This is a picture of my friend and companion of many years, Sebastian, resting in my arms. It was taken by my son Eamon at ten to three this morning, about half an hour before Sebastian died.
I don’t know exactly how old Sebastian was, because I adopted him from a shelter when he was already a fully grown cat of three to five years. He was picked out by my son Eamon, with my advice and consent, when Eamon was five years old, so I treated him as being the same age as Eamon. That would make Sebastian fifteen years old, quite an advanced age for a feline.
I spent the next decade being loved by that animal, and giving him my love in return. His favorite places in the world were plastered up against my chest peering over my shoulder, or lying in my lap occasionally putting out his paw to touch the arm of my Papa chair as if to say, Ah, home. At night if I left the bedroom door open he would pad in, lie down beside me, and commence to purr his deep bass purr until one or the other or both of us slept.
He was always very healthy until just about three weeks ago, when he began to lose weight quite rapidly. He didn’t seem in any distress, though, and remained as affectionate as always. I tried to build him up a bit with treats, both store bought cat treats and offering him shreds of my chicken and so forth, and would drop ice cubes in his water to encourage him to stay hydrated.
Last night Eamon came and woke me to tell me that Sebastian was lying on the floor meowing faintly in distress. I picked Sebastian up and took him to the Papa chair he’d loved to share with me, and I held him and stroked him for maybe an hour. He shortly calmed, though his breathing was very rapid. He would shiver and twist once or twice, then calm again. He reached out to touch the arm of my chair, then he relaxed and began to purr. That’s when Eamon took the picture. And then, quietly and without fuss, he stopped breathing.
Goodbye, Sebastian my friend. I am going to miss you so badly.