I'd like to announce the passing of my cat of 17 years, Empeño. He was a mean sonofabitch (whose "momma got eaten by a dog") that I got as a tiny kitten at the Dixieland Flea Market in Pontiac Michigan in 1995. He was with me through college at Wayne State, living in the Cass Corridor during his wild kitten years. He moved with KT and I out to DC in 1999. His happiest was when we moved to South West DC, where he could finally be an indoor/outdoor cat and run around the condo courtyards, and sleep in the low branches of the crab apple tree that grew in front of our parking space. Soon after we moved to Petworth he contracted FIV from a fight with an alley cat. Although not a great mouser, he did manage to deposit a live mouse into our bed one time. He tolerated the extravagant Halloween parties we had every year (with the advice to party guests, "don't touch the mean cat") He enjoyed being scratched on the left side of his chin, below the ear, and only from me, for about 5 seconds at a time (he would then swat at you with no real intention of connecting the blow) The downward slide for him began in 2008 when he was diagnosed with "megacolon". A fecal obstruction that made it near impossible for him to poop. The expensive and unpleasant (for everyone) treatment for this was multiple cat enemas. He was not responding to the medicines and enemas in late 2008, and it looked like the end of the road. But as a last ditch effort the vet recommended "Miralax". The day before he was to be take to the vet for the final time he very successfully responded to the treatment (the phrase that was used to describe the litter box that day was that "it was like a puma had visited") This bought him another 4 years of life. In the final four years he had occasional bouts with the megacolon problem, but more obviously he stopped grooming, taking on "stegosaurus-like" mats on his fur. The end came on the morning of March 29, 2012 (leap day). He had been urinating a lot for the past few days, and it turned out that the fecal blockage was squeezing off his urethra, causing his bladder to fill to overflowing. We decided that he didn't want to be in such pain any longer, and that another round of enemas and medications would not give him a very good quality of life, so we chose to say goodbye. Of all of the kittens in that box I know I got the best one.