In Memorium: King Tut the Manx

In Memorium: King Tut the Manx

On December 24th, 2011, I went to the animal shelter in Greenville, South Carolina with the express purpose of adopting a cat for the very first time. I’d always like felines, enjoyed playing with them at other people’s houses, etc., but I’d never had one of my own. I was a dog person overall, and the couple times I’d brought the idea up to my father during my younger years, I was promptly shut down. Cats weren’t loyal, he’d tell me.  They’re liable to take-up with anyone. They don’t love like dogs do. For many years while I still liked cats, I believed all those statements.

That’s no longer the case thanks to King Tut.

 

When I walked into the shelter, a young female volunteer told me that they were having a special on adoptions. I remember the price being $25 for cats and maybe $40 for dogs. After informing the young lass that I was only there to look at cats, she escorted me back to their area and told me to look around and see if any caught my eye. So, I walked around for awhile and looked at the various options.  A couple looked OK, a few hissed at me from their cage, and one Siamese cat stood tall and proud on top of the carpet treehouse. He was so beautiful. You could also tell he had become accustomed to getting most of the attention when people walked into the room. While he was nice to me and everyone else, he also seemed a bit like he was bored with us all.

Still, I figured he would be a good pick, so I asked another teen volunteer about his details. He was five years old, a pure Siamese, and he also cost $150, not the advertised $25 special price. Apparently, the purebreds weren’t included in the deal. They were still selling him cheaper than usual, just not at the bargain basement price.

Unfortunately (or so I thought at that moment), I only had $50 to spend. The Siamese was out of the question. I hung around for a minute and thought about my options. I didn’t want to get a cat that I didn’t think would fit in with me and the two dogs I already had, so I was starting to think about leaving empty handed. But all of a sudden, yet another teen brought out this little black cat and put him in one of the empty cages. I figured he was worth a look before I left, so I went up and started playing with him a little. He was so friendly, not to mention cute. And unlike any of the other cats, he seemed taken with me. For some reason, we clicked right away.

After a few minutes, I noticed something strange. The lil’ fella was missing his tail. My immediate thought was that some asshole had cut it off for sport, but after inquiring about his, one of the teeny-boppers informed me that he had been born without a tail. He was a Manx. King Tut the Manx, to be exact. I’d never even heard of cats born without a tail, so I thought this was cool as shit. I still resisted adopting him right away, though.

As the girl and I discussed King Tut’s history, he was released from his cage so he could play some. According to her, he had been left abandoned in an apartment with several dogs for a few days before a neighbor finally called the shelter. Because of this, and his overall attitude, it was assumed that he would do fine with canines. That was big for me, of course. Almost as an aside, I was told that he had been kept in the back for the last couple of weeks because of a respiratory infection. He was now cleared, according to the vet. Oh, and he was only $25.

After we finished our chat, I turned around in time to see young Tut take swipes at the Siamese cat’s tail as it swung, pendulum-like, from the top of the carpet treehouse. The Siamese barely took notice, but he made sure to move his tail at just the right time to allude Tut’s grasp. It was pretty amusing. But one thing that wasn’t amusing was the young family that was laughing at the spectacle while eyeing Tut. I quickly grabbed one of the volunteers and told her that I’d made my decision. The King was coming home with me. I still remember that same girl asking me if I was going to change his name when we got home. “Hell no,” I answered.  “It’s one of the best names for a cat that I’ve ever heard.”

Tut ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me. He was loving, loyal, and extremely intelligent. He was not like your average cat. He didn’t scare easy, and he warmed up to anyone. Even as a kitten, he would roll around and play with Ivy, my mixed-breed dog who was ten-times bigger than him. The little guy was fearless. And he never stopped swiping at tails as Tug, my dog, can attest to.

He helped me through so many rough times in my life that I would be hard-pressed to recount them all here. A break-up, deaths, disappointments, disillusionment, you name it, and he was there to cheer me up. He seemed to sense when I needed him the most. The only other animal that I’ve ever felt that some bong with was my childhood dog, Sadie. Even though she died tragically, I had 15 years with her. I only ended up having 5 and a half with Tut.

He passed away while curled up in the bathtub, where he liked to sleep when it was dry.  I’d left him with my mother, who was in rehab at the time after heart surgery.  The woman we hired to come by and feed the animals everyday found him.  She said he looked peaceful and appeared to have slipped away in his sleep. The vet later told my Mom that his lungs and/or heart had just given out.  He said that the respiratory infection he had when he was a kitten probably had something to do with this outcome. He also mentioned that Tut was a purebred Manx, something I had long suspected but never knew for sure. As many of you know, mysterious ailments like this often claim the lives of purebreds. Of course, if that shelter in Greenville had known what they really had, he would have been priced in the Mr. Siamese range and not the $25 my broke ass was able to get him for. I’m eternally thankful for their mistake.

I will always miss the King. He was my cat like Sadie was my dog. I have and will have other cats and dogs, but there will never be another Tut just like there will never be another Sadie. It’s impossible. He was the one to show me just how special a cat could be. He followed me around everywhere, slept under my feet or in my bed, and we had so much fun playing together all those years. He would jump up over the side of my chair while I was in the middle of writing something so he could get some attention and give me a nuzzle. There was this adorable Manx-noise he would make that I had never heard before. It was like a loud, audible purr, or something. Oh, and his silent meows must not be forgotten. Or how he would sit upright on his ass while grooming himself since he had no tail cramping his style. Plus the shaky balance he sometimes had because of that same feature. He was such a character.

The bond we had was unshakable. I didn’t think it was possible to have a cat like him, but he proved me wrong on so many counts. Every day I’ve looked at the picture of us I’ve put up on my wall and thought about how I would scoop him up when I finally got home and carry him around the house triumphantly. Unlike most cats, he loved that. Now, I will look at the same photo and think about all the priceless memories we shared. I thought we had more time. I never considered the final look you gave me as I walked out the door would be the last time I ever saw you alive. I’m sorry I had to leave, little buddy. There’s no way for me to make it up to you now, but I hope you died knowing that I was coming back for you. I will always miss you and I’ll never forget the love and joy you brought to my life.

Rest in Peace, King Tut the Manx.

Ethan Ralph

Founder, Owner, & Editor-in-Chief of TheRalphRetort.com. Political fiend, gamer, & anti-bullshit.

  • Sean Northrup

    So sorry to hear your furry friend passed away. Even more sorry it had to happen while you were in the clink. I hope it doesn’t make you too depressed. Focus on the good 5 years of life you gave King Tut.

  • Danlantic

    Black Cats Matter

  • Geez, and you were set to be released in just a few months, weren’t you? Such a tragedy for this to happen now.

    Hopefully, you can move on and find it in your heart to eventually get another cat. That wasn’t the case for me for a while…. if you don’t mind me divulging my own story, I’ve always been a cat person myself, but after the death of the two that’ve been with me for most of my late childhood and all of my teen years, I just kinda took it easy and lived without having to care for an indoor pet for a few years. This all changed five years ago, when my mother pushed me to take in a cat that was about to be put to sleep by her owners (they were elderly and worried about tripping over her). I didn’t really like feeling that the cat was forced onto me at first, but she managed to rekindle my love for felines.

    However, she also died in the middle of last year…. and it was a pretty horrific experience, too. Lemme tell ya, if there’s one silver lining I could see with your situation, it’s that King Tut seems to have passed away peacefully (though, it’s a real shame you couldn’t have been there for his final moments). With me…. well, have you ever seen a cat have a stroke? That’s something that’s gonna stick with me. The cold, dead look in her eyes as she let out the loudest meow I ever heard from a cat, her body going almost completely limp, staying with her all through the night while waiting for the vet to open, only to discover there was nothing that could be done for her except to put her down. Part of me thinks I should’ve seen it coming; she was supposedly 10 years old when I first got her, and she was already deteriorating. Still, I was holding out hope that she’d recover, which just hit me all the harder when that stroke happened. Fortunately, my grandmother already planned to give my previous cat a companion, one of the strays hanging around her office, so that ended up just being my new cat almost immediately afterwards. Then I was lucky enough to come across another stray just walking down my street only a couple weeks later. I’ve been living happily with these two ever since.

  • Emil Åslund

    Oh, didn’t realize yesterday that the pictures you retweeted yesterday was related to this. My condolances. It’s hard losing a pet. It must be especially hard when you’re away.
    I hope you can find a new cat soon.

  • Loopy Loon

    I know what you’re going through, got this tortie kitten back before the millennium, she was my favorite little lap-warmer, sadly left our world last September. You have my condolences.

  • Toastrider

    It’s always hard to let them go. Condolences, Ralph.

  • Mykeru

    RIP