voice was saying, “no, really, I’m telling you, just wake up, it was all a mistake.” I woke up, and thought for a beat, and then was just sad and pissed off. Unconscious mind, you’re really a fucking bastard.

  92. 92
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Yatsuno: IANAL, but Floriduh may not be as accommodating as California WRT wrongful death civil suits Even if the Martin family succeeds, the odds of garnishment against Zimmerman probably aren’t that great, especially since he and his wife have been off work (what was his career-anybody know?) more than a year, barring any statute of limitations encumbrance.

    Morally, Zimmerman’s fucked six ways from Sunday, but Legally, that a whole different kettle of fish, sad to say..

    Zimmerman had the last clear chance to avoid a confrontation-but his actions led to the death of Martin and the subsequent actions that resulted from that action. Only in the fullness of time will determine his ultimate fate-but in the interim, asking questions is all that anyone can do at this point until the wheels of the (in)justicw system take their snail-based time before all avenues are exhausted.

  93. 93
    Ruckus says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    With that and your comment about your cat up thread, you just ruined your whole internet persona.
    Done, finished, washed up, gone.
    Now you have to start all over.

  94. 94
    soylentH says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Furry little klingons is great, I love it.

  95. 95
    khead says:

    Damn John. That was just a wonderful post.

  96. 96
    MathInPA says:

    Our last lost pet was a big, black dog; one of our two currents is a medium-sized dog of similar breed, just a different mix. There are a number of days when we’ll be talking about Sammy (current dog) and say, “Hey, did you do Remus’ obedience training today?” and then both of us go silent for a moment. I get torn up about the stupidest things; one of which is spray whipped cream cans. Remus… had food issues. When he was small, he was adopted as the runt of a litter, and nearly died from illness. This was before I arrived, so I only know this part second hand. Unfortunately, there some home issues at the time I’m not going to go into detail with, so while Remus was trained to several commands and perfectly obedient, he was poorly socialized with other dogs. With cats, he was fine; in fact, by the time I moved in with my to-be wife in anticipation of the wedding, he was sufficiently fine to let them near his food dish, which for a guy with his issues was a sight to see.

    Being occasional big brother to a lab/newfie mix and having me to work full-time on training him worked well; by the time he died, he was openly friendly with strange dogs (though, as I’ve said before, we would never make the mistake of letting him mix unsupervised with strange dogs). However, because of the early problems, it was taking us a while to train him not to go after garbage cans and other sources of food… or lack of food. One day, we left the house– doing some shopping, I think– and when we came home, he was in his corner, in the Down position (putting dogs in submissive but not too vulnerable postures is a good way to socialize them with cats, speaking of which– worked a charm with the current puppy). He knew he’d been Bad.

    We sighed, and looked around the room to find what garbage can had been knocked over, and discovered that Remus had knocked one out of the ballpark this time. There was an empty spray can, looking like a whole pack of beasts had gone after it, though on closer inspection, it was all explosion damage. Of course, that had to wait, because the second we saw that, I ran back over to my poor, stupid, hundred pound doggie and grabbed his jaw– if you do that behind the front fangs it’s easier to force them open to feed them pills, scared the hell out of me the first time I saw my wife doing it– and inspected his jaw, gums, teeth, and tongue in detail. The eyes, we could see were fine.

    As near as we could tell, he put pressure on the front end of the thing, and this never would have worked, except he was looking for food in an EMPTY CAN. *sighs* An empty damn can! And of course, it exploded, and SOMEONE out there looks out for fools, because he took no damage. At all. I think Artemis, our Maine Coone, probably laughed at him the whole time. She was 15-20lbs to his 100, but we trained him early on, and she owned his butt. I think that’s why she’s taken so long to warm up to Sammy and Jackson; I’m all but certain that’s why Pippin repeatedly swatted his face hard enough to draw blood. It took a while to train the bratcat to be nice to the dogs, but ironically, it gave us an opportunity to both see Sammy’s temperament and train him to socialize well with the cats.

    So yeah, I don’t like whipped cream much any more.

  97. 97
    Suzanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: We always call it “making muffins”.

    And just like that, Zellie is here, about to pounce onto my head. She’s feeling better.

  98. 98
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    I have a friend who just recently lost their dog (old age) and now their cat has gone missing. They were saying how they are starting to take the no-more-pets line because it’s so hard losing them. Fuck that. Life is short. I’m ridiculously attached to my dog (who sorta came along with my gf/wife) and I know when eventually she goes I’m gonna be a wreck. But fuck it. Attachments can be unhealthy, but they can also be one of the best aspects of life. Losing my mom sucked, big time. But I don’t wish that I loved her any less so that my pain would have been marginally less when she died. Loving and losing pets/friends/family is all just part of life. And these cozy little critters we take in, make us feel more alive. Glad to see you posting with some positivity, JC. It just dawned on me last night: wow Tunch knew him back when he was a conservative asswipe. That was one patient and forgiving cat ;)

  99. 99
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Haven’t thought of this in a long time, but does anyone else remember several years ago there was a commenter who wrote and illustrated a story about “The Fat Man, the Fat Cat, and the Barky Dog” or something like that? I think he was from Australia, his nym was [Someone] in Sydney or similar. Wish I could recall more clearly. Wonder whatever happened to him, and if he ever wrote more stories in the series. I know it was after John got Lily (barky dog) but pre-Rosie, if that helps narrow the time frame.

  100. 100
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Fuck all you loses. Man up John.

  101. 101
    eemom says:


    With that and your comment about your cat up thread, you just ruined your whole internet persona.

    Actually, it was thanks to General Stuck that I first figured out what a mushy old softy teh big bad Fuckhead really is.

    The three of us were having a fight one evening — that is, me and the General vs. Fuckhead……and at some point when things got too heated, Fuckhead up and suggested a “group hug.”

    The General kind of went silent with shock…..but I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “whaddayaknow, that big bad Fuckhead is just a mushy old softy at heart.”

    Don’t tell him I told you.

  102. 102
    Yatsuno says:


    And just like that, Zellie is here, about to pounce onto my head. She’s feeling better.


  103. 103
    pat says:

    Hi John,
    Glad to see this post. Remember that we are all greiving with you, and we feel better when we see your posts detailing your travels through the valley of despair.

    Before you decide to go away, please remember that we all need each other.

  104. 104
    eemom says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    oh….uh…..didn’t know you were still here.

    /frantically fumbling for Edit button

  105. 105
    geg6 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Too late now, dude. Your reputation is in shreds after this thread.

  106. 106
    dance around in your bones says:


    SiubhanDuinne, that was Tattoo Sydney and I believe it was this thread – I still remember it fondly and wonder what happened to Tattoo Sydney. I always figured he warped into Sarah, Proud and Tall but of course I am no doubt entirely wrong.

    eta: This cracks me up, because as you can see – you were the first commenter on that thread!

  107. 107
    Gex says:

    @eemom: The more you want the edit, the more likely you are to be told you don’t have permission to edit your comment. You gotta act nonchalant.

  108. 108
    hamletta says:

    John, I’m so sorry for the loss of your little buddy.

    I didn’t get to comment on the original thread, because I’d just come home from DC after two weeks dealing with my mom’s sudden death, only to find my electricity had been cut off, and it was Saturday night, so I didn’t get power back till this morning.

    I know that feeling of expecting your buddy to come to the door to demand entry, and realizing it’ll never happen again. Hell, I spent the two weeks back home waiting for my mom to show up at the door with a case of beer and a grocery bag.

    I lost my lovely calico Priscilla in similar circumstances. My neighbor’s dog killed her, so I left the disposition of her body to him.

    That was in January, and my little buddy Sophia came to me in November when the mice in my old house were openly mocking me. She’s like, 15 years old, I think. I can’t imagine the world without her. (And as I was composing this comment, she barfed on my bed. Love huh!)

    All love to your siblings, too. I don’t think pit bulls are instinctively vicious, because I’ve met too many nice ones, but rescues can be problematic, because they’ve been trained to be vicious.

  109. 109
    SIA says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Tattoo Sydney! I loved that! The fat man, the fat cat, and the barky dog!

  110. 110
    kc says:


    Oh, geez! Sorry about your mom!

  111. 111
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Wow, dance, thanks for finding that! I have no recollection of even commenting, let alone being FRIST!, but yes, TattooSydney is/was genius, just as I said back in 2010.

    I like your conceit that he (?) morphed into SP&T. Anyone know for sure, or want to fess up?

  112. 112
    kc says:


    Yeah, man. You should probably change your nym.

  113. 113
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SIA: You were the second commenter, two minutes after me!

  114. 114

    I had ferrets for years. The last couple of years revolved around vet visits and medications. The last one was put to sleep on a Saturday night at the UGA vet school. When I came home I immediately, witout even realizing quite what I was doing, threw away their medications, their feeder syringes, the canned A/D and vanilla Ensure that they’d eat when one by one they went off their regular food for the last time. That was all I got rid of. It was only a few weeks later that I realized I had thrown away everything they needed when they were sick — they weren’t sick anymore.

    I still have their toys, their hammocks — all the things from when they were healthy and happy.

    It’s been 5 years, and I swear sometimes I can still hear them thumping around. I had a dream about them a few nights ago — I picked one up and petted him, thinking “I haven’t done this in a while, I wonder why I haven’t done this more.” I felt happy when I woke up — it was as if I had actually visited them.

    I miss them.

  115. 115
    SIA says:

    @dance around in your bones: Haha! And I commented second!

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @hamletta: I am so sorry about your mom. And your electricity. What a metaphor, eh? (“The light has gone out of my life…”)

    This is such a good community.

  117. 117
    dance around in your bones says:


    I personally have ZERO evidence of any such thing, just a feeling, ya know? Like he adopted a new online persona.

    S,P&T is perfectly welcome to drop in here and tell me I am mental.

    eta: Ayup, SIA you were second. Coolio!

  118. 118
    SIA says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I just saw that! Funny.

  119. 119
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SIA: Jinx!

  120. 120
  121. 121
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @eemom: I always liked the threads that included General Stuck, Just Some Fuckhead, and Chuck Butcher. Stuck, Fuck, and Chuck.

  122. 122
    Ruckus says:

    The old fuckie wouldn’t have believed that anyone would say that about him.
    The new one, born today, probably won’t admit that he believed it.

    A huge step in the ascent of man, allowing your rough and ready testosterone fueled persona to be peeled back and the real person to shine through.

  123. 123
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @hamletta: I’m so sorry for your loss. Losses, actually, both kitteh and mother.

  124. 124
    SIA says:

    @Karen in GA (who really needs a better name): I had a wonderful dream where I was hugging our incredibly beautiful and evolved departed Pyr/Golden, Maggie. I could feel her soft fur and put my arms around her large body. It was so joyful. I think it was a visit, not a dream. My husband dreamed about her and she told him she was “working in the mountains” so she couldn’t come back right now. She did send a protege, Abbie, and some time I’ll tell that story.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    (what was his career-anybody know?)

    Professional Asshole, near as I can tell.

  127. 127
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SIA: Yup. This. Ditto. Seconded. What you said.


  128. 128
    PurpleGirl says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    batting each other,

    At the kitten cams I follow, that’s called whappy paws.It’s wonderful to watch little kittens “hi” each other. Every so often there will be a new person — new to cams and kittens — who ask or comment about the kittens fighting and aren’t they going to hurt each other. And someone will explain about whappy paws and wrassling. Also telling them that if the kittens really wanted to hurt another they’d do it.

  129. 129
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: too late. You’re busted.

  130. 130
    mk3872 says:

    How is THAT not a sad post ??

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    Not to worry. I’ve always worked in high testosteroneee jobs and was in the military. Swearing and threats over the internet are nothing. I’ve told this story before but there are 3 letters in my first name and 4 in my last. None of those letters are contained in the words Ass hole(helps if you say it with a little more inflection on the first word). But people have been confusing me with this other person for decades.
    Besides JSF is just an old softy.

  132. 132
    PurpleGirl says:

    My friends’ cat — Rowdy — died after they were in Boca Raton a few months. D told me that he was sitting in her lap and he just expired. Rowdy was an indoor/outdoor cat in Peekskill but in Boca they kept him inside all the time. He was very mellow and laid back. I could yarn around the house and he never was interested in it. Never tried playing with it. Didn’t like toys either. Every so often though, he’d let me pet him and scritch him behind the ears or play “I got your face, I’m gonna smush your face.” I miss all animals that they had in Peekskill.

  133. 133
    Violet says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’d totally forgotten about that story. What did happen to TattooSydney? I see I was commenter 18. On a Saturday morning, no less. Impressive.

  134. 134
    Gex says:

    @hamletta: Sorry to hear about your mom. Please partake of the grief support flowing through the threads these days.

  135. 135
    hamletta says:

    Thank you all. I have so many communities enveloping me with love. And you are one of them.

  136. 136
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Cole, this post made me flat-out smile. The picture you paint of Tunch is one I know so well. My boys have me trained to cater to their whims and their foibles. May you continue to smile and laugh as you remember Tunch. Plus, Tunchie pics. Still love ’em.

    @hamletta: I’m really sorry about your mom and your other hardships. My deepest condolences.

  137. 137
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Yeah, you’re trying, but it ain’t working. I’m on to you, you’re actually a decent guy.

  138. 138
    kelrian says:

    Our beloved family dog, Shadow, she of the inexplicable love for margarine, was much like Tunch. She had my father well-trained in feeding time protocols. She passed on just after Christmas 3 years ago after a long lingering illness that the vets couldn’t identify. I still catch myself stepping gingerly around the sliding-glass door; she always laid right there so she could monitor everyone coming and going.

    Love is being utterly pwned by a domesticated animal. -Well, if Tunch counted as “domesticated” and not “floofy schmoo overlord”.

  139. 139
    MikeInSewickley says:

    I feel so relieved to see this post. Shows that the healing is starting. And agree completely with the declawing. Dogs have pretty large nails that can scratch up floors – don’t hear anyone yanking their nails out.

    And, boy do I know how you feel about being managed. I am right now typing this with only my right hand as one of the cats is laying belly up 5 inches from the laptop demanding a belly rub.

    And I keep looking at the clock as the 2 boy cats started a wonderful training regimen for me about 6-7 months ago of waking us up somewhere between 4 and 5 AM to be fed. The female (who is the oldest at 10) just ignores the whole thing and sleeps in.

    My kids yell at me when they see me answering emails at 4:30 to get some damn sleep and don’t let the animals run the house. Fat chance of that – I just pay the mortgage.

    So enjoy your memories – they will help with the loss.

  140. 140
    The Other Chuck says:

    @PurpleGirl: Yeah, real fighting comes with growling and hissing. Everything else is play.

    The 3-year-old male cat, Ninja (yeah he’s a black cat) is nearly twice as big as the 10-year-old female cat Minnie, who’s tiny, lazy, nearly toothless (prone to gum disease it seems), and about as docile with humans as cats come. But what’s funny is Ninja is still completely submissive to Minnie, rolls over on his back to let her pounce on him, and when they wrestle, she’s so scrappy that she usually wins and chases him off. He’s really strong, but he’s just a tiny kitten at heart.

  141. 141
    Montarvillois says:

    Thanks for the review of Tunch habits, an amusing read and I can relate all too well.

  142. 142
    Lurker says:

    What a beautiful pic of Tunch! So Tunchesque.

    Your post awoke memories of Grisou, the grey tabby, Baggy, the B&W, and of Gatsby, the red and white tabby, all departed in their teens. The grief abates, the memories stay.

    As for being managed by furry overlords, my female cat, Olivia, has me trained to a T. She only drinks from the tap in the bathroom, and sits on the sink meowing piteously until I turn the tap on. If she feels like it, she’ll drink. If not, she’ll just walk away, satisfied that she got me up. Sometimes, she does this to me three or four times in a row. Then I threaten not to get up a fourth or fifth time if she does not start drinking and I swear that she laughs at me. Guess what? I get up again. And again. As for the boy, Tommy, he regularly trips me by weaving around my legs until I fill his dry food bowl. Sometimes I fall right on my butt. Oh well, bruises do heal, don’t they?

  143. 143
    Trinity says:

    This post made me smile…with tears in my eyes. We should all be so lucky to find an owner like Tunch.

  144. 144
    Lurker says:


    Indeed. In my next life, I want to come back as a cat in John’s household.

  145. 145
    daize says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Oh, how sad for you to lose three kitties in such a short time.

    There’s a beautiful white-with-orange-head-spot kitten currently residing on the kitten cam. He has from the first reminded me of Tunch. Not as magestic, of course, but he’s floofy.

  146. 146
    daize says:

    @Trinity: Oh, absolutely. Tears here as well.

Comments are closed.