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Cicero, 1988-2007

LAOS | Sunday, 30 December 2007 | Views [1141] | Comments [3]

Cicero in 2005

Cicero in 2005

Cicero, our family’s dearly beloved Siamese cat, died on Thursday, December 27 at the age of 19. He was loud, noisy, highly affectionate, very sweet-tempered yet sometimes quite demanding, highly independent, and dearly loved. We chose him out of a large litter because he was the most active of all the kittens, always climbing out of the basket, and it seems this drive served him well, living a long and full cat life.

We picked him up on a cold December night in 1988 (my freshman year of high school) and I remember holding him inside of my coat in the car to keep him warm. On the way home, we stopped to have dinner with the Coppola's (to wish my cousin John a bon voyage before he left on a cruise) and we passed him around the room. He never objected.

My mother started to call him “a rag doll cat” because he would just sit and your lap and purr, totally relaxed and wouldn’t move, even if you did.  You could hold him up, carry him around the house, balance him around your neck; he rarely minded. She and my brother even played catch with him sometimes and he never raised an eye, nor a paw. He was the most laid-back Siamese cat we had ever encountered. When he was small, he would curl himself around my neck while I worked on my homework. It was the sweetest thing, and quite warming during the cold New England winters.

We thought we had lost him one summer in Maine when he disappeared for two weeks. We went out every day and night, combing the woods around the Grimes’ house, calling his name. We plastered Southport with posters with his photo, offered a reward, asked all of our neighbors if they had seen him. After two weeks we were close to giving up hope, fearing that we had lost him to a fisher or a coyote. Then, word came from an elderly woman who lived on David’s Island. She thought she had seen him, but then she wasn’t sure if it was a fox or not. But she had heard strange noises in the night.

David’s Island is across the harbor, separate from the mainland and can only be reached by boat. We were quite doubtful that Cicero could have managed to get out there, since he is a cat with no interest in water. But we rowed out to her house, and started calling. And who should appear, but a very thin and bedraggled Cicero, meowing all the way. We were so happy (as was he), and completely amazed that he had managed to survive for so long on his own AND somehow get himself stranded on an island.

We hypothesized that there had been a full moon and a very low tide that created a small land bridge in the narrow gut that runs between the island and the mainland. I’ve never actually seen it dry at low tide, so it's a rare event indeed to be able to walk across it. Somehow he must have stumbled upon the gut at a once-in-a-blue-moon low tide and made his way across. Part of his ear was torn in the ordeal, and he always carried that mark of his island-hopping experience.

There are many more Cicero stories, but this one is my favorite. We all will miss him very much, but especially my mother who lovingly cared for him in his old age, feeding him food mixed with warm water (and occasionally salmon), making sure he always had a soft, warm place to nap, and a warm body to curl up next to at night.

Tags: cats, cicero, family



I am so sad about Cicero! I know he had a full life, but still - I can't imagine your house without pets. xoxo M

  Maria Jan 3, 2008 3:47 AM


Oh, Justiney, I am so sorry to hear about Cicero! But, as we say in Australia (and probably other cricket-obsessed locations), he had a good run at the wicket. Still sorry to hear this news! xoxox al

  Alexis Jan 10, 2008 3:56 PM


I will miss Cicero so much. I have cat sat him for many yrs. We woild lie on your Mom's bed and watch the news, then Emily Rooney and Jeopardy, w/ my petting him all the while. He was so sweet.

Jane Feb. 26, 2008 1:10 a.m.

  jane doherty Feb 27, 2008 4:57 PM

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