Farewell, Duff Man …

Yesterday was another sad day in the Reilly-Davis household, as we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to another of our furry critters, McDuffy.


The Duff Man was six years old when we brought him home from the Marin Humane Society on January 23, 2010. McDuffy was a handsome Maine coon … who had previously been named Monterey …

McDuffy nee Monterey Marin Humane Society Photo

… though we chose to rename him.

He quickly proved to be an friendly, even-tempered and affectionate little guy … before long, he developed a routine of coming up to me while I was working, putting his paws on the side of my leg and looking up at me until I picked him up. He would then snuggle down in my arms, pressing his head against the side of my neck and purring up a storm.  Other times, he would simply climb up on my desk, flop down and go to sleep …

McDuffy Asleep on My Desk

…or would “help” with my work on the computer.

McDuffy Paw on Jim's Hand 160129 cropped close up

He also became one of Candy’s little napping buddies, lying beside her whenever she decided to take a nap …

Candy & McDuffy Napping 130819

… and, because of his stocky build, she began calling him “Bear”.

Right up until yesterday, McDuffy had no significant medical issues … he had slowed a bit the last couple of years … and I had to put some steps next to the desk on which he liked to lie under the window in my office because he could no longer jump up onto it. Otherwise, however, he showed no signs of health problems.

Yesterday, after three nights in a row of four hours sleep, I slept late (past noon) … as a result, I was late feeding the critters their breakfast … I fed them shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon … and Duffy jumped up onto the second level of the scratching post, where I often gave him his food bowl. He seemed completely normal.

About an hour later, Candy left for work … and I went upstairs to my office. At 3:45, I went back downstairs and Duffy was lying on the floor in the living room … in a spot where he often slept. I thought he was sleeping and got down on my knees to give him a quick rub … only to discover that he was dead … and, in fact, rigor mortis was already setting in. I turned him over and saw that his big, beautiful eyes were wide open … but it was obvious he had been dead for some time.

I cried over him for about 15 minutes … then wrapped him in a big, soft towel to take him to the vet’s office. On the way, I stopped off at Candy’s work so she could say goodbye, too … and we had another good cry together. Then I took him to Bel Marin Animal Hospital for a private cremation.

Candy had a tough time at work … having to hide in the treatment room several times to cry … and I didn’t do any better at home.

Apparently … as I learned today … Maine Coons are particularly prone to suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy … HCM … and that they can show no signs of the disease before suddenly suffering heart failure. For cats suffering from HCM, the muscle of the left ventricle is abnormally enlarged or thickened … which strains the heart as it tries to pump blood. HCM is described here:


Of course, we don’t know for sure if this was the cause of McDuffy’s death … though it seems likely … and, short of an autopsy, there is no way to determine exactly what happened. One thing we have learned, though, is that if we ever adopt another Maine coon, we will have him tested for the gene mutation that causes HCM.

This has been a difficult four months for us, feline critter-wise … on December 30th, our most recent arrival, Darby, escaped from our back yard … and we haven’t seen her since:


Then, just a few days later … on January 6th … we had to say goodbye to the cat who had been with us the longest, Frasier:


Because it happened suddenly and we had no time to prepare emotionally, however, losing McDuffy is proving to be the most difficult of the three.

Farewell, Duff Man, we are going to miss you.


More Photos of McDuffy



McDuffy on Office Chair

McDuffy on Printer DSC_1502

McDuffy -- Seeing Double DSC_1469

McDuffy on Scratching Post DSC_1185

McDuffy DSC_0953

McDuffy DSC_0976


McDuffy over the Rainbow Bridge

—– McDuffy Over the Rainbow Bridge —–

Three Dot … 133

Goodbye, Mr. Laid Back …

This past Friday, January 6th, Candy & I had to say goodbye to the furry critter who had been with us the longest … our cat Frasier.


Frasier, who we called “Mr. Laid Back” because of his calm and relaxed attitude about … well … everything …


The boy knew how to relax!

… came to live with us permanently on July 26, 2008. An apparent stray as a kitten, he kept turning up at Canyon Manor … where Candy worked … looking for food and attention.

After several days of this, Candy decided to bring him home. One of the three cats she had brought with her to California … Midnight … had died not long before … and Frasier turning up was perfect timing.

We kept him overnight, then took him to the Marin Humane Society … in part to make sure he didn’t have an owner who was missing him … and in part to have him checked out. We signed up to be first on the list if he proved to be adoptable … which turned out to be the case, as there was no report of a missing cat that matched him, he was not chipped and he was in good health.

So, we completed the adoption and brought him home to stay.


Frasier the day he came home to stay — July 26, 2008.

Unlike his feline predecessors in our home, however … and perhaps because he was just a year old … Frasier proved to be both very adventurous and an escape artist.


Frasier up a nearby tree after his first escape … 2008.

This necessitated us turning our deck/garden area into a virtual “cat jail” … with wire fencing extending up several feet … and bending in to prevent him from getting over the fence and out of the yard.


Keeping Frasier In!

Frasier loved his Mommy … and seemed to know that she had rescued him … of all of our critters, he was closest to Candy. He loved to snuggle with her while she was lying in bed … and going to sleep there.


Frasier Curled Up With Candy

Unfortunately, Frasier did not continue to enjoy the best of health. Several years ago, a routine checkup showed that he was suffering from kidney and bladder problems … which required him from then on to eat only a specialized diet of urinary care food.

Then, in the middle of last month, I noticed that his left pupil seemed dilated, regardless of the light … and that he had a build up of some kind of discharge … so, on December 15th, off we went to the vet.

Our regular vet … Dr. Robinett at Bel Marin Animal Hospital in Novato … referred him to Eye Care for Animals in Santa Rosa. The vet there, Dr. Burwell, found that he had a partially detached retina, probably from some internal infection … and prescribed two medications.  We scheduled a follow up appointment for December 30th.

In between, Candy & I were scheduled to travel to Colorado on the 21st … and I was going on to Texas on Christmas Day … both returning on the 28th. So, we boarded our cats, as usual, at Cat’s Cradle in San Rafael … with instructions on how and when to give Frasier his medications.

When I picked up the cats on the 29th, however, I was told that one of the meds had begun to cause Frasier to foam at the mouth … and the Cat’s Cradle vet tech had decided to discontinue them. Frasier seemed very listless and was obviously sick … in some way worse than just an eye problem. That night, I brought him up to my office about 11:00 pm … and shortly thereafter, he vomited up a large quantity of a vile, bloody fluid … at least a pint, maybe more.

The next morning, I took him to his 8:30 am appointment at Eye Care for Animals … and the vet there said he was very sick and needed to be seen by his regular vet as soon as possible. So, back to Bel Marin we went that afternoon … but Dr. Robinett said that Frasier’s condition required emergency hospitalization … so I took him straight to the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of Marin, in San Rafael.

He spent two days hospitalized there, undergoing a variety of treatments and tests … including two blood transfusions. During this time, I had to drive to Southern California for the wedding of one of my nieces … so Candy picked up Frasier on Sunday and brought him home.

Sadly, none of the treatments were beneficial … likely because Frasier had a serious abdominal cancer of some kind. He ate and drank nothing for four days, lost nearly 10% of his body weight and was just lying around … obviously miserable and in pain.

On Thursday, it became obvious what we had to do … so we made an appointment for the next afternoon at Bel Marin. There, as they always have before … with Midnight, Samantha, Macavity and Nano … they treated us … and Frasier … with respect.

After Frasier’s body relaxed in death, blood began to pour out of his nose … and continued to do so for several minutes … a sure sign that it had once again accumulated in his stomach … and a confirmation that there really was nothing else we could have done to reasonably extend his life.

We … Candy in particular … are going to miss our little man, who has been such a good friend for more than 8 years … and who left us too soon.


More Photos of Frasier








“Do not even think about changing the channel from Animal Planet!”






Frasier Over the Rainbow Bridge


Three Dot … 130