Last night we lost our younger cat Henry in a freak accident.
He jumped off the ottoman and landed against our tv stand hard and broke his back. It was a jump he'd made a million times before, he just landed wrong and we lost him.
He died quickly, and I am very much hoping without any pain. He was clearly unable to move, and only able to moan a bit before his breathing slowed then stopped. I pet his head, but I was also alone with the kids, and trying to keep them from hurting him further. It was terrifying and traumatic to see the whole thing unfold, so quickly, and not be able to do anything to help him.
I'm crushed. The biggest little is crushed. The littlest little is wandering around going "Cat-cat? Cat-cat?" wandering around looking for his friend, the fat black cat who would sit still for his enormous toddler hugs, patiently (or was it terrified?). Milo, our older, somewhat crankier cat, is also doing the same, wandering around looking for his frenemy and playmate.
We got him in either late 2006 or early 2007 as a baby kitten. We suspect that he'd been removed from his mom a bit too early as he was super needy and cuddly, but refused to sit on a lap. He grew quickly into an enormous mass of muscle who was also a big squish. He loved to be petted and scritched, but still refused to sit down on a lap, preferring instead to pace back and forth, back and forth, over you while you pet him or scritched his belly. He was super pretty, and liked to pose, and was very accomplished at hiding his giant belly and his buck-tooth fangs, which caused him to drool.
He was not the smartest cat, at all. Once, I saw him, completely awake just fall from his perch on the arm of the sofa. Just fell, shook it off, and waddled off. No reason. Just rolled off the couch. As you do.
He loved it when people visited the house and would always come say hi, and stay around long after other cats would have (and did) gone for their hiding places. And he tolerated and welcomed every single child who would come through the house, ignoring their yanks and pokes and letting himself be smooshed into baby hugs and pats.
On birthdays and mother's and father's day, JBB and I write cards to each other from the cats. Milo is a very dignified elder statesmen, a gentleman of a cat, who signed his name Milo the Cat, Esquire, and of course, perpetually annoyed and somewhat perplexed by his companion, Henry. Henry however was pure energy, bounding and excited, mispelling everything, missing articles, verbs, syntax and often writing in all caps with backwards "e"s (I HENRY LUV THE FOOD LADEEEEE!). It was totally how he would have written.
He LOVED wool, and would knead knead knead away on anything wool. He had a knack for balancing his enormous weight (seriously, 20 pounds AT LEAST) on his tiny tiny little feet, and purring like a madman.
He was built like a well-padded truck, solid SOLID muscle under about 2 inches of tub. One of the saddest things to me was petting him after his fall and not feeling his very alive muscled self, but just ...limp. He died in his favorite place to nap, in front of our tv stand, right in line with the heating vent.
He got up in my face, headbutting me, nudging my head while sitting on the back of the couch and I am going to miss him something awful.
And for folks in North Jersey, the folks at the Animal Emergency & Referral Associates in Fairfield are lovely and compassionate. JBB took Henry there when he got home, and they were fantastic.