just shy of 16 years, it was time to go be with his brother. he told me so.
always hyper-vigilant, always sleeping with one eye open wary of whatever dog was roaming through the house. finding short stretches of peace lazing on my chest whenever i picked up a book to read. he and his brother domino were kittens for beth on her tenth birthday.
he was a faucet drinker (only if he did not have his noggin’ deep in my water glass); probably shot our water bell to hell and back more than once. he only started drinking from a bowl – the dog’s bowl, not his – when his back legs started giving out, unable to propel himself up to the sink, or up to the top of the fridge, where dinner was expected promptly at 5 pm. 16 years. that’s over five thousand cans of horse giblets scraped into a tiny bowl on a nightly basis.
he was a talker; he and i would often meow back and forth at the end of the day, sharing stories. me talking about office drudgery and he complaining about the dog sticking her nose in his butt or the lack of fresh tuna in the house.
some thought he was snobbish and high-strung. come on. he’s a cat. what else would he be? but i knew that scratching the right spot behind his ears revved the purr motor. he was also in the habit of scratching his own nose and chin against rough fabric (denim, bed-covers, anything handy) when his tail end was scratched.
today we took a last ride to the vet. it was only fitting, i thought, to have him sit in my lap instead of getting cooped in the carry-all. he peered out the window and watched the world go by, sometimes too fast for his liking, his alert mechanism on high. once at the vet, I put him on the flannel blanket covered table. he sniffed for a moment and decided it was time. he lay down and closed his eyes while i stroked his fur as if to say ‘thank you. i don’t have to struggle anymore. i can rest.”
i know he and domino are curled up together again, as they were so many times here on earth; a yin-yang configuration of black and white fur. they were brothers and they’re reunited in a peaceful place filled with limitless albacore and lush green catnip fields.