Last Friday, we had to say goodbye to our second oldest cat, Loki. It came as a bit of a shock, especially since our eldest has been the one back and forth to the vet for the past six months for what turned out to be a persistent UTI caused by an e.coli infection.

Of course, almost as soon as we heal the elder one, Loki stops eating. Or at least, eating with the same voracity he usually displayed.

When the cat who literally tries to steal food off your fork on the way to your mouth is only interested in licking up the gravy in his food, something’s wrong.

It turns out that something wrong was liver cancer. We found out Wednesday, brought him home that night to spend some last time with him, and thought maybe he’d make it through the weekend (he was still eating enough to be semi-okay and we were force-feeding him the rest).

By Thursday morning, we knew that was a mistake. He was suffering.

We booked him in for Friday and then spent the next day and a half watching, waiting, cataloguing each moment as the last time.

The last time I fed him.

The last time he sat on my lap.

The last time he went down and chased bugs in the grass in the backyard.

The last time I gave him a kiss.

The last time he gave me one.

That last time he purred.

The last time. One after the other, the whole time second-guessing ourselves. Was letting him go really the only option? Could he hold on? Could he recover? Was he suffering?

By Friday, he would barely leave the pillow, stumbling every time he got up, restless even as he chased down butterflies in his dreams.

3:10. That was the time. I don’t think there’s any worse feeling that knowing what you’re about to do and having no way to communicate that to him.

Ending suffering. That’s what we told ourselves. It’s what we’ll keep telling ourselves.

He was suffering.

And he was. That was no lie. The way he was on Friday, by midday, we knew he’d never have made the weekend. We hadn’t seen him use the litter box or even attempt it in two days. He might have gone while we were sleeping but we couldn’t guarantee it and we didn’t want his bladder to burst. I’ve already had one cat die hard in my arms. I’m not keen to repeat it.

In the end, he was ready to go and we’ll just have to remember him as he was.

His head smelled like popcorn. He had Eugene Levy eyebrows to offset his otherwise white fur. He liked to slow walk the older cat Magnus, his bitter rival, stalking him like Walter Matthau circling Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men. He purred like crazy in my lap and humped his mother in hers.

He was a beautiful boy. We will miss him terribly.

I wanted to put something inspirational to make myself feel better here at the end, but it’s too fresh. We lost him and it sucks and there’s no denying that right now. We did the right thing and it’s still awful.

That’s going to hurt for a while. It is. The best we do is mourn him and try and remember the good things, and eventually, maybe it’ll hurt a little less.

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