In early August we found out that our cat, Bo, was very ill: He had a tumor in his liver. It was inoperable, and given his age (he was, at least, 17), we decided it was best to let nature take its course--"benign neglect," they call it. Which makes it sound like you're simply failing to mow the lawn or weed your garden. But it wasn't that simple. Nonetheless, he did well in his last two months, up until last week, when we noticed he was eating less and less. By Saturday it was obvious he was in a significant amount of pain and discomfort. The following day we took him to the vet. It was not an easy decision to make. But he died quickly and peacefully in my gf's arms.
This isn't a great photo of him. He didn't like to have his picture taken: At the last moment he would always close his eyes, or look away. Very catlike of him, I must say. But he wasn't a typical cat, not to us. He was insanely affectionate and loyal, friendly, and gentle. Over the years we amassed so many nicknames for him I don't remember them all anymore: Bubba, Big Boy, Chiggy or the Chig, Dunderhead (reserved for when he did something dumb, like get his whiskers too close to a candle), the Old Man, Little Lord Flapjack, Flappy, Flapmeister Five (his hiphop nickname)....all of which he responded to with slow, bewildered blinking, gently tolerating our human idiosyncrasies.
I grew up with cats and dogs, so losing an animal companion is not unfamiliar to me. But this time around it's harder, because this is the longest bond I've ever had with a pet. Who would think that such a small creature would leave behind such a huge sense of loss? Our home is emptier and I miss him very much.