You never see someone for the last time and realize it will be the last time. It was Sunday night when I last touched our elderly cat, Toyling. I didn’t realize it would be the last time I’d see his little face ever again as a living, breathing family member. Though I wish I had a chance to say a proper goodbye, I’m glad he died as an old man in his home instead of under harsh lights at a veterinary office.
A few years ago, Toyling came to live with us when Chris’s grandmother moved into assisted living and couldn’t keep him. Our chubby black kitties didn’t know what to think when this slender, long-legged, brown, loud, and exotically named Siamese cat came to live with us. If he was cranky, we knew. If he was hungry, he howled! If he just wanted love (and oh did he need a lot of love), you couldn’t escape. Though he looked a little past his prime, the vet assured us he had years. And years he did end up having–good years I’d say.
His wacky personality traits are what I love so much. We always say Winston is the big fat man, Stevie is the snob, and Spooky is the street-wise scrapper who isn’t all there. Toyling was the old man, yelling at the whippersnappers, hobbling around, eating too much, breaking all the rules of etiquette, and complaining loudly quite often. However, he was also full of love and affection too.
When I went to where he sleeps to check on him, something seemed off. I knew before I was half way up the stairs that he wasn’t with us anymore. I can’t tell you how. I suppose it was in part because he usually jumped down from wherever he was perched when he heard my footsteps. Or maybe it was just the eerie silence. It is amazing how perceptive our senses are; how intuition kicks in and tells us something is wrong before we even logically confirm our fears. Even though he was an old man, I just wasn’t prepared to see his little body without any life. I had no warning. I freaked out, cried, called a friend, and called my mother. “What if he suffered?” “What if he died crying out for us and we didn’t hear him?” Finally, I made the dreaded call to Chris. When he got home from work, we dug a deep hole, wrapped Toyling in his favorite blanket, and had our own sad goodbye. Chris said it perfectly to him as we buried him: “you were a good kitty, Toyling.”
The house is so quiet right now.
Toyling, born in 1988 and originally from Nashua, New Hampshire passed away on January 3, 2011. Beloved cat of the late Mildred Ordway and later Chris and Cara St.Hilaire; spunky step-sibling of Stevie, Winston, and Spooky St.Hilaire of Winthrop, MA. Cherished relative of Susan St.Hilaire of Bedford, NH. Toyling, who died of natural causes, is survived by his many devoted care-takers that will miss him immensely. A private Funeral Service was held on January 3, 2011 in Winthrop where Toyling will rest permanently. Contributions may be made in his memory to The Humane Society of the United States.