21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Goodbye Portnoy

July 23rd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Some of you already know that Portnoy has not been doing well. At the vet’s recommendation, we were planning to have him put down after a few days, so we could say our goodbyes. Fortunately, he wasn’t in pain, just feeling “blah” all the time due to anemia. I was afraid that I would find him curled up in a dark and quiet corner of our house. My fears were confirmed on Tuesday.

Portnoy and his litter mates were abandoned at a construction site. One of our friends took them in and found new homes for each of them. Portnoy found his way into our home and our hearts in November of 2006.

Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)

Portnoy is named after Mike Portnoy, the drummer from Dream Theater. I have been a fan of the band for over 15 years, having seen them in concert multiple times. I have even met Portnoy’s namesake on a few occasions. He was always friendly and outgoing, just like the cat named after one of progressive rock’s greatest drummers.

Shortly after bringing Portnoy home, we arranged for a checkup with the vet. This is when we learned that he has the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). At first, we were admonished for taking such a cat in, but the vet fell in love with him too. We were told that his odds of surviving the first year were slim. He lived to be almost two years old.

Portnoy loved to groom himself

Portnoy loved to groom himself

Kittens are fast little buggers. They’re hard to catch. He seemed to teleport from one part of the room to another, so we called him “Teleportnoy.” We started appending names and words with “noy.”

  • While Renee was pregnant, I called her “Pregnoy.”
  • When Twilli would go on her serial breastfeeding binges, we’d call her the “Nursenoy.”
  • Portnoy started off as the smallest of the three cats, but grew to be quite large. Sometimes we called him “Biggernoy.”

Portnoy's ComplaintOne question we often got was, “does he complain a lot?” Most people know the title of the Philip Roth novel, “Portnoy’s Complaint,” but don’t know the story. It’s one of those quips that get diluted with repetition, just like the E.T. references I endured all through grade school. Those who actually know the story got a hearty laugh when I said, “no, he doesn’t complain, but we were sure to get him neutered.”

This is especially difficult for me since Portnoy is the first cat I’ve known since he was a little kitten. I never had pets growing up, but got introduced to James and Boo when I met Renee. I call them my “step-cats.”

Renee thought a kitten might allow Boo to call upon her maternal instincts. Instead, James took on the parent/mentor role with Portnoy and they became best buddies. James and Portnoy slept at the foot of our bed every night.

Portnoy enjoys his nap.

Portnoy enjoys his nap.

Portnoy will be missed. He was such a great cat.

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19 Responses to “Goodbye Portnoy”

  1. comment number 1 by: Dad of Divas


    I am sorry for the loss of Portnoy. I can tell by this and your earlier writings that he was a special friend to the entire family and will be missed.

  2. comment number 2 by: List Mama

    Well, that is truly sad. It is nice that Portnoy can be memorialized in such a way, though.

  3. comment number 3 by: Heather

    My condolences. Hugs!

  4. comment number 4 by: Rebecca

    Hey Elliot,

    I’m sorry to hear about Portnoy, but was glad to hear the story behind him. I guess I never knew it. You didn’t have to take him in, but you did and because of that he had a great little life, and you get some great memories in return.

    Big hugs!

  5. comment number 5 by: Jojo

    I’m so sorry for your loss…I know Portnoy was one of those pets that isn’t just a pet but a part of the family. It’s good that he wasn’t in pain.

  6. comment number 6 by: 21st Century Dad

    When Portnoy was a little kitten, he walked across my wife’s computer keyboard.

    He launched Safari and surfed over to 666.net.

  7. comment number 7 by: Lisa

    Sorry about your sweet kitty. You gave him love and a nice home for two years. Thanks for sharing his story.

  8. comment number 8 by: Jared

    Elliot, sorry to hear about Portnoy! I know exactly how you are feeling. We put our dog down a few weeks ago. It was rough… I hope everyone is adjusting well…

  9. comment number 9 by: Katy

    I’m so sorry. We’ve lost several pets. They are a part of the family.

  10. comment number 10 by: Bill

    I’m very sorry to hear about Portnoy. But I’m sure he really appreciated the great care you gave him while he was with you. Here’s to you, Portnoy:

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  11. comment number 11 by: DCUrbanDad

    So sorry about Portnoy. Thinking of you.

  12. comment number 12 by: renee - 21st Century Parenting

    Portnoy, we will always love you!!! I miss having you lay on my chest and “nurse” on my shirt… especially the gray shirt!!!

    (I really believe his mother must have been a gray cat. One of his sisters was a beautiful gray kitty. That is the only other confirmation I need.)

    Portnoy was one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. I am so grateful that we were part of his life.

  13. comment number 13 by: CrazyKinux

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    It’s always a hard time when you lose a pet. He touched your lives for 2 years and had a great time himself.

    I dread the day where will have to explain to our daughter that Cachou or Grizou are gone and not coming back. Until them we’ll let her run after them!!


  14. comment number 14 by: jafne

    portnoy was sooo special … such a good guy … i had no idea his time could be so short … sooooo sorry …

    you took some great photos of him … particularly the position he was in to groom…

    since i believe our furry friends are furpeople … i also believe the below applies to our furry friends that pass …

    When someone dies,
    a cloud turns into an angel,
    and flies up to tell God
    to put another flower on a pillow.

    A bird gives the message
    back to the world,
    and sings a silent prayer
    that makes the rain cry.

    Furpeople disappear,
    but they never really go away.

    The spirits up there
    put the sun to bed,
    wake up grass,
    and spin the earth in dizzy circles.

    Sometimes you can see them
    dancing in a cloud
    During the daytime,
    when they’re supposed
    to be sleeping.

    They paint the rainbows
    and also the sunsets
    and make waves splash
    and tug at the tide.

    They toss shooting stars
    and listen to wishes.

    And when they sing windsongs,
    they whisper to us,
    don’t miss me too much.

    The view is nice
    and I’m doing just fine.

    by anonymous …

    luv ya’ll —

  15. comment number 15 by: 21st Century Dad

    Thank you everyone for the kind words! Portnoy was one of the sweetest souls I have ever known. He is still very much alive and well in all our hearts.

  16. comment number 16 by: JustDaddys.Net

    Sorry for your loss. I can not imagine. We have two dogs and although they were a package deal with marrying my wife, I have come to love them and would have a hard time loosing either. I’m sure Portnoy is laying on the foot of some bed up in Kitty Heaven grooming himself and releaxing.


  17. comment number 17 by: Chelle

    Aw, that is sad to hear about your cat…a house seems so empty without them around. 🙁

  18. comment number 18 by: thebaglady

    Awww, he looks like a cute kitty. I’m sorry for your loss.

    My cat got cancer after he turned 16 and we had to put him down, too. He couldn’t eat anymore and got super super skinny. He lived a long life for a cat, though. My mom got him a cremation and she says that she wants to be buried with him.

  19. comment number 19 by: Beth

    I’m sorry. *hugs* It’s hard to lose our furry family members. Portnoy was a beautiful cat and it sounds like he was quite a personality!

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