The Story of Socks

Socks relaxes in her room

She came to live with me in the summer of 2003 with her brother Felix when they were around four months old. They were from a litter of barn cats at my brother’s ranch.

Socks and Felix

While Felix was a friendly little goof, Socks was always stand-offish and a bit high-strung. I would pet her a little bit every day, but she didn’t really care if she got petted or not. Meanwhile, Felix would be crawling all over me, rubbing and snuggling.

Socks and Felix's tail

Things changed when one day a young bobcat came up onto my porch and attacked Socks. Through the glass in the porch door, I saw a blur of tan fur chasing her, and heard the thump of them hitting the porch wall. I jumped up and opened the porch door, to see Socks crammed into the corner of the porch, held down by one of the bobcat’s huge paws. They both looked up at me. I didn’t want to threaten the bobcat into attacking me, but I had to make it let go of my kitty, so I reached down and tapped it lightly on the side. That startled it into letting go of Socks. She dashed into the house, and the bobcat jumped off the porch and stood there watching me. I didn’t want it hanging around to possibly attack my kitties again, so I ran outside yelling and waving my arms, and it trotted off around the house. I chased it twice around the house, until it finally took off down the road.

I found Socks hiding in the kitchen under the cabinets. I let her stay there until she felt like coming out the next day. The whole side of her face was swollen where the bobcat had whacked her head, and her eye got infected from a small puncture wound near her eye, but she recovered completely after that. She also decided at that point that I was okay, and we became friends.


She also started spending most of her time indoors after that.

Socks with her feet up

By her lights, the entire house should have been hers, but my older cat, Spot, didn’t agree. He never liked the kittens and would have liked to chase them away, but as long as Felix was around to act as a buffer between Spot and Socks, there was an uneasy truce among them.

Sadly, I lost Felix when he was about a year and four months old. Socks really missed her brother, but even worse, without Felix around, Spot started to harass Socks terribly. I started keeping her inside all the time so Spot couldn’t chase her away, and I was constantly breaking up fur-tearing fights, and poor Socks was so stressed, she was peeing and pooping everywhere. Finally, one day, I shut Socks in my spare bedroom with a litter box and food and water, just to get a little peace and quiet. I figured she’d be crying to be let out soon enough and I’d open the door then, but she never did. In fact, she seemed much happier to have a space of her own without that big old bully always after her. So from then on, she had her own room.


She had a kitty bed on top of the filing cabinets, with a window to look out of, and everything seemed fine.


I visited her every day, but I did worry a bit about her being alone most of the time. I remembered how much she loved her brother, and thought she might like a friend, so in 2006, I got another cat from my brother’s ranch, Jerry. Unfortunately, it turned out Socks didn’t want another friend. She didn’t want anything to do with Jerry. Thankfully, they didn’t fight, but they never got to be close, either.

Socks and Jerry

When my house burned down in 2011, I made sure my new house had a spare bedroom for the girls to live in.

Socks, the mystery cat

Just as in their old house, they had kitty beds and a cat tree and a window to look out of.


Two years ago, I lost my heart kitty, Spot. I still miss my big orange buddy, but with him gone, there was no reason to keep the girls shut in their room any longer, so I opened the door and let them come out into the rest of the house. After a couple of days of wondering what all this new space was about, Socks decided she was queen of the house, and claimed it as her own.

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As she got older, Socks started having some difficult health problems. She developed stomatitis and had to have her teeth pulled, and she was put on prednisolone. She absolutely hated taking medicine, and wasn’t eating reliably enough to put meds in her food, but fortunately we were able to get the pred in a transdermal gel I could rub on her ear flap, and she grew to tolerate that.


Later, she developed hypercalcemia, which is often a symptom of lymphoma. Many tests, including a biopsy, couldn’t find any sign of lymphoma, so we just treated her high calcium with weekly Fosamax pills. She didn’t like that at all, either, but at least it was only once a week! And for a while, it controlled her hypercalcemia, and she was doing pretty well.

Then, earlier this summer, she started throwing up a lot and losing weight. Again, the vet couldn’t find anything wrong in exams and blood tests, so he thought it was just a side effect of the meds she was on, and put her on an anti-nausea med. That was a liquid she had to take every day. She really hated that, and it became a bit of a daily battle to get it into her, but it did stop the vomiting and she started doing better again. Fortunately, she didn’t hold a grudge, and five minutes after the hated syringe of medicine, she’d be in my lap purring up a storm.

This past weekend, she suddenly stopped eating, and spent all day Saturday hiding in the cat tree. I thought if she wasn’t better the next day, I’d take her to the vet on Monday. On Sunday, she sat in my lap for a little while, but didn’t purr and didn’t seem like she could get comfortable. When she jumped down, she suddenly started howling in pain. I decided I’d better not wait, so I bundled her up and drove her to the emergency vet 50 miles away.

Turned out she had a huge tumor in her abdomen, and was severely anemic, probably due to internal bleeding from the tumor. It seems likely now that she did have lymphoma all along, but it hid from detection until it was too late. Treatment would have required surgery, which she might not have survived because she was so sick, and which wouldn’t have had a high chance of success anyway. So I decided to let her go.

I used to call her my fussy little diva. She wanted everything just so, and she would let you know if things weren’t to her liking. If she didn’t think she was getting enough attention, she was inclined to stop eating. The food she liked one day she refused to touch the next day. When she sat in my lap, I was required to stop whatever else I was doing and stay still and pet her—just enough, but not too much—or she’d jump off and run away. She terrorized the pet sitter and hid from guests. She’d prowl the house at night, knocking things off counters, and playing loudly with her toys at 5 AM. Sometimes she drove me crazy, but I loved her dearly.

She liked to sit at the door and smell the fresh air.

Socks at the door

She had little black speckles on her little white feets.

Socks' foot

She had a white girdle on her tummy.

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Being a mostly-black kitty, it was hard enough to get a good picture of her, but she also hated having her picture taken and would run away whenever I pointed a camera at her. But I did manage to get a few good shots of her over the years.

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This is the last picture I took of her at home, sitting on top of the firewood in a sunbeam.


We had twelve years together, but it’s never enough. I will miss my little fussbudget terribly.

Written by Cody Nelson in: cats |

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