Rufus said good-bye to his earthly companions today and departed for the Rainbow Bridge after a long life, half in a horrible home, half here in my shelter. He was about 20, but we can't be sure. Coming from a hoarding situation, I'm sure his birth wasn't given any significance and he joined the dozens of other cats there. They all looked alike: pale orange, long hair, 6 or 7 toes on the front paws. There could have been some Persian in the mix, judging by his looks. He was here for 10 years and was possibly 10 when we rescued him and his "extended family."
With little or no socialization during those critical first few months, nor indeed, the ensuing years in that environment, he was not a cuddler. But he loved attention. This past week he was my constant companion, never letting me out of his sight. He followed me on my rounds as I did kitty chores, and he sat by my chair while I worked on the computer, staring at me.
I didn't allow myself to notice this slight change in his behavior, or I might have realized he knew he was winding down and was gathering memories to hold in his paws on that final journey.
Thus, it was somewhat of a surprise to see him reclining on the floor by my chair this morning and his inability to even raise his head. However, I'd been surprised daily by the fact that he was still here and eating well, and prancing about with no sign of slowing down. Today, he slowed down, and then he left.
I put him into a basket, as I always do for those in their final hours, and set him on the back deck in a sun puddle. It was as if the sun had come out for 2 hours just for him, and then disappeared into the overcast sky again as the temperatures dipped on the leading edge of our next storm.
Rufus was the last survivor from his family of 40 siblings, cousins and probably some offspring. The rest have all gone, and now Rufus is with them at last.
I miss him, as I do every cat who has graced my home and enriched my life.
Thanks so much to @ChatteMuse for a wonderful image of Mr. Rufus on his journey:
A very creative and lovely image to keep in mind in his absence. I appreciate the effort and loving gesture.