For twelve years, Dufus was the most gregarious cat anyone would care to meet. Whenever we had anyone over, they soon found a large grey-and-white mass on their lap, sometimes never entirely sure how he had arrived there yet it was where the cat seemed to belong. It was on a lap -- usually mine -- that Dufus was happiest, ever and always demonstrating his profound contentment with the slow, sleepy flexing of his paws, the blissful look on his face, and the soft rumble from his throat.
We knew this was coming. We didn't really know when, but we knew it was coming. We have known it was coming since December 30, 2011 when he had what we think was essentially a heart attack. A 24-hour ECG test -- which made him look like a suicide bomber --
confirmed that he also had a severe arrhythmia. None of that bothered him. The personality of this cat was so strong, his capacity to give and receive love so overwhelming, he survived more than a year and a half in congestive heart failure.During that time, he never failed to greet me when I came home by asking -- nay, demanding -- to be picked up and held the way a (human) toddler would. He never failed to sample whatever beverage was on hand: coffee or soda if that's what we were drinking, though he seemed to gravitate toward the beer, wine, or liquor. Or perhaps it was just that we gravitated toward those things.... He tolerated without complaint the entire pharmacy of medications and supplements that we shoved down his throat. His heart and kidney disease took its toll on his muscle mass, and his appetite, but that didn't matter. All he wanted was to be held, and for him that made it all okay.About a week ago, suddenly it wasn't okay. He had some jaw pain, due to either a bad tooth or cancer. His appetite dropped off further, but he kept purring. His weight dropped precipitously. His bloodwork looked horrific, though that was not a surprise. We put him on antibiotics for his tooth, and supplements for his poor appetite and bad kidneys.
About a day and a half ago, he stopped purring. He was weak, and stumbling, and he wasn't getting better.Pam and I prepared everything as best we could. Dufus stumbled into my arms and onto my shoulder. He purred, quietly, for just a few seconds. It was then we said goodbye for good.We knew this was coming, but that for damn sure didn't make it easy.I would like to be able to thank the universe for putting such a dear, sweet, dork of a cat in our lives, even for so short a time;for giving us such a constant source of amusement and surprise; and showing us what it means to touch such inexhaustible love, so deeply profound in its unaffected simplicity.I would like to be able to do these things, but I cannot. Someday, I am sure I will. Right now, however, the wound is just a bit too raw. For now, I must content myself with the memories, until those echoes become enough. I know that is what Dufus would want me to do.Goodnight, my cat. My dear, sweet, wonderful cat.