Here's my all time favorite photo of him, taken in the first few days of being together. By this time, I had given him his name -- Clawde. It was the perfect name and totally fit his personality.
He was a little bundle of energy. He loved to run around the house and jump up on desks and tables and shelves, etc. But he made up for that in pure affection. I've had cats before, when I was growing up, but never had such a close bond as I did with Clawde. He had more personality than most cats which countered the stereotype of cats being aloof and snooty. He was a very cuddly cat. If you sat down to watch TV or read a book, within 90 seconds he'd hop up in your lap. If you were laying down, he'd lie on your chest.
As he matured, his boundless kitten energy mellowed out a bit -- but not so much that he stopped being active. Actually, he continued to act like a young cat well into his "senior" years. He was athletic enough to be able to jump up on a high table, and still sprint across the room, leaping over obstacles.
Clawde still maintained his youthful vigor. Almost every day, he'd get the "morning crazies" where do his morning sprints just for fun, and he'd always run a lap or two right after using the litter box. But he was a well-mannered cat. On weekday mornings, he'd politely wait until my alarm went off before running to the kitchen meowing for food. After feeding him in the morning, he'd like to take his post at our window, looking out at the scenery.
In the days when we still let him go outdoors, he'd hop up on the car's hood to greet us when we'd come home. He'd catch large leaves and bring those to the porch as gifts. I remember one time he had what looked like a lizard in his mouth, but turned out to be a long leaf. He dropped it and proceeded to play around with it like it was prey. Another time, we saw him chilling next to a squirrel as it was eating some kind of nut. Clawde was the living embodiment of Ahimsa, or non-violence.
Pamela and Clawde had a special bond, as you can see from the photo below. In fact, Most of our photos with him have us holding him, or him snuggled up next to us.
Here's a recent photo from a few months ago of Clawde in one of his favorite poses on our bed:
Clawde's spirit was indomitable. He gave Pamela & I unconditional love. If you've ever lost a beloved pet in your life, then you know the heartbreak. Our pets are more than just animals--they are our best friends. They don't judge us, and they don't demand (much) from us. They don't hold on to the past...rather, they live completely in the moment. If we give them unconditional love, they return that love a hundred fold. And when they leave us, it leaves a big hole in our lives.
I had never heard about the Rainbow Bridge until Clawde passed away. Here's a link to the poem: The Rainbow Bridge. I know someday Pamela & I will reunite with him there.