I thought I was ready. Paco’s health had been dwindling for three years. He was the kind of scrawny that made people wince when they looked at him. Petting him was no fun because he was so bony. I could count his vertebrae and his hips stuck out of his fur to a painful degree.
When I went to bed last night I noticed Paco laying under the coffee table, a spot he never inhabited, but I didn’t think anything of it. This morning, when I was getting dressed, I noticed him laying in a pile of dirty clothes near the top of the stairs and I knew in an instant these were his last moments. I sat on the floor and pet him, seeing if he could stand up. I’d put him on his feet and then he’d sway and fall to the ground. I googled what vet clinics were open this morning, and then I sat down at the top of stairs with Paco in my lap while Walter wiggled and squirmed at the bottom, begging to go outside.
I told Paco that I loved him and that it was going to be okay. I told him he was still the fanciest cat ever and that I would miss him. Then I brought him downstairs, put him on the red chair, and took Walter out. Then I came back in and sat down on the couch and cried for 45 minutes.
The Shakopee Vet Clinic is two miles from my house and filled with the kindest women imaginable. I thought I was holding it together pretty well until another woman who was in the waiting room told me that I was making her cry. The end was mercifully quick and within 20 minutes I was back in the sunshine, petless.
I still have Walter, the loaner pet, for few more weeks, but this the first time I’ve been without a pet since I was 22.
Paco wasn’t even supposed to be my cat. Sister #3 got him when we moved in together back in 1998 because my cat, Madison, was so fucking annoying without another cat around. He was much mellower with a friend, and that friend was Paco. When Madison died in 2012, I thought Paco would need a new friend. He didn’t. In fact, Paco liked it just being the two of us and he treated any one who came into Supergenius H.Q. as an interloper, and was a big fan of shitting on my bed whenever he thought too many people were here for too long.
Paco was kind of an asshole. He hated Jaycie, Max, and The Tibbles and whenever he was nice to any of them they would freak out. He liked to swipe and hiss at Walter and when BFK’s dog Lex came over Paco would just sit and stare at him, which made Lex bark like he was under attack. Paco was an asshole, but he wasn’t afraid of anything but the vacuum. And he loved me. His favorite thing to do was to lay on my chest and purr. He slept with me for a portion of every night, curling up my hip.
I’m so sad right now even though I’m glad that he didn’t have to suffer and that he led a good, long, cranky life. I’m really going to miss him.