Today, I had to, rather suddenly, make the decision to have my cat put to sleep.
Azrael (named after the smurfiest nemesis ever) lived a long life, and he honestly didn’t seem to be ready to stop doing so up until this week. Over the last couple of days, he had stopped eating, was lying down in places that were incredibly unusual for him and had become increasingly sluggish and lethargic. His illness came out of nowhere, really.
When he was here, especially in his early years, he was very skittish. He’d always hide when unfamiliar people would pop by to visit, something that happened up until about a couple of years ago. He was a slender cat, and most people remarked that he definitely didn’t look his age. In fact, many thought that he was not a he. Even today when I took him to the veterinarian, she remarked that “she” would be better off and out of pain if we were to let “her” go.
I could’ve sworn he was a he.
There were times when Azrael would leave and come back. It was rare that he’d venture off too far, but when I first moved out west he went missing for two weeks while I was living in a small little cabin/shack that was surrounded by forest. But the cat came back. I thought he was a goner, but he came back.
Then there were the times when he wouldn’t leave but would go missing — within the places I’d lived in. When my wife and I were moving into our house, I ended up sleeping in our old apartment (in a sleeping bag in a deserted loft) while I tried to lure Azrael out from within the walls of the place with tuna fish and the sound of my voice. Good times.
Azrael was never as social as my other cat, Soot. Soot died two years ago, and he was always more canine than feline in demeanor. Azrael started to adopt some of those qualities after Soot left us, most notably an amazing tolerance for children. I’m certain that my son’s first clearly spoken word was “kitty” because Azrael would put up with being “toddler-handled” by the boy.
My cats brought me a ton of joy over the years that they were a part of my life, and starting tomorrow I will start to experience not having a pet for the first time in 18 years. It’s going to be an odd feeling, that’s for sure.
Later this week I’ll be receiving a terra cotta memento of Azrael, complete with his name inscribed on it along with his paw print. We’ll be placing it in the same garden with Soot’s memento. The mementos are a nice touch, but the memories are better and go with me wherever I go.
So long, Azrael. You were a good boy…or girl.