It’s nearing the end for our cat, Chaucer (aka Mister C, Chauzy Pants, Stunt Kitty and Little Man). He's been declining for the past few months and we can no longer ignore the signs. He is reduced to little more than skin and bones, has no appetite, and his hygiene has dropped off. We know it’s time. Chaucer even goes to the door, meowing feebly, like he is telling us it’s time for us to let him go. To keep him with us any longer would be selfish. Tomorrow morning Bob will call the vet. Our hearts are heavy and I can’t remember the last time I cried this much, or that Bob and I cried so much together.
In the early years of our relationship, Chaucer always tried to remind me that he was Bob’s favorite and I would forever be a distant second (Bob got the cats in 1998 and I met him in 2000). Some of the ways he reminded me he was el numero uno was by clawing my sweaters, walking on my head while I slept, and shedding ridiculous amounts of cat fur on my suit jackets (always on the days when I had important client meetings or project interviews). Eventually, Mister C and I came to an understanding. He would sit next to me on the couch, greet me at the door when I came home and would follow me into the kitchen, more like a dog than a cat. We would play with the feather-on-a-stick toy together, rousing his hunter instinct and getting him to do acrobatic jumps.
When Bob worked the long, long hours on the Planetside project, sometimes not coming home until 3AM, Chaucer would lay next to me when I slept, right along my side, a proxy for Bob. Those were challenging times, right after we bought the house, but before we got married, I wondered if I could be with someone who worked 16 hour days. But Chaucer stayed by my side all those long nights, like he was trying to tell me that Bob was worth it, and the project crunch would be over someday and that he would always be a loyal partner. We know how that story ends … Bob and I married in 2003 and he was, indeed, worth it.
Chaucer would show me his affection through head butts, ankle nips and also the occasional dash between the legs that left me one step from having a good tumble. He demonstrated his mischievousness by trying to sneak some food when we would have parties. I remember the time he snuck under the coffee and tried to grab an entire wedge of fancy cheese with his big paw that a party guest had brought, you know, the kind of fancy cheese that aged in a cave in Europe and costs a gazillion dollars a pound. Yeah, that kind of cheese. Naughty kitty. I won’t even discuss the cat tongue prints that would appear in the butter or the missing bites out of cookies. He’d dare devil by jumping off of the kitchen cabinets and walking along the balcony railing, with a 25 foot drop on the other side. He’s always been the adventurous pet in the family and he has had a full and rich life of nearly 15 years.
I know what we are doing tomorrow is the right decision, and in time our hearts will heal, but man … this is tough. Please, everyone, hug your pets a little tighter and think good thoughts for a peaceful transition for our sweet Chaucer.