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In Memoriam: Houdini

By Donna Dort, published on February 26th, 2024
"I very much appreciate Heaven at Home. They were willing to work with me when Houdini rallied, and I postponed the decision. Houdini was not traumatized by it as she would have been if we went to the vet. It was very peaceful. I appreciated Dr. Laura Tay's professionalism and compassion! It made a hard decision easier. It took time and didn't feel rushed. I really like being able to create a Memorial Post in her memory. "

2006 – 2024

Houdini was a solid black cat with gold eyes and a tail that stuck straight up. She was a talker. Houdini was found at LaPlata County Humane Society in Durango, CO. She was about a year old. When she saw her prospective Mom, she was opening the cage door to come with me. She had a paw stuck through the cage door and was lifting the latch—hence the name Houdini. Most people thought of Houdini as being a male, but she was a female. I had told my Mom that there was a Mrs. Houdini who participated in the magic shows also. Due to this fact, I frequently referred to her as the “Special Girl”. She was adopted on February 13, 2007. I asked her if she shed or drooled because she did neither one at the Humane Society. She said no. When she got home, she exhaled and fur has been flying ever since then.

Houdini liked to help and be involved in everything. Her full name became Helpful Houdini. One time in Durango when replacing the insides of a toilet, she got into the dry tank to help. Another time, she climbed to the top of a 6 foot-step ladder and stood on her hind legs to reach up to the light socket to help replace the light bulb. She was also a fly catcher extradinaire. Once Houdini took up residence, there were no more flies—she even disposed of the bodies! This lasted until she decided it was time to retire many years later and then it became Mom’s job once more. One time when Houdini was on her harness and long leash in the backyard in Durango, I looked up from reading to see her standing next to her harness. Magic. There was no pulling on her leash or anything. In her young days, she would be a wild woman and race around the house or apartment with the zoomies. She would jump onto the top of open doors. You could see her giving herself a pep talk that she could do this and then she would call out “Look at me!” when she was on top of the door after a little scrambling.

After 2 years, we picked up and moved to Greenville, MI. We stopped by to see a former Pastor in Pueblo and Pastor Rick blessed Houdini. Houdini didn’t mind traveling, but she was not a good navigator. While the move was beneficial to her Mom, Houdini developed mold allergies every fall/winter and would get sick with infected throats. After many years it was discovered that Zyrtec would prevent the infections and by then she had developed a healthy dislike of vets.

Once we moved into the apartment, she proceeded to inspect every inch of it. This included getting under the sink and crawling through the hole that had been made for the dishwasher hoses. She went behind the lazy suzy cabinet. I told her you better be able to get back out and she did. The hole was then taped over.

Houdini enjoyed talking to co-workers on the phone or in person. She would tell them everything that was going on and help answer any work-related questions. During Covid she would watch online church with me. She was very well educated. She enjoyed emptying empty trash cans (not full ones). For her exercise she would unroll toilet paper and occasionally re-roll it back on the roll going the other way. One year she made me a Mother’s Day flower out of toilet paper. She was very talented. She also enjoyed cooking, crocheting, sewing and anything else Mom might be doing. She loved playing with feathers her Aunt and nieces would send her from the farm. She also enjoyed cuddling and taking naps with Mom. Houdini would have to be reminded to bend her tail that stuck straight up when she was crawling under the covers in bed. She enjoyed watching the chipmunks outside the patio door.

One Christmas she was very gently checking out the Christmas ornaments on the tree. I noticed one tree stand leg was broken and standing straight up. At that moment the tree came crashing to the ground and Houdini took off running. She was like “I didn’t do it.”

She had a delicate tummy and lived on dry cat food for many years. In her older years she began eating canned cat food but only Fancy Feast Classic pate—not shredded, not minced, not with gravy or Meijer’s generic fancy feast. She did like her slice of deli meat.

She was diagnosed with beginning renal failure in the spring of 2022. A year later her lab values had not really changed. By late 2023 I could see a decline in her health and activity. Her health and age finally caught up with her. She passed away under the care of Heaven at Home, a pet hospice, with Dr. Laura Tay on February 7, 2024 at home. Houdini was ready and the passing was very peaceful. I was able to be with her during this time. She is laid to rest in Gail’s backyard underneath a pine tree. She was a faithful companion and will be missed by all.