(this is NOT Rags but it does look just like him, sadly I don't have a photo of him.)
I got a call today from work.
Actually I missed it because I was plastering my bathroom walls.
It went to voicemail but when I realized it was work I didn't listen to it but instead I just called back to see what was up.
Apparently they have been waiting for me to get back from vacation before putting down Rags, the clinic cat elder.
When I had left, I had made the statement that I didn't want anyone jumping the gun and putting him to sleep while I was gone.
I wanted to be included in the decision.
We all knew that he was in kidney failure but he was still eating and going outside and "hunting" around the clinic.
He still liked to lay on top of the reception desk counter where it's warm from the lights and he would get belly rubs from almost everyone that came in the door.
It was obvious that he had lost weight but he still seemed to be enjoying life.
But I didn't know that he had taken a turn for the worse on Monday while I was gone and that no one wanted to ruin my vacation by calling me.
Then today one of the vet techs said that she couldn't believe that I would want him to suffer while waiting for me to return. So she called me and she's the one that left the voicemail. When I called back I got the office manager on the phone and she said that Rags had gotten much worse.
She said that today he had slipped outside and went down to the creek.
He had gone way down into the creek bed and they feared he might have been trying to end his life.
Do cats do that sort of thing? I've always heard how they will go off by themselves when the end is near.
Luckily a client saw him from their truck as they were leaving and went down and got him and carried him into the clinic.
But they were waiting for me to get back.
When this particular vet tech realized why they were hesitating, she called me. And she was right to do so.
I told them to let him go. They asked if I wanted to come and say good bye and I tearfully said no, not to make him wait any longer but asked them to give him a kiss from me.
I went back upstairs and continued working on the walls. Tears flowing.
That darn cat.
I remember when I started working at the clinic over 10 years ago and how he was the King of the Clinic. He wasn't my kind of cat really. I'm not drawn to the fancy purebreds. Everyone commented on his beauty and sometimes he would let them pet him and other times he would be too aloof and give a warning grumble to get away. He belonged to the vet's wife who also ran the clinic and we were instructed to "work around him". He mostly stayed on the counter, in front of the computer and always giving a snotty attitude to the clients.
Sometimes he would go outside and kill things and leave half of their bodies on the front porch.
Then a lot of things happened.
A new clinic was built.
He was moved to that new location.
The vet and his wife divorced.
And he was left behind.
Lots of different employees came and went and finally there were only a couple of us who remembered that he was King.
I started to feel bad for him.
He was like an old man surrounded by people who didn't remember the war much less want to hear his stories about it.
So his disposition changed.
He would go outside, walk around the building, sometimes only as far as the side door and want back in.
And then he became sick.
He let himself be held and would purr and drowse off and I'm sure he dreamed of his glory days.
Different medicines and food were tried but he was old and now the quality of his life was the most important thing.
and so..today, his reign has ended and that darn cat has taken a piece of my heart with him.