6-14-08 (Photo credit: chrismaverick)

It’s a sad day in the Maverick household.

If you’ve been reading for a while you might remember that just under a year ago, I dedicated a comic to my cat, Tess, who sadly died at the advanced age (for a cat) of 17. Today (well, yesterday as you read this), we lost her brother, Otto, as well. In the picture that is today’s comic, Tess is the cat I’m holding and Otto is being held by Mrs. Mav, Stephanie (and for sharp-eyed readers who may recognize her, she is the model who portrays Sahara, the Starfox, in photos).

Steph got Otto and Tess when they were both kittens, before I met her. As she tells me the story, she had decided she wanted a cat and had settled on getting a girl. She went to the home of a couple who had been advertising a litter of kittens and picked out Tess. But before she could leave, she saw a goofy, clumsy, dorky, little, tuxedo patterned cat with white boots and fell in love with him instantly. She couldn’t bear to leave him behind. And so she came home with two cats, who she named Tess and Othello (or Otto for short).

If Tess was the smartest cat I’ve ever met, then Otto was definitely the friendliest. While Tess was shy and independent, Otto was extremely friendly and social. When people came to our house, Tess would hide in Steph’s office or in our bedroom or explore our basement on her own and not come out until everyone but Steph and I had left. Otto on the other hand would greet people at the door and would crawl into the lap of perfect strangers sniffing and purring and demanding to be pet. He was sweet and funny and amazingly tolerant even with children who could be very rough with him. Every person who ever met him loved him.

A couple weeks ago, Otto started losing his appetite and not eating much (this is a big deal for him as he was extremely gluttonous) and so we took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer that had left a large tumor in his stomach. Luckily, we caught it pretty early, and the vet gave him a 60% likelihood of getting better with treatment. He started chemotherapy that day.

Things were going pretty well. The medications he was on helped bring back his energy levels and his appetite and the doctors told him after his second chemo treatment that he seemed to be responding very well. We were hopeful. Then, yesterday, things took a sudden turn for the worse. He lost all of his energy again and stopped eating. In fact, he barely moved all day and just spent the entire day laying around. This was very unlike him. Steph took him to the vet this morning where the doctors discovered that he’d developed a heart murmur and respiratory failure. These, combined with the lymphoma and his age (18) made his prognosis for recovery very poor. He was obviously in a lot of pain and Steph made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.

Today’s comic is a photo of our family. And now, in less than one year, half of that family is gone. Being a pet owner is extremely rewarding. Tess and Otto brought us both a lot of love and received a lot in return. The tragedy of pet ownership is that despite their undying love, affection and loyalty, their lives are all too brief. But they call it undying love for a reason. Our precious little kittens may be gone, but they will forever be a part of our lives.

I love you, Tess. I love you, Otto. Steph and I will never forget you.

-Mav, one of the two luckiest pet humans ever