One year ago, last September, one of the two most important cats to me died at the age of 6 years after a two week battle to save him from internal organ failure. That was Rocky, the only cat who lived with me. It was just Rocky and me sharing a house. At the time, I lived alone and had no other pets (I now live with my boyfriend and our two kitties).
Fast forward to last Friday. I got a call from my mom. She wasn't at work but had called her employee to come work for her at the last minute since she had to make a trip to the advanced vet in the city (her employee is a huge cat lover). She told me to meet her at the vet. It was Harley, my cat who lived with my parents. He had been at the local vet a couple days for what she thought was a minor infection and when blood tests came, they said she needed to get him to a more specialized vet as quickly as possible. By the time I got there, she had been there all day. They had done several different tests and said it was liver cancer that had most likely spread. He had several internal masses. His body was in shock. He wouldn't stop purring, had lost control of his bladder, and could no longer even stand. In a few days he went from 18lbs (he was just huge, not overweight) to 12lbs. The vet said they could prolong his life by maybe a couple weeks, but there was nothing they could do. I decided to have him put to sleep. He was only 8 years old.
Harley was the most special cat to me aside from Rocky. I've never felt a bond like I had with Harley and Rocky with other cats. I had planned to eventually bring Harley to live with me again, but it'll never happen now. He was the first cat I adopted on my own when I turned 18 (I still lived with my parents). I volunteered at the shelter and he fell asleep on me for an hour. Later that day, a couple wanted to adopt him which made me happy. But, when I returned to the shelter a couple weeks later, I discovered they had put him back and decided on another kitten so I knew I had to bring him home.
When I introduced my boyfriend to him last year, even though I lived with my current cat Peru, I still introduced Harley as "the cutest cat ever". He was a plain tabby and white patched boy, but he was so playful and honestly the dumbest cat you'd ever meet. I always jokingly blamed it on a high fever he had as a kitten that scared me to death and landed him a few day stay at the vet. Up until he was a couple years old, I'd say "time for bed" at night and Harley and his buddy Lexus would follow me to my room. He was scared of storms, and would squeeze his large body under the couch at the sign of thunder. The night he was put to sleep, it stormed and my mom called to say she missed Harley.
My mom made arrangements for him to be privately cremated like I had Rocky. They're memories will always be wiith me. It's just hard to imagine my two most special cats died young and so close together. It makes me cherish every moment with Peru and my new kitten. I have a medium sized memorial tattoo of Rocky. I won't be getting a large one for Harley, but I'll be getting a small paw print for him. I know everytime I see Rocky's on my ankle, I'm comforted.
I debated on the way to the vet whether or not to get a last picture with him, but I did. I knew if I didn't, there'd be no second chance.
It just still doesn't seem real that he's gone. It's hard when you feel helpless to make them better and have to say goodbye.
Here's a picture of Harley and me when he was a few years old (he was an indoor cat but on a harness for this):