I named you after the charming android who turns lethal in the animated film “Metropolis”. You did not resemble the character in any way. I just liked the name.
We found you on a warm evening in 2004. Jenn and I headed out of our subdivision when we spotted you on the side of the road. I don’t remember too much. We took one look at you and brought you home, set up a bed in the garage, and made plans for a vet visit the next day. You were thin, missing patches of hair, and had scabs dotting your emaciated body. We wondered then (and now) how anyone could treat you that way.
You’re special to us for a few reasons. You were our last cat. We took in our several strays. By the time we found you the decision was made; no more cats. But after a weak to non-existent attempt at finding another home for you we decided to keep you.
You are and have always been the most affectionate cat. Wherever we sit or lay you find us and cuddle. If Jenn is sitting down you jump in her lap and curl up. When we allow you to sleep in our room you tuck your body next to mine. When we stroke your tortoise colored coat you purr and salivate.
I may be reading more into your behavior than is actually there, but you seem to be an “old soul”. It’s an indescribable sensation, looking into your eyes and finding warmth there.
Every memory I have of you glows like an ember in my heart. You, resting on my chest, giving me a thousand-year stare punctuated by the occasional slow motion squint of your eyes.
Last month we noticed it was painful for you to eat. Jenn scheduled a vet visit immediately. He thought it might be an absence and put you on antibiotics. When the area appeared worse he asked to operate. He said there was an 85% chance you had cancer. We clung like castaways to the 15% chance of something, anything, that would keep you with us. As we waited to hear the results of the biopsy a dark magnetism pulled my thoughts to the likelihood of cancer.
Monday when I got the news I wasn’t surprised. I listened as the vet explained how aggressive the cell division was taking place, that soon you would stop eating because the pain would be too much. Or you would begin bleeding from the mouth. In a hushed and reverent tone the vet told me you had a week to six weeks left. And then I told Jenn. As the words left my mouth she wept. We held each other and cried.
Instead of feeling festive and joyous I feel a dull ache in my soul. This is now a brokenhearted season. I should be jubilant and smiling but I can’t seem to manage. I keep thinking about you. The terminal moments we spend together, your cancer an unwanted companion, and the tears as I write. I hate knowing the day will come when Jenn fights to tell me you didn’t eat or she found blood spots on your blanket. I hate it. I don’t want to lose you.
When the day comes I will drive you to the vet’s office. We will walk in and wait together. Then the moment will come. I will hold you close while you drift to sleep and your heart beats for the last time.