Delos, July 26, 1998 – April 25, 2009

The following is an excerpt from a tribute written by Micheal Yaki, Political Consultant, in SFGate. Click the link at the bottom to read it in its entirety.

On the Death of my cat, Delos

Our country loves pets. Correction. Our nation is crazy about pets. Americans love cats, dogs, birds, turtles, various small fuzzy creatures that run around in plastic tubing, fish and, until recently, even chimpanzees. As a nation, we breathlessly await reports on the pet predelictions of our Presidents. If he a dog or cat person? Any instances of pet abuse or suspicious behavior involving firecrackers and stray animals? I would wager that there are people who know more Presidents by their pets than their individual accomplishments (and in the case of W’s Willie the cat or the terrier Miss Beazley, their only accomplishments). Fala (FDR, Checkers (Nixon), Liberty (who can forget the hysterical Chevy Chase as Ford routines on SNL?) Millie (41), Socks and Buddy (Clinton), and now Bo, the hypollergenic Portugese Waterdog, all have or will bask in the glow of their own news stories, wikipedia pages, websites, and People magazine covers.

Pets occupy a unique and special place in our lives. There are even those who say that our bond with animals is genetic, and that there is incontrovertible evidence that the rise of civilization correlates with the rise of pets — not domesticated animals, but pets. Whether the gene that makes people amenable to pets is also related to the gene that compels us to pave over the very habitat that our animals need is debatable. But what is not debatable is that pets are part of our national identity and that whether you measure GDP, time spent, or nerves calmed, pets are part of who we are as Americans.

It stands to reason that as much as we incorporate these furry creatures into our lives (unless, for some reasons, you like the hairless Sphynx or the Peruvian Inca Orchid)that their departing causes as much trauma as the death of a family member. Fala was buried with FDR. The Egyptians would include cats in their burial (no hieroglyphs exist as to whether the cats were willing participants or not). Stroll through any cemetery and you’ll find markers for pets entombed next to or with their owners. Much as been written, broadcast, and youtubed about these bonds, some touching, some bizarre, but they come from the same deep wellspring of emotional conjunction between man and beast.

I guess I’m writing this as a means to cope with the passing of my cat, Delos. Delos was a “tiger” cat, an orange striped tabby of unknown parentage. We adopted Delos as a companion to Martin, our barrel-chested Einstein of a Maine Coon, who we found did poorly whenever we left for more than a day. Our vet, Balboa Pet Hospital, had a technician who raised strays and had found a litter of newborn kittens abandoned in an alley. When the kittens reached 6 weeks, we picked the orange boy who barely fit in my cupped hand and proceeded to boldly walk up my arm to my shoulder. That was Delos. The origin of his name was quite simple. We had just returned from visit to Greece and had cruised over to Delos, a small bare rock covered in ruins that was an ancient center of religion and politics. More importantly, we were told that Delos meant “that which came from nothing” which pretty much described how he came into our lives.

Every night for all 11 years of his life he would jump into our bed and wrap his paws around my wife’s neck while mashing his nose into her cheek, setting off a thunderous rolling purr that lasted until he (or her) drifted off to sleep. More>>