Our oldest cat, BW, passed away in his sleep early Wednesday morning. He was close to twenty years old, and had been my grandparents’ cat. He was Granny’s baby, and then when we lost her in 2008, BW and Pickles (Grandaddy’s Quaker parrot) were Grandaddy’s daily companions. When Grandaddy died in 2011, literally three years to the day Granny did (both the day before my birthday) he’d called me the night before and asked me to come get BW and Pickles. My mom and I had hesitated to remove them from his home, because despite his grudging love/fuss relationship with BW (who loved him) we didn’t want him to be alone-alone 24/7. (My mom was going over every day to check on him.)
BW (he was a black and white long-hair) was a cranky, sometimes crotchety thing. While still well able to move, he made trying to get outside his primary goal in life. Several times Hubby and I (and even twice Sir had to help) went dashing after the little booger when he’d slip through the door while we were trying to walk the dogs.
As he grew less able to move around, we joked that he had his MANAGEMENT! yowl.
MANAGEMENT! I’m HUNGRY! MANAGEMENT!
He also liked to take over my son’s wheelchair, had a fixation with it. (After all, it WAS BW’s house, that made it HIS chair. Duh.)
We loved the old guy so much.
We’d gotten to the point we were jokingly calling him the “zombie cat” because he just kept on ticking despite us thinking he was going to pass. Right up until about the day before he passed, he was still eating a couple of cans of cat food (he was the only one who got wet food) a day. He’d outlasted three of our dogs, who I’m sure were waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge (among with the other furbabies we’ve lost in the past).
I took him to the vet’s office yesterday to have him cremated. We’ll get his ashes back sometime next week, and he’ll go on the shelf with Granny and Grandaddy’s urns.
When I first brought Grimmy home as a barely 8-week-old kitten in September of 2011, there was a little…friction between the two. (This was before Momma Luna and the Cockroaches joined us. Then, it was just Callie, BW, and then Grimmy kitten, as far as the cats we had.) Grimmy was a kitten full of energy, and BW was not very happy about that. He was tolerant, up to a point. This was the same cat who laid Apache’s nose open, and he was a 115-pound goldadore, when Apache first met BW and wouldn’t leave him alone. BW settled that battle decisively and Apache learned to leave kitties alone.
BW was a lover, though. He purred loudly and when he climbed into your lap, there he’d stay until he was ready to leave.
After all, it was HIS house, we were the management staff there to care for his needs. He’d been with Granny and Grandaddy since my son was an infant (and my son will be 21 this November).
When we’d bathe him (which we had to do increasingly as his mobility and ability to groom himself decreased) he tolerated the baths but enjoyed the “warm” after, where we dried him with a blow drier. He’d even get playful, hooking a paw around your hand to move the drier back to where HE wanted it pointed. LOL
But we soon learned we had to do that part of the bathing routine out in the living room, or we spent the next three days trying to retrieve him from the bathroom, where he’d stubbornly crawl back to, looking for “warm.” He couldn’t walk much the last year of his life, but he’d commando crawl, and he wasn’t in pain, and he ate like a freaking horse, and he still had a LOT of fight and pep in him. So we changed for him. Puppy pads all over the floors and trying to figure out boxes he’d like to sleep in. (He even escaped a kiddie pool we’d tried to corral him in in the living room, as if it had no sides, and finally we gave up on that one.
It’s sad to say good-bye to him, and emotional for a lot of reasons, because he was a tangible link to my grandparents in addition to a beloved member of our family. At least he passed in his sleep and we didn’t have to take him in to have it done. I knew we were close to that time, though, and I made sure before I went to bed late Tuesday night to give him some extra love and pets and head scratches and told him I loved him. And that it was okay for him to just go to sleep.
And he did.
That leaves us with Gidget, Callie, Grimmy, Luna, Uno, Dewy, Trey, Pickles, Margarita (my Quaker parrot, who’s older than my son at around 23 years old) and Sheldon (the wonder minion tortoise to Gidget). And sometimes Tequila (aka The Spotted Rat aka The Guest), my son’s dog, who we babysit. Callie’s age is uncertain, probably around 12, and Gidget is at least 9. After losing Apache earlier this year, hopefully we have a break for a while. Six cats, a dog, two birds, and a tortoise. (And sometimes a second doggie guest.)