by jkatejohnston

19 February 2015

Dear Max,

Duncan died yesterday. His infected mouth had reached a point where it should have been an easy decision, but it wasn’t. He’d been drooling this terrible stinky drool, and the last time he went in for his steroid/antibiotic cocktail the vet told Teresa that we couldn’t keep doing this forever and that Duncan was in pain.

We told Enzo the night before. His reactions have ranged from tears to “Well, at least Duncan’s finally dead!” to “Is Duncan really dead? Tell me the truth,” and back to tears again. We didn’t try to convince him that Duncan is in cat-heaven. He wouldn’t have believed that.

Teresa took Duncan to the vet while Enzo was at school and I was at work. She wanted to do it alone. I came home from work. Teresa had gathered all his stuff and cleaned it and put it on the basement stairs ready for donation: no cat perch in the living room, no food and water bowls in our bedroom, no litter boxes in the laundry room, no cans of cat food on top of the fridge. And no Duncan. Last night he didn’t sleep on my butt or on the pillow reserved for his use at the top of the bed. He didn’t get Teresa up at two o’clock to feed him. And looking over at the couch right now, there’s the indentation where he sits, and he’s not in it. He’s not walking across my keyboard as I write this. Shit!

Duncan usually spent a lot of time during the day sleeping on Enzo’s pillow. Last night I was reading to Enzo, and he was lying next to me on the couch with his head right up under my chin.

“Your head still smells like Duncan,” I said.

He ran his hand over his hair. I don’t remember what he said, but I think he was pleased.

Goodbye Duncan! You long tall handsome cat.