Oberon literally showed up unannounced in my yard one on of the worst days in my life – a December day on which I saw my horse drown. It was almost like he was someone cluelessly showing up at the worst possible time asking “Hey, I heard you have a vacancy?” But there was something very different about this cat: not only was he immediately friendly, coming up to me awkwardly for pets and scritchies, but…my dog, Xena, hadn’t chased him away. She normally chased away any cats that weren’t “hers” (at that time, my cat Othello still ruled the roost, and Olivia had just been adopted a few months earlier and was still a kitten.)
But by Thanksgiving 2019, he was losing a significant amount of weight and behaving sluggishly. Obi had always had a curious binge-and-purge eating disorder; he’d eat dry cat food and barf some of it up. But he was simply giving up on dry food now. We took to giving him canned meat – chicken, beef, tuna, turkey – and he suddenly began packing some weight back on. Which was fortunate, because a series of events beginning in the summer of 2019 with my ex-wife being injured on the job and being left unable to work led to us being… invited… in no uncertain terms… to vacate our Utah rental house. We looked for other places, but with the nightmarish housing situation in Utah proving to be a real bar to entry for anyone not already ensconsed in the Utah/LDS ecosystem, and with my job being 100% remote, we elected to leave the state again and head back east to someplace more affordable, though backup plan after backup plan fell through and we ended up not far from where we’d started in Arkansas. My ex, the kids, and the dog temporarily moved in with her parents; I found a rental house not too far away that turned out to have significant issues, and that’s where I took my cats, my belongings, and became stuck there as we went from “family emergency cross-country move” to “national emergency pandemic lockdown”.
When the kids waved goodbye to Obi in February, that was the last time they’d see him. (Their mother has elected not to allow them to visit the building I live in.)
The lockdown was a challenge. On the upside, the canned meat we’d acquired in Utah for Obi…we brought with us. I had a healthy supply of stuff for him to eat.
This morning, I took him to his final vet visit, the third since I suddenly had a paycheck again. Though it broke my heart, the vet and I agreed…nothing more could be done for Obi. He was dying. I elected to let him make a painless exit. Well, painless for him. I’ve had to duck out of sight several times today to try not to weep openly at work.
But he still had us to look after.