Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our cat, Neplehu.

The name means "mischief" in Czech. We got him so young that his gender was not easily determinable. He couldn't eat from a food bowl without a boost. His face was flat, not fully developed; he had to dunk his whole head in his food, so we had to clean him after every meal. We knew he was a "Hemingway", a cat with extra toes.

We didn't know he would be so lovey-dovey. After a few years, he unfortunately developed the bad habit of urinating on our clothes piles, so we put him outside. We got a canopy to protect him from the heat and rain. He took to it with dignity, refusing to even step indoors except to get from one end of the house to the other. I gave him some attention every evening during feeding time, and our kids would occasionally go outside to pet him.

He was an old cat; he'd had trouble breathing for a couple of weeks, so we took him to the vet. It turned out his intestines had herniated into his diaphram. He was suffering pretty bad, but like a cat, refused to let anyone know.

We brought everyone in to say goodbye. He got a lot of petting, even if it was from a bunch of crying girls. We took a bunch of pictures. Then the girls left the room and Neppy left his pain behind. We buried him beneath a new pink lemon tree in our back yard.

Goodbye, Neppy. You will be missed.