Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Letting go: Ferris


We said goodbye to Ferris this morning.

The last survivor of the original Pre-K gang of three from before Jenn & I were married, he showed up one night on the front porch of the duplex Jenn and I rented on Princeton Avenue in Orlando in the early/mid ’90s. We’d only just recently adopted Lucky and Charles Wallace, but when we opened to door to investigate the meowing outside, this guy walked in and made himself right at home. A little dirty, but not street-cat scrawny: We got the impression someone had left him behind in the not-too-distant past.

Also, before we had Ferris fixed, his back end was known to make visitors to the Booth household blush: He was testicularly gifted. It was like a furry orange softball back there. I think the vet wound up putting ’em in a museum or something.

Ferris was a kind of quiet bad-ass. In recent years, when we brought the younger Mr. V and Pepper into the house, they learned quickly that sure, Ferris would let them bat him around a little, but you could tell when they crossed the line, because he would flatten his ears back and his and unleash a lightning right paw to knock ’em silly. He was still able to do this pretty much up until the end, too.

As old cats do, he’d lost a lot of weight over the past year or so, but it was only recently that he started really showing signs that illness was coming: He went mostly deaf and blind, but still had energy and affection to spare. Then he started losing his balance, seeming confused, and walking into things.

He spent a lot of time the past couple weeks in a way that he hadn’t been able to for a long time, though: Sunning himself on the back porch, nibbling at the grass. Our cats have been exclusively inside cats for years, but we knew Ferris wasn’t going anywhere, and wasn’t a danger to any wildlife.

He was also a skilled Cat Jenga competitor and avid nap-taker.

Making the decision to let him go was hard. He wasn’t super-sick, like Lucky or Charles Wallace, but he had begun walking a terribly familiar path, and none of us wanted that for Ferris. When we took him to the vet, the doctor confirmed that he was, in fact, in the earliest stages of organ failure, and had likely suffered a stroke, which accounted for his recent struggles. It was something of a relief to hear that, actually.

Ferris often struck a pose that reminded me of Benjamin Haydon’s famous picture of William Wordsworth:ferris2 

Maybe that’s why for some reason, I felt for a long time like Ferris was “my” cat. (Quote marks, because, you know – cats don’t have people. Still.) He could be grumpy and funny and weird and playful and affectionate.

In looking up that Wordsworth picture, I found this quote from the poet: “The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”

Double for cats, and triple for Ferris, who committed those acts daily in exchange for a lap, an ear scratch, and a fresh can of wet food.

July 8, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I offer my heart-felt condolences. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    Comment by Pandamonium | July 8, 2013 | Reply

  2. So sorry for your loss, buddy. :(

    Regards. AB

    Sent from my iPad

    Comment by Adam Besenyodi | July 8, 2013 | Reply

  3. John,

    It’s been a while since our days at Crain’s. I am laying here with my 7 year old bad ass cat snuggling him, send you our love and condolences.

    I appreciated you sharing your story and want to let you know you and your family are my thoughts!


    Ps I am coming to the aaf new member event at your office tonight. Hopefully I will see you and we can catch up.

    Comment by nicolemburke7 | July 10, 2013 | Reply

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