Nine years ago, we brought home a pair of 8 year old cats from a shelter. Older cats are hard to adopt, but this particular pair was the most engaging, sweetest and most fun set of cats we’d ever met. I thought at the time that we would have them for a shorter period than if we got young cats. I remember thinking that they’d be coming to the end of their predicted life spans when my eldest son was in high school. This is unimaginable when you have a little kid – an impossibly distant future. But…. Grey is a rising junior. Here we are.
Tiberius left us in October of last year. We learned, in that moment, just who was responsible for 99.9% of all the cat related hijinks in the house. We THOUGHT with two cats we probably had two culprits, but noooo. It was entirely Tiberius. With only Data, butter could be safely left on the counter, we never were startled by a cat leaping out of an unsecured trash can, and you could plate dinner without leaving an armed guard or two and still find it on your plate.
But Data, like Tiberius, was approaching 17 – quite an advanced age for a cat. Despite being teeny to start with, he was losing weight every vet visit. His kidney numbers weren’t great. He had to have a thyroid cream put on his ear. But for the last year, no lap went unclaimed. I started calling him “Fur and purr” – so insubstantial but omnipresent and loving.
This last week, though, he started refusing food. Including tuna. I may not be a vet, but I know that a cat who will not eat tuna is a cat who is done living. I took Data in to the vet who said that he basically had no more kidneys whatsoever, and that his numbers were literally higher than the test could measure. He also looked very uncomfortable – hunched up. He started hiding, and could only endure about 10 minutes of lap-petting before he went back into a hidey hole. He was telling us in clear terms that it was time. I asked the vet to take some palliative measures (rehydration, anti-nausea meds) and called Lap of Love to see when they could come. Data purred past his last breath.
His parting was easy and painless, if not quite as funny as Tiberius’ (who literally died with a Dorito in his mouth). Unfortunately, both boys were away, so it was just Adam and I saying goodbye. Data was the sweetest, snuggliest, softest cat it has ever been my privilege to live with. He had a kind heart, and was very simple: he just wanted to love and be loved.
With no children and no cats, the house is very quiet. I find for myself, cats are what transforms a house into a home. My nest is not yet empty, but my children are fledglings. We are unanimous on one thing: we definitely want more cats. I’m not really even sure how long we’ll hold out before we welcome new furry friends into our house. I can only hope and wish that we may again experience the joy and pleasure like Data and Tiberius brought to us.
Farewell, Fur and Purr. You are already deeply missed.
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