When my sister brought you home from the pound I was angry. She hadn’t asked permission. So I was real close to making her take you back. But then I held you for the first time. You were a tiny orange fur-ball and fit perfectly into the palm of my hand.
And that was it – I was instantly hooked.
So we kept you.
Then the day came when Sis moved out. I got sad. Not because she was leaving. No, that was the best thing for both her and me. It was because I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you, Ari.
So she left. But you stayed.
And I never regretted keeping you.
You were my constant companion.
For six years.
But you were always there.
Such a big, tough, smart, aggressive feline. I’ve never known a cat as vocal as you – you talked to me constantly.
But you were so sweet too. You had a soft spot for me and you never let me forget it. You’d follow me around, come when I called you, and were always in the same room as me. And I loved the way you showed affection; “kissing” me just every so often by touching your wet nose to mine.
But then that awful weekend came.
You weren’t feeling well.
Lethargic, quiet, barely eating, not peeing right.
I knew you were in pain.
But it was late Saturday, and your regular vet was closed.
So I made you wait.
Thought you could make it till Monday morning.
But I was wrong.
I heard you crying upstairs on Sunday night.
I ran to see.
And found you yowling. Drooling. Lying on your side in a pool of your own piss.
I almost broke down when I saw you like that, buddy. But I kept it together.
Drove you to the ER vet. They stabilized you, ran tests on you.
But it was too late.
You were way too sick, Ari.
Too far gone.
I could’ve spent money to treat you.
But there was no guarantee you’d recover.
And even if you had, they said you would’ve had a lower quality of life.
I love you buddy.
But I couldn’t justify it.
So I made the hard choice.
They brought us into a room together so I could say good-bye. You seemed a little better – you’d responded to oxygen and shots. It fooled me – I almost called the euthanasia off.
But you weren’t OK, buddy. And I knew it.
So I slung you over my left shoulder, cradled you just the way you like it. Kissed your head and stroked you.
Then put you on a soft blanket on the exam table.
Cupped your face and nose with my hand, so I’d be the last thing you ever smelled and saw.
Held you close to me while the vet administered the drugs.
You felt no pain – you just quietly went to sleep.
I didn’t even know you’d gone till they told me.
Didn’t wanna take my hands off you.
Didn’t wanna pull my nose out of your fur.
But it was over.
So I looked into your yellow eyes – dull, half-closed and empty now. Your rough pink tongue sticking out ever-so-slightly. Kissed your little kitty face.
And then they took you away. But just to prepare you, just to put you in your coffin.
You came home with me, Ari. My dad and I buried you in my backyard – your favorite place. It was past midnight when we did it. Dark, cold, and wet. But I didn’t care. We dug your grave deep with a shovel and pickax. Dug until we hit bedrock.
I held you on my left shoulder for the last time.
Then laid you down to rest, little buddy.
I’m so sorry, Ari.
You were only six.
Way too young to die.
I wish I could have done more for you. But I couldn’t.
And so now you’re gone.
Yeah, you were just a damn cat.
But you were my best friend.
And so I’ll carry you in my heart forever.
I’m crying like a girl now, writing this.
But I don’t care; I don’t give a shit who knows it.
You brought joy to my life, buddy.
And that’s all that matters.
So rest in peace, strong boy.
I’ll miss you.
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