I have been putting this post off for over a year now, but I think it’s finally time to write it. It is my way of finally putting closure to this. I am writing this post on June 9th, 2017, but it is in regards to, and dated for, May 31, 2016.
Onyx has always struggled with Urinary Tract and Kidney issues, despite feeding him prescription Urinary Tract health cat food. Towards mid-May, my best fur friend in the whole world’s health began to decline rapidly. He wouldn’t leave our bathroom, except to eat and to go use the litter box. He was relentless in his endeavor to get people to turn the bathroom faucet on, in order to drink directly from it. His meowing was so incessant, that in the last week of his life, we just left the water running at a constant small trickle, so he could help himself to water whenever he needed it. We couldn’t keep up with his thirst, and I knew that type of behavior wasn’t normal.
May 29th came and went. It was supposed to be a happy day, but I can’t even remember it now. All I remember, is that it was a day that was supposed to be meant for us to celebrate our 3rd year of living the Fulltime RVing lifestyle…our 3rd “Nomadiversary”, but we were too wrapped up in what we were going to do about Onyx. He was eating more than his fair share of food, yet he was consistently losing weight. He was becoming gaunt, and I could tell he was miserable. I raised this dear boy from a 3 month old kitten. I knew him inside and out…and I knew his time was drawing near. His 12th birthday would’ve been on June 20th, but I knew in my heart that he wasn’t going to make it to celebrate that special day with us.
Upon my search in Arlington, Texas for a highly recommended and understanding local vet, a few of my fellow Facebook friends referred me to an amazing clinic that was a few miles down the street. I cross-referenced their reviews with their reviews online, and made “the” phone call. On May 31st, I explained what was happening to him, and told them that I knew it was time, and that I didn’t want him to suffer any longer. I made my appointment for as late in that day as I could make. I wanted to have as much time with him that I could get. I wanted to put it off forever, but I knew that I would never really do that to him.
I made some more phone calls to family and friends to tell them the heartbreaking news. Nic and I explained to the girls what was happening. It was a very somber and forlorn day, but nevertheless, we made it a day that Onyx would never forget. I phoned my Mom to ask her to come over. I would need her to stay with the kids when Nic and I took him to the vet later that evening.
Normally on our Nomadiversary, I force my family outside in front of the RV to take a family photograph to commemorate the day. We were too burdened down by searching for a vet to be able to do that on the 29th, however, but I still wanted one last family photograph with Onyx in it. So I dragged all of my family outside under the RV awning, and we got one last photo together.
I wish Cedar and the kitties had been looking at the camera, but it didn’t turn out half bad for a 5 month old baby and a couple of distracted fur babies.
Right about the time that I shuffled everyone back inside, my Mom pulled up in our site’s driveway. She asked me to come help her get something out of her van. Not gonna lie, I was pretty mad. I thought, “How can you possibly be thrift store shopping on a day like today? I’m not in the mood to take inside whatever stuff you’ve got for us.” Just as I was about to give her an earful, I opened the passenger side door, and broke into tears at what I found there…
As most of you know, we came to Texas to be with my Brother. He is suffering from a terminal syndrome called Prune Belly Syndrome, and he is in incredibly poor health. By this point, he had been on Hospice and bed-ridden for 6 months. He could barely make it to the bathroom, let alone make it to my Mom’s van to come visit us at our RV. I was so angry at the two of them for bringing him over. That trip LITERALLY could’ve been the end of him, but I also knew it wouldn’t have been right to say goodbye to Onyx without my Brother saying goodbye, too.
On September 9, 2004, I was 19 and had just lost my two Bestest Friends over some (in hindsight) petty drama. I was depressed, heart-broken, and lonely. My Husband (boyfriend at the time) was a wonderful friend, but I needed someone with a little less drama…someone whose friendship was simple and uncomplicated. I decided that I needed a fur friend. A white mouse, more precisely. So I called Nic real quick to let him know what was going on, and that I was on the way to the pet store to procure my new little buddy. He was hesitant to this plan, but ultimately, I was the one with the job at that time, it was my townhome, and no one could tell me what to do back then.
I called my Brother next to tell him I was gonna swing by his place to pick him up, and that he was coming mouse-shopping with me. My Brother loved the idea. He has always been such a “go with the flow” kind of guy. (His health was still poor back then, but he was functioning at a MUCH better level than he was now.)
Once we got to the pet store, I checked out the mice, and they were cute, but I felt like they weren’t what I really wanted.
What I really needed.
I heard kittens mewing in the back, so we headed in that direction to spy on them. In a cage about 4 feet off the ground, there was a litter of about 7 all-black kittens. Not a spec of white on a single one. They were SO ADORABLE. I was Goth back then, so I thought to myself “How perfect! I need a little black cat to match my black clothes and black, depressing soul.” (I’m glad I eventually outgrew that phase, lol.)
My Brother and I watched them for a few minutes. Six of them were pretty chill. They were mostly asleep, and 1 or 2 were eating quietly.
Then, there he was.
He was the spazziest kitten I have ever seen…even to this day. He was jumping in the water, then in the litter box, then in the food…water…litter. Over and over again. He was insane. I asked if I could hold him, and they opened the cage door, handed him to me, and I instantly fell in love with this tiny black ball of fluff, that was shredding my shoulders to pieces with his tiny dagger claws. He clawed his way up to my shoulder, perched there momentarily, turned around and FLEW through the air!
I thought for sure he was dead. Surely a tiny lil guy like himself wouldn’t be able to survive that jump. I was at least 5 feet away from the cage. He would’ve landed on the tile, and I just knew that wouldn’t end well. I looked at my Brother’s shock on his face, gasped and turned around slowly…bracing myself for someone about to yell at me for kitten death. Or whatever it’s called.
But Onyx was hanging onto the open door to his cage, swinging back and forth…hanging on for dear life by those tiny dagger claws. I said out loud “Oh no buddy, you’re comin’ with me. You’re just as crazy as I am.” So I pulled him off that cage door, stuffed him inside my punk rock hoodie, bought him a tiny black leather spiked collar, and $80 later, I was on the way home to my Townhome with my new lil buddy.
When Nic got home, my Brother and I were on the floor, on either side of my bed, looking underneath it. Nic was laughing…not surprised that my new mouse had already gotten out. When I pulled Onyx out from under my bed he said, “That doesn’t look like a rodent.”, and from that moment on, Onyx clawed his way into everyone’s hearts.
His first and last Halloween and Christmas. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and having him there made it even more special…who doesn’t love a Black Cat on Halloween? Christmas was his favorite holiday, though. He LOVED to eat garland and the tree.
That kitten LOVED to climb anything and everything he could get his claws on. He eventually outgrew the need to shred my curtains to pieces, but his curiosity for things never left him.
One of his favorite things to bat at, was this Halloween card from my Mom. It was a dancing Witch, and boy did he love swiping at that thing. It was better than any cat toy!
He woke us up nearly every night of his first few months with us, by jumping on my keyboard keys downstairs…playing us eerie tunes to fall back asleep to.
He played fetch with fur toy mice. He would even bring them back to us and drop them at our feet to throw them again.
When we finally neutered him, he became the SWEETEST cat anyone had ever met. He was wonderful with kids. He never hurt a soul. He turned every cat-hating human I had ever met into a cat-lover…well, at least of him. He impressed people with his ability to “speak” on command…he followed me around everywhere…never leaving my side. He was my faithful companion for nearly 12 years.
I bought him with the goal of finding a friend, and he never let me down.
He was more a person than a cat. Every single night, he slept on my head with his paw sweetly placed in the palm of my hand.
He used to perch on my shoulders, lie down, and wrap himself around my neck. He would just hang out there while I walked around and did my business.
He was around to watch my belly growing with the lives of our 3 children. I have a photo with each of them stretched out alongside him (though I am having trouble finding the 1st 2 kiddos & him). He was an average-sized, 9lb cat, but next to my 5, 6, & 7lb newborns, he looked massive. He would lie on my lap as I nursed them above him. He was always so gentle. Such a lover. He was the greatest fur friend I could ever ask for. My fur soulmate.
So back to today. When I saw my Brother sitting in my Mother’s van, my elation won over my anger, and I was relieved that he could be there with me to say goodbye to that ball of fluff that we once brought home together. In a way, Onyx tied me to my Brother.
The 7 of us spent the day spoiling Onyx with Grilled Tuna cooked by Nic. I brought Onyx outside to lie in the Catnip I was growing in my Roadstead garden, and we let him eat some Grilled Chicken during dinner, too. Not one second was spent during that day, without someone petting or holding him. I think he knew what was going on…because he barely went into the bathroom to drink that day. He was enjoying everyone’s love and affection so much, that he had no interest in drinking the day away.
He was loved. So loved. There will never be another cat like him.
When 7pm neared, Nic and I wrapped him up in a blanket, my Mom, Brother and our kids said their final goodbyes, and I held him on my lap as Nic drove he and I to the vet. The vet looked him over, agreed with me that his kidneys were nearly shut down, and he likely had Diabetes as well as a thyroid problem. I didn’t want his last moments being spent getting poked and prodded at, only to confirm what my gut (and the vet’s professional experience) was telling me. I knew it was time. She knew it was time, so the only injection he received, was the one that finally helped him to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
When he took his last breath, a little piece of me went with him, and will forevermore remain with my sweet boy.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but he was finally at peace.
That night, our other cat, Tigger, slept on my head, with his paw placed ever so gently in the palm of my hand. Tigger has never done that before that night, and he has never done it since, but I know he was sad, missed his buddy, and he knew that’s exactly what I needed that evening. Tigger is still around, but he really misses his buddy, and he hasn’t been the same since.
Our last day with our sweet boy…he loved giving kisses, too.
Our last photo with our sweet boy.
A week later, we received his ashes back in the Cedar chest that Nic and I picked out for him. How fitting that it be made from Cedarwood. We put a fur mouse in there to keep him company, and we all felt much more at peace, now that he was back with us again. He sits on my shelf to this day…and I swear, sometimes when I am going to the bathroom, I can hear him meowing outside the door, to be let in for a drink direct from the faucet.
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…
Until we meet again, Onyx.