Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye William

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.


Swamp Dog said...

I'm sorry for your lost pet. We just lost our old Maine Coon recently, it was hard to make the decision. But sometimes it is just time to let them go in peace. It is all part of the cycle of life, we know their lifespan is brief, so if you get a pet you have to be prepared for the loss. But then you remember the days of joy they give us and it makes it all worthwhile to do it again.

Kara said...

As horrible as it is, I'm also glad that he made it home to you before the end.

Wow, I totally started crying major tears while writing this comment and thinking of you guys... my heart just breaks over animal sadness. Sending love your way, and I'll give each member of my menagerie an extra pat and an extra treat in honor of William today. What a great beauty!

Joleen said...

I'm so sorry for your sadness in losing William. It sounds like you gave him a very loving life. He looks almost exactly like my little Noah. Love to you at this time and Happy New Year.

Natalie said...

Sweet William. What a gift you all were to each other. I'm sorry he was hurt, but the rest of his life's story is so uplifting and good. What a special, dear kitty.

jeanives said...


Lindsey said...

I like that you decided to "let him live the life he wanted". That's very peaceful and he got to do what nature wanted him to do - carouse, eat, burrow, chase, and enjoy the sun on the front porch.

What a great life you gave him. He was a very lucky boy.

The Witch said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He was definitely a handsome cat that got to live the life he wanted and was greatly loved.
What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend and companion.

Shim Farm said...

Awww. That makes me so sad. I'm crying right now just thinking about his brave trek home. It's terrible when they leave us, isn't it? My sympathies.

William sounded like a real character who lived a full, full life. I don't think he could have asked for a greater home. And I think you did right, letting him roam the great out-of-doors. It's what they're meant to do, even if I worry each and every time I let one of my two outdoor cats outside. Constant worry.

Godspeed William. Again, my sympathies. It's a terrible thing to have happen and it makes me very sad to read this.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Oooh, my eyes are filled with tears, as I read your tribute to such a handsome boy. I'm so glad he made it home, and you were there with him, making his last moments comfortable and loving.
Run wild and free over the Rainbow Bridge sweet William ....
Hugs friend,

Mary Francess on the cello said...

A little work, a little play,
To keep us going - and so, good day.

A little warmth, a little light,
Of love's bestowing - and so good night.

A little fun to match the sorrow
Of each day's growing - and so good morrow.

A little trust that when we die
We reap our sowing- and so - goodbye William.

(acknowledgement to G. Du Maurier 1834-1896...who did not know William the cat, but perhaps a warm furry friend like him.)

Holly House said...

Poor sweet William, hopefully he's at peace now. I teared up reading this, it'll be a year next week we lost our own old cat Devlin at 17.

Paula said...

I'm way late on reading this, but I'm very sorry to read about the loss of your furry family member. It's a double-edged sword we swallow when we love animals, or anyone else, for that matter. But we are better for it, I think, even though it hurts when they are gone.

I hope your hurt is a short one.

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