(The title should read "Goodbye Dara till we meet again" but although I removed "by the bridge" it still came up!)
Yesterday, the decision was taken by my parents that their black half-Siamese nineteen year old cat needed to be put down.
He had many problems. He had been the runt of his litter, was epileptic and asthmatic, the muscles in his abdomen were wasted, he had problems walking, was becoming incontinent, drank loads of water, cried for no apparent reason and wandered around like a lost soul, following Dad (whom he doted on) even if he just left the room for the loo or something. From certain aspects of his behaviour, we suspected he waas going senile. The vet said he was okay, but my family had their doubts. At times he sat hunched up and we feared he was in pain when he cried for no reason apparent to us. Finally deciding that he was never going to get better, only worse, and my Dad finally admitting "We're not prolonging his life, we are only prolonging his death", the decision was taken to put him painlessly to sleep, which was done this morning at 9.05.
Although he was my parent's cat, I visited their home so often that he was sort of a secondary pet at my secondary home. I recall so many things about him - I was the first witness (and the one who took him in and lay him by the fire and tried to comfort him) to to one of his seizures. I heard a cry of distess and riushed out to find him lying on his side, froth around his mouth and he couldn't stand. As we don't have rabies here in the UK I took him in, fearing he'd eaten slug pellets or a slug and that he was poisoned. Half an hour later he was standing up and walking and seemed fine. When he had another fit, my parents took him to the vet and he was diagnosed eplileptic.
I recall waking up to find him snoozing between my legs on the bedclothes. I recall him sniffing my face, chewing my hair, purring down my earhole. I remember him stertched out in bliss by the fire, seeing him on Dad's lap and sleeping next to Dad (who was also asleep) on the sofa. So many memories, so although not my full-time pet, I do grieve for him.
I don't believe I'll find him waiting by the Bridge, for he was more my Dad's cat than anyone else's and he'll have gone with Dad, but once my time on Earth is over and I cross over, I believe he'll be waiting with my parents to guide me to the afterlife with them.
Until then, sweet black shadow-cat Dara, I will remember you with great fondness.