About 13 years ago, in 2004, my first cat, Cuddles had to be put to sleep. She was the first cat I had ever had, and I'd had her from the time I was about 8 years old - she lived to be almost 21 years. I entered a stage of depression when she had to be put to sleep for numerous reasons, guilt, anger, grief etc. and my parents were worried that the loss was going to send me into a nervous breakdown. I wasn't that bad, but them being parents, they were of course worried.
One night they came home from my uncle and aunt's place with two teeny tiny kittens. A little grey bundle of fur, and a little dark tabby bundle of fur, in a round soft basket. They were obviously too young to be separated from their mother, but they were racetrack kittens and she'd likely been eaten by a coyote or hit by a car.
Needless to say, them being so young, they took much caring for - and needed to be fed every couple of hours with a syringe. They would both race up my legs, to perch on my chest, screaming for their formula. They were adorable, and INSTANTLY stole my heart. They also grew into two of the biggest domestic cats I had ever seen outside of a Maine Coon. People would come to the house and comment, especially about Daniel as he was the chubbier of the two, that they looked like little dogs.
Daniel was our "Walmart Greeter". Whenever the door opened, he would come galloping from wherever he was in the house out into the porch, meowing a greeting and running right over to the stranger at the door for them to give him attention. Of course, with his size, he actually scared more than a few people - especially non-cat people - when he came running out to them. He would stay in the porch until they gave him attention, or until they left if they weren't cat people. If they gave him attention, he'd purr his thanks and then head back inside, happy to have gotten what he wanted and no longer deeming the visitor as interesting.
He loved attention and LOVED being held like a baby. I would pick him up and he would stretch himself out to his full length, which was considerable, purring away, especially when I would kiss his cheek and rubbed his face against mine.
Every morning when I opened my door he would come running down the hallway, meowing, and twining around my feet, following me into the bathroom in the hopes I would feed him.
He would walk in front of you wherever you would go (unless he was napping), and was quite determined that you not get in front of him or DARE to avoid him walking directly in front of your feet. Needless to say, many was the time he almost tripped us in his intensity.
He loved sleeping on the bed, with a paw over his eyes to block out the light, or starfished on his back in an undignified but utterly adorable sprawl that would see him get more cuddles and kisses.
He would sit on the corner of my bed and stare at me while I was on the computer, tilting his head this way and that before trilling out a questioning meow as if asking, what are you doing? Why aren't you paying attention to me? Why aren't you feeding me?
On the 26th of March, I awoke to find him sitting in the kitchen, with two different sized pupils. I nearly panicked. The clinic was closed, the emergency vet was over 40 minutes away, I don't drive and there was no on there to take me. So I googled the hell out of different sized pupils and terrified myself with everything I was reading until I could get him into the vet on Monday. I was told that he likely had a lens luxation and that the normal course of treatment was surgery to remove it. The surgery would have cost between $3000-$3500 to have done, which I simply could not afford. I was heartbroken at the thought that my beautiful baby boy was likely going to go blind in that eye and that I couldn't do anything to stop it.
That Friday things went from bad to the absolute worst. His breathing had started to become labored and I took him in to get x-rays because I thought he might have gotten aspiration pneumonia. The x-rays showed something far worse though, and the vet told me he believed that my beautiful Daniel had lung cancer. That it was likely metastatic and that there was nothing that could be done. I took Daniel home utterly inconsolable at the knowledge that I was going to lose him.
A week later, on April 6th (my 40th birthday), my gorgeous boy died in my arms. I am beside myself with grief, and suspect I will be for a long time to come. He was a very special cat - I've never seen a cat that was so friendly to absolutely anyone and everyone, and I will miss him as long as I live. It was an utter privilege to have had my furbaby in my life, and I look forward to the day I see him again.
If love could have healed you, you have lived forever <3