||[Jan. 28th, 2009|10:30 pm]
When I first met him, it was a terrible winter in Columbus, Ohio. The back yard was frozen over with at least a solid inch of ice, and the ice lasted for over a month. And this skinny little black cat came up to the door, meowing. |
My brain ran through the possibilities. If you feed a stray, you might as well take him inside... he'll never leave. But as much as I wanted to, I couldn't take him inside. We already had more cats than the landlord allowed.
But the poor guy was so cold... I picked him up and put him inside my coat. If I could at least warm him up for a while, well, that'd be something.
Luckily, I had a boss who understood. When I came in late to work, explaining why, she would have been more upset if I hadn't stopped to warm him up.
He was there the next day, too. What could I do? I put him in my coat again.
He soon decided that this was his home I suppose. He didn't stop coming by. Eventually, he snuck into Chris's car, and jumped out about five miles away, and we figured that was the end... but he found his way back.
I think, at that point, we decided we had to feed him. He'd more or less chosen us, and where else whas he going to go?
We brought him in, we de-flea-d him, and he grew.
Chris named him Chibi, after a tiny little black cat in an anime. But "chibi" means "small" and he topped out at about 20 pounds. It was a good name, anyway, and it's the name he had for over 15 years.
Fifteen years of hunting for scritches, and flopping next to people begging for pets, and laying on top of my chest, and purring ... always purring when someone took the time to give him a cuddle.
He was patient and playful and gentle. You could give him a pill or liquid without wrapping him in a towel, becuase he didn't like it, but he only struggled, he never fought.
But he'd been going downhill... not surprising for a cat who was at least 16 years old.
Monday, the stress I felt over his condition gave me a massive headache. Was it time, or could I wait? And Tuesday, I decided that a massive headache meant I could call off from work... I was sick, after all. I was too sick to work effectively.
We didn't do much. He was past his time for playing. We watched some TV, and the Stephen King flick "Cat's Eye" because Chibi would totally rescue a young girl from a tiny troll, and he wouldn't need a record player and a fan to finish the bastard off... at least, not in his prime. And I cuddled him, and he still purred for me a bit. But mostly, I felt his warmth and his heartbeat, and I thought it was awfully close. When Chibi can't purr, something had to be terribly wrong.
Over the past week, he had gotten confused and he'd get caught in narrow spaces. His back legs were too weak to let him back up, so he'd keep pawing away at whatever was in front of him. I tried closing them off, but he got caught behind doors. Or, rather, caught in doorways. Which was symbolic, I suppose, but then... well, then he got caught in the trashcan in my bathroom.
And it was like asking a question. Was I going to let my cat die, like a piece of trash that's been tosed aside, trapped and alone? Or was I going to make sure that he had someone who loved him standing by at the end?
There's only one answer to a question like that. So this morning, at 9, Chibi was finally able to shuck off the body that had become his prison.
I'm going to miss him.
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