So Long Spangles

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm
By: Doug Lund
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spangles xmas sock

I always thought that “Spangles” was a great name for a cat but it wasn’t until last night, on the eve of Spangles’ demise, that I found out how our daughter Suzan and her husband Joe came up with such a clever moniker  nearly 16 years ago. They were living and working in Georgia at the time and visiting friends one evening near Atlanta when they heard a meowing sound coming from beneath their feet. A quick investigation revealed a frightened little orange kitty with big eyes and an attitude had taken refuge there. But the deck was too low for anyone to make a rescue. All attempts to lure it to the light failed. They were about to give up when one drunk fellow  knelt down and, for some reason, started calling the little bugger “Spangles”and to everyone’s amazement, she slowly inched her way forward into his waiting hands. There was much discussion about what to do with the stray cat but no doubt about what to name her. Suzan and Joe already had a male cat called Tempest and weren’t too keen on adding another to the family..especially with their small apartment., but when everyone else passed on adoption, Spangles wound up going home with them anyway. It turned out to be a good arraignment. Tempest soon got used to the notion of being the Alpha male..the big cat of the walk.. and Spangles seemed more than content to serve as his companion and official groomer. They both survived a grueling move clear across country to California where they became Hollywood cats. All was well until shortly after our granddaughter Zoey was born. Suzan discovered Tempest’s lifeless body on the floor one morning. Without warning, the king was dead. Suzan and Joe were devastated, of course, but poor Spangles was just lost.

426797_1827972996580_1757997213_918324_1503867644_nIt took a while, but eventually she took a shine to that new little girl in the house and the feeling was mutual. Zoey was given the cat’s permission to pull her tail, grab little handfuls of orange fur or perform a double-arm squeeze that caused the poor cat’s eyes to bug out. In exchange, Spangles was allowed to snuggle up on her new little friend’s bed each night; an arraignment that has lasted throughout Zoey’s childhood. About seven years ago, the family moved across country again..this time to Lincoln, Nebraska. 428607_1827958956229_1757997213_918309_1407688649_nSpangles had no trouble adapting to her new surroundings. In fact, she thrived there; growing even larger and more beautiful with each passing year and developing a purr as loud as a thousand snowblowers all roaring at once after a Midwest snowstorm. She also had an ear piercing meow which she used to full effect early in the mornings outside our bedroom door when Linda and I would spend a weekend. After I’d let her in, she’d leap up on the bed and..with her engine revved up full blast, would pace back and forth between us until finally settling down at our feet allowing us to sleep a bit longer.  By the time everyone was up and having breakfast at the table, Spangles was right there staring at my granddaughter waiting to be handed her daily treat; the remaining sweet milk from Zoey’s cereal bowl. Life was good and Spangles was in the cat bird’s seat.

Then, the other day, I received the following e-mail from Suzan:

Sad News. Spangles has been declining quickly. The vet thinks she has a tumor. We’re going to have to put her to sleep. Planning for Saturday Morning. We’re all emotional but have talked through it a lot and poor Spangy is just so weak it’s the only humane thing we can do now. Please say a little prayer for’s going to be really hard. Love to you both. Suzan.

Spangles was 16. A good long life for a cat and, of course, ending her suffering was the only option.. but I can’t bear the thought of how this demonstration of mercy is bringing such misery and tears to our loved ones..especially Zoey who, at age ten, has been so close to that old animal all her young life.

This is one of the reasons Linda and I don’t have a pet. She still gets choked up thinking about having to put her dog, Sadie, down over two decades ago and would hate to go through that again. But, I’m pretty sure that even Zoey would say that the heartbreak of today and in the weeks to come is a tiny price to pay for all the wonderful years she shared with that big old orange ball of fur.


R.I.P. Spangles.


  1. Cam Lind says:

    Heartfelt story, we understand. We lost our two long time pets in the last two years. It is tough.

  2. sherrol452A says:

    I can understand their pain. We had to put our dog “Ruffus” down because someone in our neighborhood fed him anti-freeze. Sorry for her loss.

  3. Marilyn Hedblom says:

    My heart goes out to that family.. I have done this so many times, swearing I would never get another kitty.Then I do.. Her kitty lived a long life she must have had good care.. Poor little girl..

  4. Sweeps says:

    I’ve recently learned the heartbreak, too, of losing a treasured family member, so I offer my condolences to your whole family. I was privileged to hold my dear, sweet, blind Sophie in her final hours as she suffered a seizure the week before Christmas. I know that when the time is right, I’ll have another, but for now, the brother (Henry–who looks exactly like Spangles) and 2 sisters she left behind are enough for me.

  5. Dianne Gross says:

    I understand, I am so sorry, we lost our Mistyrainbow several months ago and still expect her to walk into the room at any minute. Pets are a true blessing, they always love you no matter what.

  6. Steve says:

    Touching story, Doug. I adopted a cat from the sister of a co-worker. Adopted the one who was slightly deformed because I was worried that nobody else would take him. Then I got married (he didn’t like my wife…and the feeling was mutual)…then our daughter was born. He disappeared later and I searched animal shelters around metro-Phoenix to find him but to no avail. My daughter is now 20 and has two orange Pomeranian dogs. I was always a “big dog” kind of guy, but you have to love a small dog that meets you at the front door every evening and jumps up (4 feet straight up) repeatedly and clearly is saying “I missed you, I love you, you’re the most important person in the world to me”

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