Bye bye, Mickey.

Mickey the cat - the subject of the famous kitten review - is dead. He was about five and a half.

The last picture of Mickey.

I found him like this. He looks as if he's just asleep - only the little bit of purple tongue sticking out gives it away.

He was stone cold and stiff as a board, though. So I dug a hole in the garden and put him in it. Then we sprinkled some flower seeds on top and watered them in.

This isn't the way it's meant to happen. Mickey was a big strong healthy boy. Really big; he was quite lean, but very long and tall, for a cat. He weighed seven and a half kilos just a couple of weeks ago.

Perhaps that was it; perhaps he didn't have a strong enough heart for a body that size. I'm at a loss as to what else it could have been. Cats that know they're sick hide themselves away somewhere, but Mickey just curled up on the spare bed as normal. And there was no vomit, no signs of distress; I don't think he'd even been off his food, though I might not have noticed.

Perhaps the last time he went out, for only about ten minutes before he decided it was too cold and came back in, he ate a poisonous mushroom along with some grass. Those are famous for killing people half a day after they eat them. Or perhaps he picked up a tick, though it's freezing cold here in Katoomba right now, so there shouldn't be any ticks around. I don't think it was rat poison or slug bait or something like that. But who knows.

When you own a pet, you expect - or should expect - that at some point you'll have to pay quite a lot of money to buy that pet several, or at least a few, more years of happy life. Look at Tom, with his arthritis and diabetes and a bout of hyperthyrodism, too. It cost a bloody fortune to get him repaired, and he still needs injecting twice a day. But Tom's happy as a clam, settling peacefully into the prolonged geriatric period that's normal for elderly housecats.

Mickey, on the other hand, was the picture of health, as far as I could see. But he was there last night, and gone this morning.


He was a very good boy.



A couple of irretrievably soft-hearted readers have asked if there's any particular animal charity to which I'd like donations to be made in memory of Mickey.

Mickey came from one of the Cat Protection Society "aquariums" full of kittens that you can see in the window in some Australian vets.

(Yes, they do let the kittens out regularly to run about. But it's amazing how many of them will be perfectly happy in a thousand-litre Perspex box for hours on end - though at least one bright spark does always seem to end up sleeping in the litter tray.)

The Cat Protection Society would, of course, be very pleased to receive your tax-deductible donation or volunteer time. And then there's the RSPCA in Australia, the UK and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, and their equivalents the ASPCA in the States.

These sorts of organisations always run shops. The "op shop" type with low-priced used stuff can be fun but, given the prices, can't actually add much money to the bottom line of the charity. I highly recommend you patronise the other kind of shop, like the RSPCA Shops here in Australia. Those shops sell the usual sorts of "pet shop" animal supplies - toys, food, tennis ball chuckers, noisome dried pieces of pig or bull (not, for very good reason, cow...) of which dogs cannot get enough - at the usual rip-off pet-shop prices. You can get all of these things much cheaper if you shop more carefully - but the profit from the charity-shop rip-off pricing all goes to the charity, so when I'm there, I specifically seek out products which seem to be the worst value.

If you can't afford to donate, buy overpriced catnip mousies or spend a lot of time having your heart rended by the predicament of abandoned animals, but you live near an animal shelter or veterinarian that has a Room Full O' Kittens, be advised that they may be very happy to have you just visit and play with the kittens for an hour, provided you don't seem too likely to eat any of them.

Kittens need to get used to being picked up and patted and played with, and veterinary and animal-shelter staff are likely to be pretty busy. So the terrible responsibility of being covered with kittens for an hour a week may, I fear, fall to you.

38 Responses to “Bye bye, Mickey.”

  1. TimDurnan Says:

    My condolences on your loss. :(

  2. 6SteelFingers Says:

    Sorry to hear this sad news. It doesn't look like he'd suffered. Thanks for sharing with us, losing a cool little guy like that wouldn't be easy. I always enjoyed his participation in your site(s).

  3. tomsk Says:

    Oh no, poor Mickey. Five years really isn't long enough, but at least they were happy years. Goodbye, little chap.

  4. JoachimH Says:

    My condolences to you and your girlfriend. At least it seems he didn't suffer.

    Our dog is now 10 and as a small (8 Kilos) terrier mongrel she should last 'till about 15 at least. In the last three years she has had two cataract surgeries (She went blind on both eyes in the just five days), now has glaucoma in one eye and two mast cell tumors had to be removed. You can get quite a decent used compact car for that kind of money. But we are happy to still have her around.

  5. pittance Says:

    My condolences at this sad time - I've shown the kitten review to many people over the years; I'm sorry to hear he's not around any more.

  6. scartier Says:

    Ug, sorry to hear it :(

    We had our Pickle taken away at a young age, too, but at least he had a reason (cancer). Rest in peace Mickey.

  7. beschizza Says:

    Terrible news -- one of my dogs died last year in similar mysterious circumstances, and I wish now I'd had an autopsy.

  8. twoflower Says:

    My condolences on your loss; I wish you nothing but pleasant memories of a pet well loved.

  9. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    Oh, no. I'm truly sorry - I, too, have shared the Kitten Review with various people. Because of that, at the very least, Mickey's spirit will live on. And at least we know it was quick and painless - we should all be that lucky.

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    To prevent this page from being an absolutely unrelenting rock-bottom bummer, allow me to mention that Joey, the Amazing Fetching Cat and Millie, the Window-Digging Occasionally-Bald Amorphous Blob are both in excellent health. And Joey is on my lap at this moment.

    There may also, just possibly, be a brother-and-sister pair of nine-month-old ginger cats, who we adopted immediately after burying Mickey, and who're currently hiding silently in the corner of the little study attached to the master bedroom, next to the heating vent.

    But they're probably not there. I asked, and they said they weren't. Especially the boy.

  11. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Now Joey's started exploring the office, climbing on things and bumping and pushing his way through the bottom shelf of the workbench.

    I can't remember him ever doing this after sitting on my lap. He often does it before installing himself on my lap for hours, but then all he normally does is hop off and want me to open the door.

    Perhaps he's looking for his friend.

  12. Erik T Says:

    What a crappy post to wake up to. You and your other half and your other furry minions have my condolences.

    Keep us updated on the new arrivals.

  13. Red October Says:

    You have my sincerest condolences. Having lost a few furry friends in my time, I feel for you. Indeed, the only true cure is another cat to love.

  14. creekin Says:

    My sincerest condolences mate. RIP Mickey.

  15. nynexman4464 Says:

    It's always a bummer losing pets, we lost two cats much before their prime, one to a car, and the other to a stroke (of all things). At least you didn't have to put him down. My condolences to you.

  16. RichVR Says:

    Truly sorry for your loss.

  17. Boran_blok Says:

    Dan, my sincerest condolences. I feel really sad now.

  18. Joseph Says:

    I'm truly sorry to hear that, you have my sincerest condolences.

    Our cat passed away about a month ago, she was 18 though, so it was at least natural.

  19. MichaelWright Says:

    I'm very sorry to hear that.

  20. Thuli Says:

    Sorry for your loss Dan. Glad you still have feline friends to keep things skittery.

  21. Iceman Says:

    Dan, I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    His memory will live on through your website.

    My thoughts go out to you and your feline friends.

  22. dusty Says:

    I lost my cat the same way a number of years ago, at about the same age. As they say on that other site:


  23. Bastard Child Says:

    Sorry to hear it, Dan :'(

    I couldn't part with my pet, so to the taxidermist we went ($340).

  24. Nimish Says:

    Sorry about your loss, Dan. At least he went peacefully.

  25. moetop Says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss. Considering how much you talk about your furry friends, it easy to see he had a good life.

  26. te.hannan Says:

    Truly sorry to hear he went before his time =(. I too have shared the "kitten review" with many of my friends, and it won't be the same now. At least he pass on comfortably and painlessly. He was a lucky kitty.

  27. frasera Says:

    yea it happens:(
    seemingly perfect health, then sudden death. it happened at year 5 for me too. but yes on the bright side no prolonged death.
    i also had the sneaking suspicion of mushroom as well. but with pets, by the time you see them munching on such things they've swallowed it. nothing to be done.

  28. Romberry Says:

    Dan, I am so sad for the loss of your beloved pet. Here I am half a world away, reading about a cat belonging to someone I only know from the bits and bytes that get displayed on my screen, yet I am remarkably sad. I take some hope in that.

    Bye bye, Mickey. You were a very good boy.

  29. dabrett Says:

    My condolences on your loss. I can only think that it was something sudden- as you say, cats usually go away when they are ill. At least he did not suffer.
    Keep us posted on the new cats!

  30. Changes Says:

    Noooo, poor Mickey...
    I had a very loved cat disappear before, and I remember how bad it made me feel. I'm very sorry for him, and for you.

    Heart attack? From his position he seems to have died in his sleep, so I guess something sudden and painless. At least there's that small consolation.

  31. Luke A Says:

    I'm so sorry to hear that Dan. I remember reading the kitten review for the first time, many moons ago, and although that was the only way I "met" Mickey (apart from the other times he was mentioned in your writing) it still saddens me to hear of his loss. I've had plenty of pets in my time, and plenty of pets who have died, and it's never easy.

    I'm glad you've got the others, though. When one of my dogs died last September it was comforting enough to be able to cuddle and play with two of her (now 8-year-old) puppies, who we still have, as well as my two beloved cats.

  32. Gizmo Says:

    Sorry for your loss Dan.
    Hopefully, shared pain is lessened...

  33. Andy Gondorf Says:

    Deepest sympathies Dan.

    To badly quote something I read after losing someone myself:

    Try not to be sad that you've lost someone special, instead try to be happy that you had the pleasure of knowing them at all.

  34. Chazzozz Says:

    Mate, that's never a nice place to be in.

    But, in the spirit of fun and keeping Mickey's playful sprit alive, perhaps this is an opporunity to update the Kitten Review to include some MTBF figures. Goodness knows, you've got plenty of felines to compare with eachother to work out some rough estimates, including one who's well & truly an anomaly (Tom).

    I was going to mention something about 'diagnostics', but I think in this situation the normal methods wouldn't necessarily apply.

    Oh, and Bastard Child....goodonya Mate!

  35. burkey Says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss Dan. :(

  36. robinsonb5 Says:

    So sorry to read this - you have my sincerest condolences.

    Amazing how such a personal loss can be felt all the way round the world, isn't it?

  37. Stark Says:

    Aww man... I'm away from the computer for a couple of days (dealing with a death in the family - not close relation but still, no fun) only to find this. My sincerest condolences Dan. I lost a cat this way about 5 years ago - it's rally a shock but I found consolation in the idea that he went out doing his favorite thing in the world - sleeping in the laundry. From the sounds of it Mickey went in one of his favorite places and was probably quite happy with himself at the time.

  38. A late arrival Says:

    Damn, that sucks. Like others have said, an unpleasant surprise for us all, but at least it was quick. and I did laugh at the MTBF comment. Hope the gingers are suitable replacements.

    Take care.

Leave a Reply