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April 8th, 2002

Goodbye, Mr. Wuss
Wuss didn't greet me when I got in this evening and I found him sprawled out on the living room floor. He was breathing very quickly with his head down on the rug. I touched his head and he gave a deep gutteral growl without opening his eyes. I assumed he was dying. After a while he lifted his head somewhat and you could see his tongue was sticking half way out of his mouth with white drool dripping slowly to the rug, almost as if he'd been poisoned. Fast breathing, no movement, his body and legs in an awkward position not taken by a healthy cat.

I could see where he'd deficated in his cat box, but also in two additional places on the rug, one near where he was lying. The doctor said his heart was bad. Is this what happens to a cat with a dying heart?

I looked through the phone book for a veterinary hospital that was open. I'd returned home an hour late and all of them answered with a recorded message. I think I'd already decided that he shouldn't be moved. If he was in pain, better that he lie here in the place he knew and if he was dying, best he die here in his home.

The breathing grew slower, from a fast five breaths per second to a much slower rising and falling one or two breaths. He raised his head. He moved his front paws together in a more cat like pose, then he got up wobbly to his feet, this after perhaps thirty minutes of watching him die, what I thought was watching him die.

So, this is it. This is how cats die who can't go off by themselves into the woods, who don't meet a car in the night the way Scooter did and come home in a sack. "This your cat?" Yeah, that's my cat.

I'm typing this with Wuss on my lap. I have an old towel he's resting on, since he hasn't had the energy to clean himself. He smells, he's purring, he can walk, he doesn't want to eat. Maybe he's come back for a little while to give us time to say goodbye. Tonight? Tomorrow? Soon, I think. Goodbye, Mr. Wuss.

No photographs.