...to his needs, his wishes, his tastes and his whims.
His full brother, Tom, is nothing like him. Tom's feral where JJ was a homebody. Tom hunts, successfully, depositing the largesse on the mat just outside the door leading into the garage. The mat you step on in your bare feet when heading to find something to defrost for dinner from the big freezer.
JJ always had, from kittenhood, a 'condition' akin to human asthma. It made breathing difficult when he exerted himself chasing after the feather on the end of a kid's plastic fishing pole, or the laser point light that drove his brother into spasms of ecstasy and joy.
JJ was a stalker and a watcher, always underfoot, a supervisor of daily activities, be it gardening or feeding the horses or simply dogging my heels ... or perhaps, more appropriately ... 'catting' me.
We managed his health issues as best we could. He wasn't a fan of pills and I learned to keep a supply of iodine and mercurochrome in the kitchen and the bathrooms for the inevitable battle wounds. Though my son and I rarely talked about it, we both knew he wouldn't be with us all that long.
But he held on for 8 years, a gift I surely didn't deserve. The end, when it came, was startling fast. He lay on his chair, the wheezing desperately rough and harsh, barely moving but willing to tolerate the fussing as we tried to make him comfortable. The next day I rushed him to the vet; he was in acute renal failure. I left him there for tests, the vet would call me with the results, but I already knew.
I drove to the supermarket parking lot next door and waited. I didn't want to be far from him and his last moments.
The news when it came was ... not good. I held him close at the end. I think he knew I was there, at least I hope so. I felt his last breath on my hand.
The seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks have filtered past and I'm still waiting for time to heal the wounds. Of all the creatures with whom I share my time, my love and my respect on this earth, Demon Cat was one who owned a piece of my soul. He and my mare, Miss Winnie, define me, define my humanity.
I know I should open my heart to another. There are so many worthy shelter kitties needing homes. But I'm not ready. Soon, I hope but ... not yet.