Wild, feral roughhousers, those two delighted in playing, chasing the laser toy beam up and down the stairs, getting into trouble and making us laugh. Tom was the more athletic, J-J quieter. We wouldn't know until later that he had lung issues, kitty asthma that gave us a fright when his chest rattled and the wheezing came on suddenly, violently.
I accept my position as staff but J-J morphed into a demanding, obstinate taskmaker who consistently, and none too gently, put me in my place. Ergo, I grew to love him as Demon Cat and we tasked each other, quarreled, debated, and grew comfortable in our companionship.
Demon Cat followed my son, Kevin, like a dog - down to the barn, out into the paddock, ever our protector and arbiter with the wild things that threatened us, mostly small birds and rabbits, the occasional mouse or rat. He and Tom stalked and drove off a fox brazenly coming toward me one night not so long ago.
We had a lop-eared rabbit that we kept in a cage in the garage during harsh winter weather. DC caught a baby bunny and brought it in, alive and unharmed, and set it by the rabbit cage. The message was clear. The baby needed protecting and we were to see to that.
Of all the images that I could remember him by, that will be the most touching. We don't give our companions nearly enough credit ... for intelligence, for compassion, for understanding.
I think we knew this morning. When the vet asked to keep him for tests, I agreed. Then I drove to a nearby shopping center and sat in the parking lot, waiting for the call. It wasn't long in coming. Dr. Paul explained the options, none of them good. We could take him to Quakertown Vet Clinic and they could try flushing his system for 2-3 days. But she didn't feel he had much chance. I made the decision and drove back to the clinic. They brought him into the exam room but he was barely aware of anything, drifting away in front of my eyes. They left me alone to say my goodbyes. I hope he knew I was there for him, the one holding him. I felt his last breath on the palm of my hand.
He is at peace now. No longer in pain.
We shared a life for nine years. It's not long, not nearly enough, but it was a gift and too precious for me to even begin to express how thankful I am to have had his company, his quiet acceptance, his warmth and soothing purr.
We lost a family member today and my heart is breaking.
If there is a rainbow bridge, I hope and pray I am worthy to meet with him again.
To all of you who have expressed your condolences, given me and Demon Cat virtual hugs, laughed with us and shared his life for even a short time ... I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.