Goodbye, Botchok.

Fifteen years together, and finally my little cat has left me. Botchok passed away on Wednesday, November 18, at 8:30 AM.

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It’s hard to believe this is all that’s left of my little tyrant.

On Tuesday she was still fine. She ate a lot in the morning, and she took her vitamins. Throughout the day her breathing was loud, labored, but it had been like that in days prior. Sometimes she would quiet down and seem almost normal. Then the difficult breathing would come back. I checked on her frequently, and she seemed fine. She was alert, and she perked up when I came into the room.

In the evening, we fed her and she ate three or four teaspoons. She looked like she wanted more, but we didn’t want to overfeed her for fear of choking. She drank a lot of water. She lay on her side. She watched TV. She seemed fine.

I must have gone to sleep at 2:00 AM. In the darkness I heard Botchok slurping water from her dish.

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Oneal woke up at 6:00 am, and he saw Botchok get up to pee. I woke up at 8:00 AM, and saw her lying on her side. Her breathing seemed very difficult. Oneal was sitting on the side of the bed, watching her. I sat beside him, and together we watched as Botchok’s breathing slowed. Eventually she tilted her head back, as if to look at us. She stilled, and her little body deflated slowly, as if the life were physically, gently, leaving her. She twitched once or twice, and then there was nothing more.

I couldn’t cry, at first. I stared at Botchok’s small, furry, motionless form, waiting for the wave of grief to wash over me. I waited for an avalanche of tears. I steeled myself for the pain that would tear through my chest. But there was nothing. A few tears rolled down my cheeks, as if duty-bound to fall because they were expected. I sighed, and lay down, hugging a pillow. Oneal snuggled behind me, and we gazed at my lifeless cat.

I think that’s when I realized that I would never again feel her warmth against my feet. She would never climb up onto my chest and sleep. No more grumpy cat swiping at the other cats. No more little tyrant demanding to be carried on my shoulder, or swiping at my hand when I was eating chips. No more.

That’s when the sobbing started.

We cried on and off in the hours that followed. There wasn’t much to say. We had done everything we could. We had brought her to the vet when she was sick. We had given her medicine and vitamins and supplements. We had given her a special diet. We kept her separate from the other cats. We gave her clean water every day. There was nothing more we could do.

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Eventually Oneal got up, and he found a clean cloth. Gently he picked up my cat, and when he lifted her body, her head tilted down. For a moment I thought she was going to move again, but of course she didn’t. He wrapped her in the white cloth, and put her in a box. Then he called Rainbow Bridge to pick her up for cremation.

Though I miss Botchok terribly, I know she lived a long life, longer than most house cats. She gave birth to many litters, and her kittens found homes with many friends. And together we had pretty good adventures. Now it’s time for her to rest.

I love you very much, my little bratty Botchok. I’ll see you again someday. Don’t be too mean to the other cats you meet.

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