I knew that his death was coming, but that still doesn’t really make things any easier for me.
My mom called me this afternoon to tell me that she and my dad finally had to put down Junior, our family’s pet cat of 14 years. He had an invasive, aggressive and inoperable tumor in his mouth that made life difficult for him. My parents monitored him closely so as to give him the longest life that he deserved. He died peacefully without pain and mom said he behaved as if he knew it was his time to go.
When I was last home for a visit, this past November, I noticed that the little guy was missing one of his front canine teeth and had some swelling along his gum line. Later, when my dad took him to the vet, the doctor’s informed him of Junior’s tumor, a fairly common condition in older cats, and gave him a month to live.
During that time, he ate the best of moist cat food, tuna and pate. When he could no longer close his mouth and had difficulty eating, that’s when my parents made the decision to take him in.
Mom and dad are taking him up north to bury him at the family cottage. A friend of my dad’s made him a coffin from wood and each of us wrote a few words of love that he is being buried with. This is my contribution:
To Junior Boy
Childhood meant I had all the time in the world to cultivate meaningful bonds with my pets. The white cats I grew up came when I called their names, slept at my feet at night and left dead chipmunk “presents” on the front porch.
You were never my kitty cat, though.
I was 12 when we brought you home and it was clear from the first few days that we weren’t ever going to be best friends. When I tried to hold you in my arms, you violently squirmed away and slashed my skin with your claws.
When I shared my warm bed with you, you woke me from a sound sleep by piercing the tender parts of my arm with your baby teeth.
I tried to charm you with treats, toys and cans of tuna. It took years before I accepted the fact that you couldn’t be bought and I gave up trying.
Some may say that you belonged to no one in particular, wandering from one neighbor’s yard to the next, and cycling through a rotation of sleeping in front of vents, empty beds and warm laps.
You were my dog’s best friend, my mom’s little boy and you kept my dad company when he would read in his blue recliner.
You were a loyal pet and a key part of our family for 14 years. I’ll miss you, but I’m so happy that you’re no longer suffering. Rest in peace, little man.