He was my best buddy. And it was a good death.
We left the house an hour early. Peabody is less scared in the cage when his little bed is in there, so he settled down in the car quickly while I talked to him.
We drove to Surfer's Point, which I think is the most Ventura place in the world, and one of the prettiest. The day was perfect, cloudless, amazing blue sky and fairly warm. The surf was not too loud to frighten him, and a parade of people, dogs, skateboards passed him on one side, and the waves, birds and tangy breeze on the other. He was interested and relaxed, enjoying the sun. I kept talking to him, telling him all the wonderful memories I had of him, and that I loved him and that he was the best cat in the world. After a while I let him out and held him in my lap. He dozed for a while, and then I put him back in the cage and we drove to the vet's.
I asked for 15 minutes alone with him. He was a little nervous, but when I held him in the exam room and cried a bit, still talking to him, he put his paws on my shoulder and gave me head bump kisses. He ALWAYS did that when I cried. I don't cry often, but he always knew and always comforted me. He stayed there much longer than usual and when I stopped talking and crying, he started his last conversation with me. We exchanged about 5 or 6 "mmmppphhhhnmnmm?" noises, and then he started purring and went back to head bumps. All better now, he seemed to say.
When the vet came in, I put him back in his little bed and he curled up as if to sleep, even giving the vet his hind leg to inject without struggle or tension. His purring was faint but continuous. I held his head, kissing it and dripping snot. Within a few seconds, the purring faded, and in less than a minute, the vet told me his heart had stopped. His body was still warm and relaxed and perfectly composed in his little bed. I said goodbye, noticing the top of his head where he gave me head bumps was soaking wet.
Then he let out a terrific fart.
"That's natural," the aide said quickly. "The body relaxes ..." She tried to compose her face. All of us smiled and shook our heads. The smell was intense.
"Do you want a moment alone with him?" the vet asked.
I held my breath and kissed his wet head. "You stinky old man," I whispered. They heard me, and chuckled. Then I let them take him, bed and all.
I'll get his ashes in about a month. I'm going to take them back to SF and do something, probably sprinkle them in Golden Gate Park's rose garden.
It was a very good death.
Kitch seems to know something's wrong. About an hour ago, she sat in the hall and yowled repeatedly, would not be comforted then raced through the house, checking behind doors and under things. I just followed her. She got up to the third floor bathroom and seeing that it was empty too, the last room, started walking in confused circles. Then she let me hold her and she's still in my lap, awake and staring at me. I didn't think she'd even notice, she and Pea were in separate worlds. "You won," I told her. "You're the last cat standing."
Frankly, I think that will suit her just fine.
We'll be OK. I am having my own little wake for the rest of the day, but it was the right thing and I'll be OK.