We took Abbie for his last visit to the vet this morning. He's been declining for the last three or four weeks -- arthritic, semi-incontinent (though he tried, heaven knows), not much more than a familiar furry presence camped out on the heating vent in the living room.
He stopped eating a few days ago, even tuna, and stopped drinking voluntarily yesterday. Up to that point, though, he still yowled to be picked up and placed on the bathroom sink, his favorite oasis. But this morning he refused the syringe of water I was trying to administer, and was too weak to stand.
The vet said that his temperature was 92 degrees, way below normal. Clearly his systems were shutting down. They say you know when a pet's time has come, often because there's no there there anymore. But Abs was present until the last moment -- vocalizing, though faintly, registering his surroundings, nestling in for strokes, looking at us with his big blue eyes.
Being more or less snowbound the last couple of weeks turned out to be kind of a blessing; lots of lap time for the Abster, two full-time servants tending to his needs. This is the last picture I took of him, earlier this month, with the capacious Stella Luna in the background. I posted a birthday tribute when he turned 19 last April. We'll toast him in absentia on his 20th. You were a damn good cat, Abbie, and we'll miss you more than words can tell.