My cat was put to sleep yesterday. My fella and I were with him to the end. He was 17, had been on tablets for four years and they'd stopped working. During the last few days he'd stopped eating and was constantly gasping for breath. He couldn't lie down properly and had started hiding away from us. We'd been expecting it for a long time, but nothing can really prepare you when you watch something that you love die in front of you, even if it's a release from pain. After it had happened, he lay stretched out, as if he was sleeping happily in the sun. I realised he hadn't been in that position for a long time.
He was never "just a cat" to us. From the moment he chose us, running up my fella's leg when he was a few days old and in a litter, he has been a constant source of discussion, delight, exasperation, concern and humour. He had a lovely personality, incredibly sociable and friendly, never scratched anyone or hissed, loved to be around people, always made himself the centre of attention when we had visitors, always kept his fur perfectly clean, and was always pleased to see us. He loved to be stroked and brushed, and sometimes felt more like a dog than a cat. Sometimes more like a little person. He certainly had more personality than most people and as I get older and more cranky and less tolerable I sometimes feel that I am more suited to being around "dumb" animals.
He's been such a constant part of my life for so long, that I can't imagine life without him. A light in my life has gone out for good, and with that a great source of joy and love, that I don't think can ever be replaced.