Both girls were surprised, which in turn surprised me. It seemed obvious Bailey was very ill but somehow, his imminent death did not make their radar.
He was laying down under a chair and we encouraged both girls to crawl on the floor to get closer to him and express their feelings.
Teena went first. She asked him to please not die. She said, Daddy will be so sad if you die Bailey, stay with us. We'll miss you so much.
Genea went next. She said, Goodbye Bailey, and she was done. She spent the next 15 minutes drawing hearts with crying eyes. She compulsively demanded I view her efforts every other minute or so.
Thank you so so very much for the lovely comments. It's nice to know so many people understand, he is not "just a cat". I appreciate it more than you can know.
He has always loved to sit in containers (though not anything so undignified as an actual cat bed). We set this one by his favorite window and put some cushioning in it. He had a lifelong interest in ornithology.
Bailey died yesterday. It was excruciating. His will to live was not overpowered by the systemic shutdown of his body and he lingered. In the end, we had to do the humane thing.
Genea sobbed and sobbed. She had to be prodded to accept comfort from her Dad and I, but she did. She is so sad. She is also determined to make every symbolic gesture of her love for him as is possible.
Teena is a mess. It's hard to watch her, she has never experienced anything so hard in her little life. She has no idea what to do with her big feelings and they are coming out everywhere. It's striking, this difference. Genea's years of therapy and history of traumatic events seem to have fully prepared her to handle something so difficult. Teena, not at all.
We had huge bowls of ice cream and talked about our memories of Bailey. We happily coated our feelings with sugar and spoke of the funny things he would do. It's happy-sad. Enjoying the memories and missing him even more strongly because of them.
I have simultaneous urges to never ever have another pet, and to race off and get a kitten right now.
Boo Boo, our other cat, is hopelessly lost. He used to give Bailey his baths, and is wandering the house looking for his baby.
It's hard to realize I also feel relieved that the fight is over for him. We miss him.