A Memorial to Our Little Boy
March 11, 1996 - July 4, 2009

by his parents, Roland Rhoades & Cynthia Poirier

   Often misunderstood and not always lovable, Griswold always marched to a different drummer, one of the reasons he was my favorite. I like the underdog. His name means "from the wild gray forest". He was born as just one of the herd of cats raised by a neighbor who didn't believe in spaying and neutering, who let them all fend for themselves in the fields. Cyndy met him the day he was born and picked him as her new baby. We kept him as an indoor cat, occasionally taking him for walks on a leash, and building him an outdoor pen where he could enjoy the fresh air and be protected from dogs and other animals. He always kept at arms length and was skittish, not wanting to get too close.
   Griswold had personality, and could talk and understand. I usually called him Mr Gris. He would come into my office and meow "Daddy, open the window so I can look at our back yard woods" (photo below). He would meow "out, out" when he wanted to go out the bathroom window to his pen. If it was raining or snowing or icy cold, I'd open the window a crack and say "no, it's raining out there", and he would see and jump back down. He just needed a reason why he couldn't go out.  And he always seemed to be on the wrong side of the door. He hated closed doors. He'd be fine and happy, but as soon as my office door or the bathroom door was closed, he wanted to be on the other side. Once in a while he'd sneak out the door when we were going outside and we would say "Griswold, where do you think you're going? There's doggies out there. Back inside." And he would turn around and come back to the door. Griswold was also always a gentleman. They always had their crunchies out, but whenever there was canned tuna, Miss Piggy (I mean Silka) would barge in first and he always let her. 
   In 2007 he was diagnosed with liver problems, and he gradually mellowed, allowing himself to love and be loved. He was playful to his last days, running from one end of the house to the other chasing his younger (step) sister Silka (the princess), who ran out of energy before he did. He even jumped her bones on a regular basis; luckily he didn't really know what to do. He was always caring and thoughtful of others. When his older sister Orela died in 2001, he comforted his mother by lying next to her on the couch, and he missed Orela, for many days searching and looking around all the rooms of the house to see if she had come back. When we first got Silka that next spring, we set her down on the kitchen floor and Griswold came around the corner and snarled "this is MY house". I held Silka and patted him and told him "no, she's just a baby; we got her for you to play with". They quickly became best buds (photos below).
   In his final year, he allowed us to get down on the floor with him to rub his belly, and he loved getting his hair brushed. But in his final month he made his mom very happy, jumping up on the couch and curling up in her lap every evening, for the first time in his 13 years.
   On July 3 Griswold stopped all eating and drinking and we took him to the vet who did more tests showing his liver and kidneys were failing. He passed away to kitty heaven the afternoon of July 4.
   Here is our photo memorial of his life.

Tossing his mouse in the air. He would be meowing away and we'd wonder what the matter was, and he'd walk proudly into the room with his toy mouse in his mouth. A couple times he came in with a real one from his pen.       >> And he loved laying on my (his) office heater.>>>>

In the window, and in front of his other heater with some toys. [He was a druggie; he loved catnip.]

Atop his perch in his pen. He comes in and out of the bathroom window and meows or knocks on the window when he's ready to come in.

And some photos of Griswold and Silka together, cuddling and keeping warm >>>>>>>>

They were always hanging out together.

Griswold would tell me when he wanted my office window opened.

Silka did love her Griswold, here she is with her arms around him.
And one of his final photos with his Mom.

Griswold, left, lying in the sun on his final day; Silka on right keeping him company.

>>>And life goes on: To the right is our new baby, Eli, here at about 6 weeks, born July 13, 2009.  Silka is still not sure how she likes a baby jumping on her at every turn.

The Final resting place in our back yard.

FOR A DEAD KITTEN - by Sara Henderson Hay
Put the rubber mouse away,
Pick the spools up from the floor,
What was velvet-shod, and gay
Will not want them anymore.
What was warm, is strangely cold.
Whence dissolved the little breath?
How could this small body hold
So immense a thing as Death?

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