I had to say goodbye to my cat Hobbes last night. He was 17 and was having major health problems. His kidneys were starting to go though that was still treatable but his heart and breathing were in bad shape and he'd completely stopped eating. We could have gone through lots of expensive diagnostic tests (cardiologist, x-rays) but even with a best case scenario he'd need to be on daily medications which the vet warned could be difficult to administer and Hobbes was difficult when it came to pills. But I felt that chances were high we'd go through all the tests only to learn that yep our 17 year old cat was on his way out. He was barely eating more than a few bites a day last week and stopped eating entirely a few days ago so we decided it would be best to have him put down since I didn't want him starving to death. He had a good long life and was seemingly healthy up until the past couple of weeks but still it's always a tough decision to make. Why can't they ever go peacefully in their sleep?
I can't remember the exact date we got him but it's probably within a week or so (if not to the day) that we got him from the shelter, sort of. It was bedlam in the shelter and we'd been waiting in line forever for someone to arrange a meeting with some kittens we were interested in when a woman came in with a box of 3 kittens she wanted to surrender. We told her we'd happily take 2 of them off her hands. The shelter staff weren't thrilled but we saved ourselves some red tape and cash and the kittens never had to spend a night in the shelter. I've since donated plenty to the shelter so I don't feel at all bad about it.
Hobbes was good natured for a cat, he never tried to bite or scratch anyone even the vet, except when I tried to force feed him drugs. He was also a little bastard, destroying untold number of screens, blinds, knick knacks and our sofa. He loved to wake me up at unspeakable hours in the night by screaming in my ear and head butting me.
In his younger days he loved climbing trees but he wasn't so great at climbing down and I'd sometimes find a group of neighbors gathered by a tree and laughing their asses off as he tried to get down by shimmying himself down butt first and crying his little head off the whole time. I don't recall ever having to rescue him but I could be remembering that wrong.
He was great with all the dogs, putting up with Lola's puppy shenanigans and Strummer's crazy herding behaviors. I think his favorite was our old Akita Roscoe whom he'd often curl up next to. When we'd take him walking through the park behind our house both cats would follow along, also earning laughs from the neighbors. He was a terrible mouser, I don't think he ever killed anything in his life. He brought a live baby mouse into the house and set it free and we also caught him catching a live mouse and lying on top of it (the mouse eventually got free unharmed). We locked him in a room once where we knew there was a mouse and he cried incessantly to be let out then ran to his food bowl and scarfed up his dinner.
In the past few years we felt like the dogs had overshadowed him as he'd slowed down quite a bit and spent most of his time perched on the back of the sofa swatting at us to be petted or catting around the yard & lying in the sun. So we were surprised by how empty the house felt when we came home last night and at bedtime when he didn't come up to me for his bedtime scritches. 17 years is the longest I've ever had any pet and for such a wee felly he's sure left a pretty big hole.