About 16 years ago my mother-in-law started feeding a pair of feral cats that had taken up residence in her back yard. Fast forward two years and she ended up with well over 20 cats. Understanding exponential growth we decided something needed to be done. Andrea caught the nine kittens, as those would be the most adoptable, and I started a campaign to trap and sterilize the remaining cats.
In order to socialize the kittens, they were first kept in the master bathroom, and then we slowly let them have access to more of the house. We managed to find homes for seven and we decided to keep two of them.
One kitten we nicknamed “Friendly” because he was simply the friendliest cat we’d ever met. As soon as you came into the room he would run over and want to be petted or to play.
We eventually settle on “Sarge” for a name, due to the pronounced stripes on his front legs.
While you aren’t really supposed to have favorites, Sarge became our favorite cat. Andrea in particular was very attached to him, and he would often seek her out for petting or to sleep on her, and like most cats he did like to sleep.
Unfortunately, he recently developed some health problems. We took him to the vet who, after a blood test, told us he was in kidney failure. We did what we could, including medication and subcutaneous fluids, but he started going downhill fast. Last week we took him in to have him euthanized, but he was having a really good day so we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. The vet, who was very kind and spent a lot of time with us, said that he wasn’t in pain so if we decided to take him back home we weren’t being selfish or cruel.
That was probably his last good day. Last night he just let out the most pitiful wail and was panting hard, trying to breathe. We decided it was time and so we took him in this morning.
We buried him in the back of our property, along side several of our other lost pets.
He would have been 14 this summer, so that is a decent run for a Felis catus, but we’ve had cats in the past who lived to 18 or 19 years so it still seems like he left too soon. Our sadness at his passing, while great, is offset by the joy and companionship he gave us over the years.