He weighed barely eight pounds, like his brother, and he was a chatty little white-and-black reverse tuxedo cat with bright green eyes. His meow was soft and sweet and often combined with little purrs and trills, like his brother, and they sounded like the title characters in "The Gremlins". He was not a kisser or licker, but when he liked you he'd climb up on whatever furniture you were perched on and butt his head against your head, or curl up at your side, or (if you were working at your computer) climb into your lap, and then he'd purr. And if you petted him or scratched under his chin in just the right spot he'd drool. His fur was soft and had a nice cat smell, and he left it everywhere (seriously, these cats never stop shedding), and the furballs sometimes got away from us and rolled around the living room like tumbleweeds across a desert highway.
These cats made sure the house was always filled with love. And now one of them is gone. I'm sorry to take a break from the politics, but sometimes you have to send out a tribute to something good and innocent and beautiful.
These two cats were adopted to provide company for someone dying of cancer. After that man's death three months later, they provided comfort for his surviving partner. A little more than a year later, I met this man who is now my husband, and I met these special cats. They were gorgeous little creatures, but there was indeed something extra in them; they immediately took to me and stole my heart. They did that to a lot of people. So cute, so sweet, so much fun to watch.
This particular kitty was especially tuned-in to his humans. If we were happy, he wanted to be in the center of the fun. If we were sad, he came to us and tried to purr away our sadness. Not long after my sister died, I found myself frantically tearing apart boxes of Christmas ornaments looking for the special one she had given to me many years before. My husband, kitty in one arm, found it and gave it to me; I just started crying inconsolably. My husband held me and our kitty while I wept; instead of fidgeting or clawing his way out, this little bundle of love just stayed with us and purred, knowing it would make me feel better.
We knew his heart was enlarged. Little by little things started to age our little cat. He was in congestive heart failure. But he maintained his sweet nature, he struggled to jump up on the couch to butt heads with us, he purred and chatted as normal.
Then Sunday morning he gave out a pained meow and his hind legs gave out. Terrified, we ran him to an emergency hospital. Later that morning he was transferred to an intensive-care hospital with cardiac care specialists. His enlarged heart began throwing off clots, and one had lodged in the arteries sending blood to his back legs. And for two days he was filled with blood thinners and heart support drugs to give him a chance to regain use of his hind legs. At the end of the second day, they started moving again, and we thought he had a fighting chance to come home. We would take him home, we'd give him drugs to keep his heart going, we'd fight to keep him with us.
And then his kidneys started failing. Hope faded. My husband declared that this wonderful, special baby would not breathe his last in a strange hospital, full of weird smells and sounds and people poking and prodding him.
We picked him up and took him home; the vet left in his IV port and gave him painkillers that would last him through the day. We cleaned him up when we got home and got rid of the hospital smell; there was a new smell, however, very slight but indicative of his failing body. His brother hovered around but would not stay with him; he knew what was going on and didn't want to interrupt, and he said silent goodbyes. Sobbing our hearts out, we held our little dying cat and petted him. No one left his side from that point; we poured ourselves some Chandon and toasted him and remembered all the fun we'd had. He was comfortable, full of painkillers but still aware that he was home, in front of his fire, on his favorite bed, with his brother nearby and the people who loved him most in the world, and he purred. Breathing was turning into a bit of a chore, but he purred.
We had arranged for a home euthanasia. The vet arrived, a sweet middle-aged woman in pink scrubs with a soft voice and an unrushed demeanor. She made conversation while she pulled out the Hello Kitty blanket that would take him out of our home. We cried and showed her pictures of him when he was young and healthy and we thought he'd live forever. We said more goodbyes and cried some more and petted him and held him and tried to stall the inevitable.
"Are you ready?" I asked my husband.
"No," he sobbed, "but it's time."
He took our baby in his arms, and we brought him to this vet, our Angel of Mercy. We lay our hands on this miraculous animal and gave him our last kisses. He knew he was going over, and he knew we loved him. And we knew he loved us. The vet lovingly flushed his port to ensure it still functioned. Then she gave the last shot-- anesthetics that put him to sleep and then ended his suffering.
It was gentle and merciful and the right thing to do. We cried some more and hugged each other as she lovingly wrapped up our baby kitty's body and carried it to her car. We signed papers, paid our fee and gave her one last hug for ending our cat's pain and suffering in such a humane manner.
His name was Felix, and he was such a special kitty. We love him forever and look forward to seeing him when it's our time.
Wait for us, Felix, I'm bringing the laser pointer. I can't wait to hug and kiss you again.