1. The ultrasound tech sat down with us. "It's not good," she said. "We can no longer tell where the problem originated, because it's all over him now. His [stomach membrane] has toughened and is nodular, and [something] carcinoma [something]. There is nothing you can do to make this cat well." Tearshimmer in my eyes, then tearshimmer in hers. "They can give him analgesics to make him more comfortable for a few days while you come to your decision," she said. "No," I said. "We've talked about it. We knew."
2. I knew. I have been fighting it, knowing that I can be blind to anything but the worst-case scenario, desperately hoping I was wrong, desperately hoping that our kittyboy was not dying even though everything deep in me said he was. I knew. I never did the auction, is how I know that some part of me knew. Some part of me knew that this wasn't a situation for a surgery that would need to be crowdfunded. Some part of me knew that our boy was going.
3. Jack is 10 years and 7 months old. He is now in his last two hours of life. He is curled under my desk.
4. Jack chose us more decisively than ever a cat has chosen us. We were at PetSmart picking up a toy for Max's birthday, and they were having a pet adoption event. I begged Adam to let me go in and look at the puppies; he patiently acquiesced. The cats were in the top cages, the puppies in the bottom. I was cooing at a husky when I saw Adam out of the corner of my eye, frantically gesturing. Pointing up. To a black-and-white cat leg, not just paw but whole leg, thrusting out of the cage above the husky's. I stood and petted the tiny tuxedo kitten; he enthusiastically soaked up all the love. I moved on to the dogs. Adam gestured again. The kitten was reaching for me again. Over and over. When anyone else approached him, he retreated to the back of the cage. When I did, he ran to me. When we signed his adoption papers, he was wriggling in Adam's arms with sheer joy, and ran up to perch on his shoulder.
5. He perched on Adam's shoulder for years, long after that became impractical.
6. When I was in the hospital for my weeklong video EEG monitoring, my visiting parents brought Elayna home... Elayna walked into her room and screamed. Lo, on her floor was a dead squirrel. And a very pleased Jack. Obviously, since Mama wasn't home, it was Jack's job to provide dinner.
7. Jack has been an indoor cat his whole life. No one has any idea where the squirrel came from. MAGIC.
8. His nicknames include Jackalope, Lopey, The Lope, Lopeybutt, Dorktapus, and Dumbass. He is not a smart cat.
9. Like Derek Zoolander, he doesn't turn left. Instead, he runs at a wall and bounces off it in the leftward direction. He is apparently clever only at geometry.
10. He is not really a cat, we've said. He is a kow. He is a decorative gourd. He is a puppy.
11. He is canine in his enthusiastic affection. If Jack had a caption, it would be OH HAI. Jack has just met you and he loves you.
12. He is our greeter cat. As soon as you sit on our couch, you will have a Jack in your lap, with his paws on your chest and his face in your face. "Face in your FAAAAAACE," we say.
13. He looks like a white cat in an ill-fitting black cat suit. His black cat suit doesn't quite go all the way down his legs or over his belly. This contributes to him feeling like a teenager. He always looks like he's just had a growth spurt out of his black cat suit. Also, the very tip of his tail is white. Like it was dipped in a bucket of paint.
14. I thanked him. I thanked him for choosing us, for the squirrel, for that one time he hunted a snake, for always showing everyone that he loved them and that they were welcome in our home. I thanked him for being the absolute best Jack he could possibly have been. Just the most amazing kittyboy. We have been so lucky. I told him we have been so, so lucky.
15. I made the appointment for 2:45pm. He has suffered so much over the last few days. I cannot let him suffer one more day. When I took him out of his crate, he set his head against the wall and howled. "Just three more hours, buddy," I told him. "Just three more hours and that you will not hurt anymore. You can rest. You will never hurt again."
16. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Oh god I'msorryI'msorryI'msorry.
17. Adam is getting off work early so he can be there. We will hold him. We will tell him what a good boy he is, and that he can rest. That he has done such a good job. That we have been so lucky.
18. This is the last hour and a half of his life.