We made the heartbreaking decision to help our beloved cat, Moyet, cross the Rainbow Bridge this morning. His overall health had been declining for several weeks now, and when we went to change his cat litter earlier today we noticed that he hadn't been using it over the past few days. We found him curled up on his favorite couch, very lethargic and unable to stand.
Already knowing the inevitable outcome (having watched his three brothers go through similar declines over the years), I drove to the emergency animal hospital with a heavy heart. While I drove, I kept one hand on his tiny head, stroking his fur and talking to him. I thanked him for being a good cat, told him how very much I loved being his human dad for 16 years. I apologized for those times when I may have been short on patience or sharp in tone. I asked that he forgive me for those times when life got so busy that I may have walked by him without notice. I drove him up William Floyd Parkway, past the supermarket where I first spied him in a box amongst a handful of kittens. I asked him if he remembered how I accepted him from the little girl with the imploring eyes, how he clung to my t-shirt and meowed at my face the whole ride home. When we passed the townhouse that had been his first home, I wondered if he remembered meeting his other dad, tired and spotted with paint on that sunny day, who first regarded me with an exasperated look of "Oh, no...what did you bring home now?" and then melted the instant he spotted the little ball of fur Moyet was back then.
During that painful ride to the vet this morning, I sorted out Moyet's life, arranging our mutual memories on the pages of a mental scrapbook only I could see. My beautiful, ever-youthful Moyet, with his forever kitten-like voice. Little, red-haired devilish Moyet, who would just as soon nip a finger that found an uncomfortable spot on his belly as he would rub up against you and pur like an engine. My resilient little cat, watching as our household feline numbers dwindled from four, to three, to two as the years passed until he remained one, the lone survivor. My proud little tiger, learning to make room for not one, but two dogs. My little king of a cat who would eagerly shove his head at the younger of our Cocker Spaniels, encouraging him to lick his ears for him.
When the time came today and I held my beautiful Moyet as the kindly, compassionate veterinarian administered his gentle relief, I cried and prayed and hoped that the story of the Rainbow Bridge is true. That as I watched his heart slow, and then come to a graceful stop, that this loving creature's essence would be transported to another time and dimension where he would be made whole and young and strong again. A warm and sunny place where his arthritic limbs strengthened, his coat regained its shine, his body rid itself of disease and pain, and he came face to face with his brothers again, to forever lounge in the sun, frolic after each other like kittens, and cuddle together in a mass of brotherly love.
More than anything, as I left the animal hospital with an empty cat carrier and a broken heart, I hoped that Moyet would be there on that elusive other side someday – in whatever form it will take – ready to greet me when my own time comes to make the journey.
Pulling out into traffic this morning, I shed tears of thanks for my little Moyet, who shared life's highway with me for 16 years — never asking for anything but an occasional acknowledgment, a mere scratch on the head, yet offered me unconditional love just for the asking.
Rest in peace, Moyet.
3/17/93 to 5/10/09