William died yesterday - he was hit by a car. He was too old, and the damage was too great, for him to survive, so we had him put to sleep late last night. After a terrible day in which he managed to drag himself home through the rain on two legs, he ended his life peacefully, wrapped in warm blankets and surrounded by love.
He was 16, and had gone through more lives than two cats put together. When he was just a kitten he was found abandoned in an empty apartment in Toronto with his sister Arbus, and when they were about 6 months old they were adopted by Kim. Maybe memories of those early days trapped in the apartment stayed with him, because he much preferred an outdoor life - at his prime he would only come home to eat, spending his days roaming the neighbourhood and dining at a few homes other than ours. When we still lived in Ontario he loved to go camping with Kim at her property north of Toronto - he would sleep in the tent with her at night, and go canoeing with her during the day.
William was a charmer, a character, and a very handsome cat - he looked just like Sylvester from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, only grey and white instead of black and white. His long, silky fur was gorgeous, but a problem for a wild outdoor roamer like him. We always knew where to find him in the house because he would leave a trail of debris behind him -all the sticks, leaves and burrs he dragged in with him would gradually be deposited on floors, couches, counters and beds.
His closest call came about eight years ago, when a raccoon chomped out a good portion of his throat. As he recuperated he had a tube to drain the wound running right through his neck, so he looked like a very handsome and furry Frankenstein. We tried keeping him in after that, but he was miserable being confined, and so we decided to let him lead the life he wanted.
He started to slow down in the last year or two, and began spending his days on the rocking chair in the verandah and his nights in his special bed away from the pestering attention of Petunia.
And now we imagine him reunited with Arbus, young and strong, with all his teeth again, and fur without a single mat, roaming the bush in search of more adventures. Thank you, William, for making it home last night so we we had a chance to say goodbye. You were a good cat and we will miss you.