Tuesday, we had to say goodbye to Bing. He was a wonderful cat, a very sweet boy and a huge pain in the butt - yet worth every minute. His health started declining rapidly a week ago. While he was not in any pain, his quality of life was gone, and he was unaware of his surroundings. This was one of the hardest moments of my life. I know that we made the right choice, but I hated so much to let him go.
I found Bing on a cool fall evening almost 16 years ago. I was in a hurry - no, scratch that - I was in a HUGE hurry. I worked in a restaurant downtown, and we had some sort of PR gig at a hockey game. I was loading large steam table trays full of hot food into the back of my tiny car when I heard a series of pitiful 'mew's coming from a locked equipment area. I peered through the fence, and soon saw a small kitten with cartoonishly large feet. He came blinkingly out from under the fence and began to explain himself in loud tones. He was filthy, but looked to be fairly healthy and uninjured. I wasted long minutes explaining that I couldn't take him to a hockey game, but that I would be back for him later. His English was terrible, so it was hard to get my point across. He was determined to stick with me, and I was determined not to lose my job or squish him with my car.
I got back and finished up my work night, then I went looking for the tiny kitty. He was easy to find. One word from me brought him running (and yelling). We had a talk about how my husband was not going to be a big fan of this idea. I told him that he would have to be a lap cat as my current cat was not up for that sort of thing, and it was the one thing that would possibly sway Don. He allowed (loudly) that he would give it a try. I scooped him up and dumped him in my car. He jumped out then ran back to yell at me some more. We repeated this cycle I don't even KNOW how many more times before I was able to jump in and slam the door with him on the inside. He promptly bonked his tiny head on the window so hard that he almost blacked out. He shook it off and yowled at me. We spent the 15 minute journey home discussing our current family (Rachel, Don, Missy the albino Siamese and Skippy the flying squirrel) and how he would fit in. He rode the entire way with his hind feet on my lap and his forefeet on my left arm. That was the last time that he willingly and compliantly rode in a car.
I ate my lunch alone today. Just me and a wicker basket of laundry on the couch.
I shifted and the basket creaked.
I turned and stretched out my hand to welcome Bing.
I dropped my hand and my eyes filled.
As predicted, Don was not even a little bit amused that I was bringing home a kitten. "No. Take it back to where you found it." "I can't! It was living in a parking garage!"
He wore down fairly quickly. He has a good heart.
We gave the tiny kitty a bath in the sink and discovered that he was pale yellow with orange-ish 'points' like a Siamese cat. After an initial visit to the vet - the tiny kitty was a boy, approximately 6 - 7 months old and a Flame Point Siamese (a Siamese / Tabby mutt) - the kitty boy began to settle in. We named him Bing after Bing Crosby. It was the lead-up to the holiday season, after all, and Holiday Inn was already in heavy rotation on t.v.
Bing's first order of business was to sleep for several days straight. He would wake up to use the litter box and eat, then he would head back to our bed and sleep again. He had been with us for a few days before he even noticed the flying squirrel. As soon as he did, the rest of the world ceased to exist. He slept on top of Skippy's cage with his face pressed into the mesh. He sat next to the cage and pressed the top of his head into it as hard as he could - he really, really, really wanted to get in there.
Every task today is marked by his absence. He was my shadow. My annoying, constantly underfoot shadow. I'll have to learn how to do everything without watching out for him.
As was indicated by our very first encounter, Bing was a very vocal cat. He used his Siamese voice all. of. the. time. When asked what Bing says, Lily Ruth will giggle and answer 'Naw!' Lately, he had (I kid you not) mastered a new word - he would stalk down the hall very early in the morning yelling 'Hello!' It was creepy and highly funny.
He was adventurous and brave. He prowled a pretty large territory everywhere that we lived. He protested mightily every time that I decided to keep the cats indoors in order to prolong their lifespans. In the end, it was always easier just to let him do as he pleased.
We buried Bing at The Homestead. Don dug the hole then brought him out. He held him as we always had - even though he hated to be held and protested mightily almost every time. He held him with love, and respect. We told him a few more times how much we loved and will miss him. We put pretty flowers over him. Walking away was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
He was the worst lap cat ever.
He was sweet and gentle to my baby when she was tiny.
He was a mighty hunter and a dedicated sunbather.
He was my guy.
I love you, Bing. You will always be in my heart.