Saturday, April 07, 2018

In Memoriam: Yummers Potatoes (2000-2018)

Yummers Potatoes
2000-2018

A couple weeks ago, our sweet boy Yummers died at the age of 18. We adopted him when he was about 1 year old, and so we shared our lives together for 17 years and 1 week. Today I am 44 years old, which means I was only 27 when we brought him home. It's amazing to think of all the changes and events in our lives since then... with little Yummers by our side the whole time.


This picture was taken in the first few days after we first got Yummers. 
We were all three little babies!

Yummers was the first pet we got together, and it was so exciting. We were absolutely obsessed with him - looking for him the second we walked in the house and nearly assaulting him with snuggles. For years, we threw a big party every year to celebrate "Yummers Day" - with activities like making catnip toys, or coloring in drawings of Yummers. We stopped doing this when we realized that Yummers wasn't actually enjoying his own party. Ha ha. Many years later though, Yummers did come to enjoy parties - especially if there were about 8 people or so. If it was a big party, he would wait until lots of people had left, and the party was the right size for him. Then he would come out and socialize like the lord of the manor!


"the long distance snuggle"

When we first got Yummers, he was not interested in snuggles. He had an injured foot and came from the shelter with a kitty cold, and he was just plain meek and very afraid. It took us such a long time to win him over and to help him emerge from his shell. We were patient with him, and played with him, and even fed him little nibbles off our plates to win his good favor (it worked!). His first official "snuggle" was when he would sit within arm's reach near us on the sofa. We named this move "The long distance snuggle."


Yummers was always food motivated! 

When we adopted Yummers, the vet told Musty that "you could just leave food out for him to eat." About a week later, Musty suggested that I buy a new bag of cat food. "Already??" I asked. It turned out Yummers had happily plowed his way through a whole bag of kitty kibble in no time at all. And Mr. VE&T had never had a cat before, so he didn't know any better! ha ha. After that, we took to giving him smaller servings twice a day. 

We kept the container of extra food up on the mantle of our fireplace... until one night when we came home from a dinner date only to find that Yummers had - against all odds! - jumped up to the mantle (we could see the claw marks in the wood!) and knocked the container down, and distributed kibbles far and wide across the land. He was most delighted with his handiwork. 


A year or so later, Yummers  actually became quite athletic! His foot injury slowly healed and soon he was jumping over fences, climbing trees, hunting bugs and gophers in the garden (not vegan! sorry!), eating grass, and jumping up and down to his super tall kitty tower. 


in our magnolia tree... looking like such a youngster! 

My yoga buddy

Yummers was my faithful yoga buddy. He loved being out in the studio with me, especially since he was the only one allowed out there with me. It was a dog-free zone, and a special place for just Yummers and me. Some mornings I wouldn't really feel excited about practicing, but Yummers would be there, meowing and heading for the back door - guiding me like Lassie! 

Yummers' most favorite pose was baddha konasana. I had to do this every single time we did yoga together - he liked to climb into the space between my heels and my legs. Then he would purr and snuggle and soak up all the snugs he wanted. Sometimes I would have to do this several times in one practice session! 


Yummers had his own private entrance to the yoga room... up the little red stairs and through the window. In the summer, I would leave the window open for him to come and go as he pleased. He loved to sit on the stairs, or often half-inside the yoga room and half-outside - soaking up the joys of the great outdoors. 


Chatty Yummers

Yummers was a real talker! And he just loved to be sweet talked. He loved his name so much - one of our favorite games was to say his name to him in a super perky way, and then he would respond immediately with a hearty chirp!
Amey: "Yummers!"
Yummers: "Mrow!"
Amey: "Yummers!"
Yummers: "Mrow!"
It could go on like this for quite a while. He also loved if you just said his name over and over and over real fast "YummersYummersYummersYummersYummersYummers..." It would make him purr so loudly!


Acutally, this is pretty amazing, but Yummers was such a good communicator that he had a distinct meow for many different circumstances. We could tell the difference between when he was meowing just to say hi, asking to be fed, bossing Dottie around, about to throw up, angry, and so on. It was really incredible. But also, it was just fun because he always had something to say.


in his life time, Yummers had over one million nick names...
here are a few favorites off the top of my head:

YumBum // Little Baby Yummers // Yummino Acid // Osama bin Sweetie
Po-tay-to // Foo D. Nose // Potentate // Yummers Bummers
Yummers Yummers Monkey Summers // Snuggy Boy
 Little Lord Yummers // YummersYummersYummersYummers

"the cutie"

We had names for many of Yummers' cute moves. In 17 years of togetherness, Yummers never sat on our laps. He was not into that. But, he did love sleeping between my feet on the bed... and after several years, he decided to drape his little paws over my leg while he slept. I know this sounds crazy, but we were so excited that we freaked out and named this new move "the cutie." ha ha. It remained a favorite of his for the rest of his days - and in fact, he spent most of the last few months of his life in his favorite little kitty bed, with his paws draped over the edge, cutie-style. 


"the cutie" in action,
with added yawn power! 

Yummers wasn't into super physical contact, he didn't sleep on our laps or "make biscuits" on our laps... but what he lacked in physical affection, he more than made up for with emotional presence. The minute you walked in the back door, Yummers would be there, amid all the barking dogs, persistently meowing hello and angling for his own affection. If I was in the front room, within a few minutes, Yummers would be there too. If we were out in the backyard, Yummers would come out the backyard. He loved to be with us. He loved to swoop around between my ankles and snugged and smooshed. He loved to be picked up and snuggled any chance he could get. He was really in the mix, really a part of the gang.


Sunshine Appreciator

Yummers was a true lover of sunshine
He was also very handsome.

Yummers and I had a very special sunshine routine in the backyard. He just loved when I would sit outside out in the back, and especially when I would put down a towel to lie on. He would materialize out of nowhere, and lie next to me in the sun, basking in the warmth and companionship. But I was *not* allowed to pet him while he was sun bathing - or he would turn on me and bite me! 

In the house, Yummers had an astute and keenly programmed routine of sun chasing: on the bed in the early morning, in the dining area in the late morning, in the back yard around noon, and then either the futon or the foot of the bed for the late afternoon sun. I'm tellin' ya, he had a pretty good life. 


sunshine on the Most Desirable green chair

Yummers had such a beautiful belly - and happily, he loved to have his belly petted, smooshed, snuggled, wiggled, and I was even allowed to smoosh my face up against it pretty much whenever I wanted.

Yummers and I had such a special thing. I just felt like I understood him. Any little move he made, any little glance or nudge, any shift in behavior and I felt like I knew what he wanted. I just understood him and I never felt like he was a weirdo or a mystery to me. Also, sweet Yummers enjoyed the snuggles I liked to give him and he happily let me pet him the way I wanted to pet him! I know it sounds a little selfish, but I really loved this about him so much. 



left: the "two-paw salute"
right: the "one paw salute"

This was one of Yummers' most favorite moves: the salute! He loved to be held over one shoulder like this, and it was best if you supported one of my back legs, but let the other one hang down. Ha ha. He was so particular! When he was happy, he would extend one arm out into the air. When he was really, really happy he would extend both arms out! The two-arm salute! 


#crossedpaws


This doodle is a stand in for 3 important snuggles:
1. "Tube Hug"
2. "The Trap"
3. "The Hobby Horse"

1. The Tube Hug: Yummers loved to be slowly petted from his head to his kitty butt, with our hands wrapped all the way around his kitty girth.

2. The Trap: at some point Mr. VE&T realized that if you placed one hand on top of his back and one hand on his belly and start smooshing your fingers, Yummers would immediately surrender and lie down for more snuggles. Hoorah! Obviously, this was immediately named "the trap," for our reluctant little snuggler.

3. The Hobby Horse: Honestly, Mr VE&T deserves full credit for discovering so many of Yummers' favorite little moves. In the last few years, he discovered just how much Yummers loved to be gently wiggled. Especially if you put him on the end of the bed. It was a special little bond they shared!



Yummers was a feisty little fella in his youth - he loved to play with his toys and he would get this little cross-eyed and wild look. Sometimes, totally out of the blue, he would jump up and attack my head for no reason! Except he was so chubby that his fuzzy little chub belly would just hit me on the head. He wanted to be fierce, but he really wasn't. He was just a sweet little bub. Ha ha ha! 


derp! 


You are not my friend
ha ha ha

This picture cracks me up. Yummers was not a fan of the dogs, but he adapted reluctantly. It's safe to say that he was the patriarch / dictator of our furry pack - a position he relished and enforced with an iron paw. Although he was able to tolerate the dogs (and they were all terrified of him), he absolutely was not able to tolerate poor Footie. Bringing Footie into our family was an act of betrayal that poor Yummers just could not abide, and he protested several times a day - mostly by continuously pestering Footie. It was a non-stop array of swats, minor aggressions, antagonism, kicking Footie out of his spot in the sun... only to follow him and kick him out the next spot... and the next spot. I'm convinced that this singular focus actually gave Yummers' life meaning and purpose in his final years.


The most interesting cat on the internet


What a beautiful picture of sweet Yummers Potatoes in his prime. 


Our veggie-loving sweet heart 

Of course one of the things that we all knew and loved about Yummers was his voracious and completely self-driven love of vegetables. What a nut! He loved pretty much all vegetables but his top 4 were definitely corn, asparagus, broccoli and green beans. Beyond that, all green veggies (kale, chard, spinach, peas, etc) were also preferred. Not to mention chips, crackers, rice cakes, popcorn, tortilla chips, and on and on. None of the other pets were ever allowed to have human food, so Yummers also enjoyed his very special privilege while the others looked on longingly. Ha ha. He really was quite imperial! 


A typical lunch experience:
me, attempting to eat my lunch in the sunny back yard, Yummers aggressively angling for his share of my veggies, Stevie looking on with eternal optimism! Yummers almost always managed to get a few nibbles from me. How could I resist?


Yummers'  "FEED ME!" face!
ha ha ha. I just love this picture so much, and I will always be grateful for it.
It really captures something so essential about him! Bossy and spunky and hungry!
Our friend Kendra took this picture when she was housesitting for us. Thanks Kendra.


Last but not least, three videos of Yummers eating his veggies with zeal and vigor! 


Yummers Eats His Broccoli

Yummers Eats His Corn
(I couldn't get the video to load correctly)


Yummers Eats His Asparagus

A few days after Yummers died, I went to the farmers' market only to find that the asparagus ladies were there for the first time this season. Of course they asked about him, because I was always buying more asparagus for him. I bought asparagus that day, but it took me several days to actually eat it because it kept making me cry. I know I'll never eat asparagus again and not remember my sweet Yummers Potatoes. 

In his last two days, he ate almost nothing... two nibbles of Tofurkey slices, and two tips of steamed asparagus. I love that he got his favorite veggie in his final days... he didn't have much appetite, but he could certainly rally for some delicious asparagus.  Rest in Peace, little veggie-lover.


my sweet little guy

25 comments:

  1. My girl is 18 and I also got her when I was 26. This really touched my heart - beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. This was SO beautiful Amey. Thank you for sending wonderful, beautiful Yummers Potatoes vibes out into the world. Or should I say, "Yummino Acid and Osama bin Sweetie" vibes. Rest in peace, magnificat! You loved well and were well loved in return.

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  3. Oh, Amey. You wrote a wonderfully special tribute for Yummers. It's amazing how impactful our furry companions are on our lives. I'm so happy your shared a full life with him!

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  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. My family had to say goodbye to our beloved eighteen year old kitty Spenser last July. It is so hard, I know. But no matter how deep the pain, our fur babies are so worth it. Sending love and light...

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  5. What a wonderful tribute to your Yummers. He sounds like such a special cat -- full of personality! So very sorry for your loss.

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  6. What a beautiful post, Amey. I am so, so sorry for the heartbreak you must feel losing such an amazing companion. And at the same time, I had a big smile on my face the entire time I was reading this, because he was obviously such a special boy and you really conveyed that with your words and pictures. Thank you for sharing him with us. He was a lucky boy to have been chosen by you, and it is clear how much love there was between you.

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  7. So many wonderful little memories of Yummers - thank you for sharing them.

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  8. Longtime reader, rare (if ever?) commenter. Thanks for sharing this lovely tribute to a clearly spectacular cat. The combination of photos and drawings just bursts with love and appreciation for a cool cat. I found myself smiling while feeling sadness for you all on the loss of a great companion. I'm so glad you found each other and that Yummers lived such a good life. Cheers to all.

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  9. This is such a beautiful, moving tribute to such a wonderful cat. <3

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  10. Connie9:24 PM

    What a sweet tribute to Yummers. I am so sorry for your loss. He was a very special kitty.

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  11. My heart goes out to you Amey. This post brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes. What a wonderful life you and Yummers shared together <3

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  12. What a great tribute to Yummers. I love all the detail and documentation about his favorite and very particular pastimes, passions, and positions. So many great photos including the wonderful shot of him basking in the sun in the green chair with his full belly exposed! What a long, playful life he enjoyed surrounded by so much special love and attention. Lucky him and lucky you. xx

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  13. Oh Yummers, what a lucky boy he was and how lucky you all were to enjoy his company for those years. My old lady kitty died at 20, a couple of years ago. It's tough, but such wonderful memories help to make it bittersweet. Thanks for sharing <3

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  14. Such a beautiful life & well written story, thank you for sharing!

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  15. what beautiful eulogy for your dear Yummers. Thank you for sharing him with us. You were so lucky to have him in your life and he to have you as Mr. VE&T. My deepest condolences to you and your pack for your loss.

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  16. Laura C.6:06 PM

    Thank you for posting this! I very much enjoyed reading about Yummers. A truly unforgettable cat. I remember watching videos of him years ago eating asparagus. It's unbelievably hard losing a loved one, but how lucky you all are to have had each other. It sounds like Yummers couldn't have asked for a better life.

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  17. I'm so sorry for your loss, Amey. You sound like such a great cat Mom. Your animals surely know how much they are truly loved by you and Mr. VE&T.

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  18. Amey!!! What a beautiful tribute!!! I'm so sorry for your loss. And I'm so happy that Mr. Yummers had such a fabulous life. What a sweetie. I seriously cried about 10 times while reading this! That asparagus video! That green chair pic!! YUMMERS!

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  19. So sorry you've lost your sweet Yummers, Amey — such a gorgeous and exceptional boy. You've written a beautiful, heartfelt tribute that captures the love you and Yummers shared. My condolences to you and Mr. VE&T.

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  20. Beautiful tribute to your beloved Yummers, Amey!

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  21. I will always love sweet Yummers even if only in spirit and memory now. I remember him biting my fingers or elbow to wake me up when I would house sit for you guys. Souch a sweet and feisty soul 😻

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  22. what a sweet and touching tribute to your little kitten! we lost our kitty boy of 18 last fall and it was and still is pretty devastating, but remembering all his adorable personality quirks helps so much. i'm so sorry for your loss.

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  23. paperweight3:53 PM

    Aw, Yummers. I'm so sorry for your loss, Amey. And I'm so glad that Yummers ended up with you and Mr.VE&T. It's clear, from this post and so many others, how much you loved him and how much he loved you right back.

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  24. Oh no Yummers! I'm sitting here at the airport trying not to cry! Such a beautiful tribute!

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  25. Anonymous11:24 PM

    What a sweet and loving tribute to an amazing kitty! I remember many of Yummers doodles, eating his asparagus. And his war with Footie. I love the pictures of him on the stairs and in the tree, what a great life he had. I'm sure you miss your tabby boy very much. Headbutts from our kitts here.
    Andrea

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