My cat and best bud Leo passed away on the 1st of May.
Leo's history is a bit sketchy. He came to us as an older stray in about 2018. Had signs of abuse, both behaviourally and physically. He'd been neutered but no microchip, which is very odd in these modern times especially for a purebred. Long story short we adopted him, or rather he adopted us. He quickly became a big part of our life and his health and behaviour improved tenfold. Great cat.
Leo was/is a Norwegian Forest Cat and comedian. His offical title became Leopold The Funny Duke of Watford. Or The Funny for short. Cat toys were a choking hazard for him but he loved tennis balls and ribbons. His favourite toy was a rug, any rug. He'd go surfing on them and beat them up. He also went surfing in his bed which was hilarious. He especially loved peaking behind corners and waiting to pounce on you.
He quickly became barred from outdoors unattended because he killed everything, just for fun. Leo got a dog harness and a leash because the cat stuff wouldn't fit. Bizarrely he took to this concept instantly. So every day, weather permitting, one of us would walk around the yard with him for around twenty minutes or until he wanted to go in.
I know how bizarre this sounds but we used to yell in a certain tone to him 'ARE YOU BEING FUNNY?' and 'I THINK YOU MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT ON THE FUNNY SIDE' he'd go mental running around and beating things up. Usually play would end with him jumping on a swivel chair and spinning himself then meowing at one of us to spin him again. Man he loved that swivel chair. We got him a cat tree which he broke in about two weeks. He took one of the posts off somehow. He was tough as all get out, bloody viking.
When my husband and I separated we almost tossed a coin for who would take Leo, cause we both loved him. In the end we agreed the climate in Melbourne was better for The Funny, a cold climate cat, than the climate in California, where my ex is from and was heading. My ex offered to pay for half of Leo's travel expenses to Australia which was a welcomed relief. In return I was to keep him informed of Leo's escapades. FaceTime with a cat anyone?
The Funny settled in remarkably well after the move. I was surprised at how quickly he adapted to everything happening around him. I had been worried about him during that time.
Leo started showing his age earlier this year. Quickly after he started to lose weight. Vet warned me that the end could be soon. I already suspected. Though his usual rough play was far more subdued by now he was still happy and active for the time being.
Last Thursday he was sleeping more. Friday same thing, and eating less. I knew it was time. Made the appointment for Monday morning. Wanted to have the weekend with him. Really should have taken him in Friday, feel crap about this.
Usually he slept in his bed in the lounge room or on a chair. I put his bed with him in it on my bed over the weekend so I could check on him through the night. At about 12:30am Monday morning he started meowing and moaning which woke me up, it lasted about a minute. He then seemed to go to sleep with shallow breathing. His paws and ears felt cold. I got up and stuck the heater on, put him in his bed beside it with a blanket on. Called my ex because he wanted to be kept in the loop. Talked to my ex for about an hour with no change in Leo. The nearest emergency vet is about 40 minutes away. I wanted to take him there but was afraid if I moved him I'd wake him up and make him suffer.
I wanted to be with Leo when he went so I stayed up for hours talking to him and patting him. There was no change. At around 3:00 I heard, mentally, one of my guardian's, not the Tweed one, the other one say 'Let him go'. I thought about what this meant and concluded I was keeping Leo 'here' by staying up with him and that maybe I would also be prolonging any suffering. But Leo was asleep. So I stayed up longer. At 5:30, still no change, I went back to bed to get a few hours sleep, leaving Leo by the heater with a lamp on.
Erghgh I don't like this.
At around 6:10 I woke up to Leo meowing so loud, like insanely loud. He sounded like he was in pain. His voice was projecting in ways I didn't know cats could do. I thought he was wandering around the house. I went here and there calling and looking for him. His meowing was behind me, over there, next to me. He was by the heater in his bed blanket on, same as I left him. But he was meowing loudly, it felt like a bad dream.
When I got to him he quietened down. I pat him and told him it was okay and to go towards the light. After a minute or so he either took in a big gasp of air or let air out, it gave me a fright and I stood up and back a bit. But kept talking to him, trying not to sound like I was freaking out, which I was.
I was looking down at him in his bed but something white was covering him. Like white crinkled crepe paper. Or ruffled white tule, it looked a bit smokey. I don't think it moved, it was just there, covering Leo and his bed. I could see Leo under it, he also looked white, his fur looked paler than usual. I thought I was seeing things from being overly tired and emotional. I looked away at the floor and the wall but when I looked back at Leo it was still there. After about, I don't know how long, five maybe ten seconds it faded away.
I knelt down with him again, he was gone. I kept talking to him a bit, incase he was still in there somewhere. Went back to bed. Couldn't really sleep.
After a few hours I canceled the vet appointment and called my ex. We had a bit of a cry, I told him about the white stuff and my guardian's message. Joked about it being ectoplasm because that guardian is a victorian chap. Would love to hear the forum's ideas of what it could have been.
I grew up with so many animals including cats. We always knew when it was time to say goodbye. I've never had pets as an adult, Leo was the first. I really missed the mark with Leo's death. We gave him a kick arse last few years but I think I failed him at the very end.
I buried him in the yard later that day. Put some flowers from the garden on his grave.
We had a morning routine, The Funny and me. Would get up at sparrow's fart to take him out the back on the harness for an hour or so before work. It's only been a couple of days but I'm still waking up at too early o'clock. The day after he passed, might have been a dream. But I woke up at five, harness time, remembered I didn't need to get up. Then I heard him meow, like he always does at that time. Maybe he was saying goodbye, maybe I dreamt it. Either way it was real nice.
Love you boy.
Thanks for reading.