When I went to college, my sister convinced my parents to get a cat. We had never had a pet that could actually walk around the house before. She and my dad looked at ads in the newspaper and went to visit a few of the places. When they found him, he was already trained to go in a litter box. I’m sure this was the primary reason for picking this particular cat. He was all black, with yellowish green eyes. They brought him home and my sister named him Whiskers. That was in September of 1988.
I remember the first time I came home from college and he jumped onto my lap while I was eating dinner. Scared the crap out of me. We all started sleeping with our doors shut because we couldn’t get used to a cat jumping on the bed in the middle of the night. He would actually throw himself at our bedroom doors to try to get in. When that didn’t work, he’d just loudly meow in the hallway. I also remember falling asleep on the couch and waking up to this cat face right in my face. It freaks you out a bit at first.
Whiskers has been a pretty steady part of our lives for two decades. Yes, that’s 20 years. According to this chart, a 20 year old cat is 96 in human years. I mean really, how long do most cats live? Whenever my parents go on vacation, I’m the one that goes to check on him.
My parents were gone for almost three weeks. I’ve been doing the usual routine of going there every few days to give him fresh water, change the litter (when needed), clean up the cat puke (often), and make sure he’s got a continuous supply of food. The first week everything seemed fine. The second week is when I started to notice a change. He wasn’t throwing up. I was glad about that until I figured out that he wasn’t eating. When I talked to my parents they had decided to just try to make him comfortable. He had lived a long life and it was probably his time.
I spent quite a bit of time there yesterday and today. He was so weak, and I couldn’t get him to eat or drink. From what I’ve heard, he was doing what most cats do in that situation. He was trying to find a place out of the way that he could just curl up and go to sleep. For good.
So today I spent most of the day holding him and carrying him around. Every time he tried to walk somewhere he’d get about 10 feet and have to stop to rest. He’d usually stop, start to crouch down and then fall over in exhaustion. My parents drove all day today and made it home at about 6pm. Whiskers was sitting with me on the couch. When he recognized that they were home he tried to let out a few little meow sounds. So they held him and petted him. We put him in his box that he sleeps in and went to dinner. When we got home, he had died.
I’m sure that by staying with him all day I had a part in keeping him alive for my parents to get home and see him. You have no idea how relieved I am that I got him to hold on that long. Could he have lived longer had we taken him to the vet? Maybe. But he was very old, was already having some issues and had lived a full life (in cat terms). It was his time. How many people get 20 years with a pet?
So rest in peace dear Whiskers. You were one cool cat.