Our oldest feline companion died Saturday morning. We actually had Scat a year and a month longer than we thought we would. Last summer he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. His biological mother died quickly of the same disease within weeks of Scat's diagnosis. Scat spent 7 days in the hospital that summer. He was so miserable (he detests leaving the house and hates the vet) that he was going downhill fast, so I took him home. If he was going to die, it would be on his terms, where he wanted. (I know I'm projecting -- my biggest fear is dying in a hospital. I want to be at home. Excy knows if he doesn't at least drag my ass out to the parking lot I'll haunt him for life, not in a kind way).
Scat was our first and only, so far, cat who has never known abandonment or hardship of any kind. I rescued his mother, who found her forever home (with some gentle prodding from me), at my parent's house. She had a litter of kittens almost immediately after settling in. Scat was the only one with a deep gray coat with black tiger stripes. From days old, I held him and we bonded. Dad said later he must be 'my' cat, because he never wanted to be held by anybody else, and he'd always stretch out and fall asleep on my legs. When he was ready to leave his mom, I had to get surgery, so he stayed with his biological mom a longer time. By the time I got him he had turned into a real mama's boy. He transferred that affection to me. Every evening when I got home from work he was waiting for me at the door. He caterwauled until I picked him up and he never wanted to be let down. I seriously considered a Snuggly just to have my hands free.
My oldest cat at the time was a once-in-a-lifetime animal companion that if you're lucky, you have a unique relationship with. Gogo was dying and she knew my heart was breaking. She was happy I was bonding with this new kitten, and that it would make her passing easier. But even she grew a bit jealous by how possessive 'Roo was becoming of me.
Scat was an incredible friend. Some of his unique qualities: That coat developed into a sharkskin suit. It looked black until you brushed his fur the wrong way and saw his undercoat of silver. Gorgeous. He was a true diplomat. He loved his siblings and considered himself an ambassador to the house, greeting everyone and finding a lap. He had twinkly tin-foil balls that he'd bring to us for attention, loudly announcing that he was bringing them to us. Every night when he felt it was time for bed, (between 11 and 11:45), he'd yell down the hall. He slept with me every night in the crook of my arm and if I had to get up he just waited patiently until settling down again. He danced, looking just like Snoopy on the Charlie Brown specials. And he'd let Excy spin him around on the floor while he lengthened out, longer and longer.
He was just such a stellar cat. We had a memorial service and Excy constructed a funeral pyre, and Scat's ashes will go in the ginger jar with Gogo. The house feels empty, despite our 3 other cats. It's so unfair animals don't live as long as we do. But the time we spend with them is heavenly.