Laptop is remembered with great fondness. He died in 2006 after our fifteenth summer together. He was one of the finest cats and hopefully he knew that too. None of these images can do him justice because Laptop was motion and vibration, back when was alive anyway. I miss Laptop.

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Laptop was still enough of a baby in the spring of 1990 that he wasn't destroyed as were most other members of the feral cat colony. He and his cousin were rescued. The pair was returned from more than one placement, the rescuer told me, because they were too feral. They were not being good pets: they ran and hid in closets and under beds. Between adoptions they lived in a basement. Their names were Runner and Sooty. My then-husband heard they needed a foster home for "socialization" and brought them over. The was the summer of 1991.

For days the cats stayed hidden: curled up in their kennel, running to hide in closets or under furniture. Runner looked like a miniature panther, he was the faster and more muscular of the two. Sooty was a "tuxedo" and had the longer hair of the two. (Sooty died young of kidney failure. In Chicago. But that's another story.)

I wasn't totally delighted to have cats. They weren't thrilled with me. We were all trying to not bother the other. I was still grieving a
beloved cat. I wasn't ready. I was okay letting the cats hide or, on those rare occasions they were discovered out, run and hide.

Until the morning after the night of the massacre. The ob tampon massacre. There were dozens of tampons all over the floor. Most were opened enough that their little teal strings had come loose. It had been one heck of a night for the boys. I stepped on one, still in its wrapper, on the way to the bathroom. Another, quite unwrapped, bloomed in the water bowl.

If you're going to mess with me, spake I to the little panthers, I am going to mess with you.

I began a program of aggressive affection: I physically dragged each out from his hiding place, set him on my lap and pet him while talking softly. I thought about giving them different names.

The name "Sooty" really grated on me. It sounded like hissing when I cooed his name. I didn't mind the name "Runner" but the cat was evolving into a lap warmer. I wanted to name them Baskin and Robbins (I was going through an intense affair with 31 Flavors at the time). Baskin fit very well but Robbins never took.

So Laptop became Laptop because he was a laptop. In nearly all of the above pictures Laptop is awake and purring. In the photos immediately below he is purring and nuzzling and head butting, etc. I took the pictures while he was on my lap reaching up to my face, barely enough room for the camera between us.

Laptop learned early that I could be useful to him and he exploited my weaknesses. He claimed my lap whenever I made one, he would wake me when he thought I should be up, he licked my eyebrows and even my scalp when my hair was shaved short. He scolded me when I was gone too long. He pulled out toys when he wanted to play. He liked french fries.

Mitre was less than two months old when she joined us in 1993. She wanted to nurse on Laptop. He let her. In 1996, he let Harley and Reebok too. Laptop was an easy going cat and got along well with the others.

In summer 2003 Laptop was looking and acting sick. He had lost a quarter of his weight. He was diagnosed with feline hyperthyroid. He responded well to nuclear medicine. By the following spring was like a whole 'nother cat. His health was pretty good throughout the balance of his life. He had some degree of kidney failure and a touch of arthritis but nothing that was interfering with his enjoyment of life.

In spring 2006 Laptop had an abscessed tooth removed and following that we had a bit of unpleasantness trying to contain an enterococcus infection in his ear. Then it was a yeast infection. By summer the suspicion was Laptop had a polyp that was creating a safe haven for the infection de jour.

The week Laptop died the vet was coordinating surgery to remove the polyp.

Since his nuclear medicine, Laptop was a cat renewed. He and I shared many cuddly moments. To the annoyance of the other three, Laptop was by my side nearly all of the time I was home. We had a good life together.

When I checked on him Friday morning September first, I saw he was having difficulty standing. His head was shaking. His purr sounded far away.

I called the vet and took Laptop to the hospital. Whatever ailed him was clearly systemic and neurologic. I had to let him go.

After, his doctor wrote: Laptop was a unique fellow and I was extremely fond of him.... I have been thinking about what happened, and wondering if that polyp was cancerous. As I mentioned, some of them are, and it may have been and become invasive. We will never know for sure without the MRI, but that is my hunch. The silver lining in all of this, is that he was good this past week (except at the very end) and he made his own decision -- no more agonizing about what was best. It can truly be a blessing in the long run.... My heart is heavy with his passing. He'll be one I never forget.

Hindsight: a day too late is worse than a week too early.

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