Chico 12/24/08 - 11/3/14
Which includes the end of it. And sometimes, when to end it.
The decision to send our beautiful Chico across the rainbow bridge is long delayed. My human heart wasn't ready to listen to the cues he's been dropping for over a year.
Which is how long it's been since he came to Joe for his morning cuddles.
Months since he's come to sit behind me on the couch to bat me in the head and demand a belly rub.
Weeks since he's eaten properly, used his litter box to pee or come out of hiding to do more than eat a little and smack Luna in the head.
But oh, the times I did catch him out and managed to pet him. He'd purr and show me his belly. I convinced myself he was fine.
So I cleaned the pee from the carpets a dozen times a day. Ignored that the usual measures to correct it weren't working. Pretended not to notice his hips sticking out and hours anti social behavior becoming the norm.
Until I heard him crying. Saw the drooling and the blood in the stool. I took a good look in his eyes and saw how tired he was. Even then, it took me a weekend and a break down to bring it to Joe so we could make a decision.
And as is often the case, the right way was the hard way. We made the hardest decision for us and the best for him. To let him go.
Last night I slept on the couch to see if he'd come to snuggle me to sleep one last time. When Orion woke to nurse the first time he hadn't. When I laid back down I cried and whispered that I hoped I was doing the right thing that he was ready. And bony paws crept over my legs, across my belly and settled a purring lump on my chest. And we slept, soundly, knowing it was the last time.
And so today, we held our boy a few last times. We held him teary eyed as the wonderful vet who cared for him prayed over him and for us. We held him as he took his final breath, so quickly and quietly and sobbing told him we loved him. The injection had barely started and he was gone, he'd been hanging on for us. Our sweek half feral boy.
We brought him home to bury in our yard, tonight with friends who have cared for him and grown to love him as we have.
We'll celebrate our little boy who we've kept on borrowed time for 6 wonderful years after he was plucked half dead from the snow. I'll cry over his rabbit soft fur, his mustache and chest patch which made him so unique. Remember how he purred so hard that the couch would sometimes vibrate, how he'd curl up on my chest when I was sick and purr me to sleep as he did one last time last night or nuzzle in to Joe's beard.
We'll laugh remembering when he was neutered and the vet had to do more than a snip because his testicles were "ridiculously big", making Joe exclaim 'that's my boy! ' At how he would fetch Nerf darts like a dog and roll dice that fell on the floor. Dice cat rolls a critical hit! And marvel at his ability to hide in the smallest spaces.
We'll mourn. We'll cry and we'll miss him. Luna and Molly will grieve in their own ways. But I'll know we gave him the best life possible, loved and spoiled him and kept our promises to him.
Until the very end.
Good night, my sweet Chico. May there be many a cupboard to hide in and hunt mice from across the rainbow bridge. Maybe you'll finally catch that red dot.
I love you.