It's been sad here.
Three weeks ago Dave and I came home from a rare day out to find a tiny bobtail kitten on our doorstep. After wolfing down the entire contents of Monty's foodbowl, I tried following the advice of the local pound and attempted to drop her off at a vet's. Of course, they couldn't take her, and it being 5.30 in the evening, the shelters had closed. I took her back home where she made herself cosy on the couch, did kitty things in Monty's litter box without any prompting or accidents, and at night, jumped daintily onto our bed and fell asleep between us. By the next afternoon, she'd been checked over for a microchip (not surprising she hadn't one given how dirty and starving she'd been), given a bath, and, little guts swollen like a barrel and spotted fur aglow, claimed as ours. We called her Willow- her tabby colourings gave her a shimmery look in the light when she bounded along like a miniature bear, but her paw-pads were a smoky black, as if she'd trod in willow charcoal.
Monty, quite naturally, had his wee nose out of joint for the few days following the arrival of this interloper, and spent his waking hours chasing her like a common dog, obsessing over her tiny twitchy tail. By the weekend, Dave and I would wake up to find them sound asleep on the leather office chair, each a rounded ball of fluff and spots. Monty was a complete gentleman, and sat aside patiently whenever Willow decided she wanted to scoff her face at the foodbowl. I even caught him giving her a little kitty kiss.
And then Monty got really sick. After two trips to the vet and two relapses of listlessness and a complete disinterest in food or anything else, we knew our bouncy kitten wasn't right. More tests and another x-ray showed he had both FIV and inflamed kidneys. We visited him at the vet's for most of last week, to try to tempt him with his favourite snack of sausages, to brush his lovely fur and tell him how much we loved him. Mostly we just cried.
The vet told me on Monday morning that Monty had passed away. We'd been looking forward to the day, partly because he'd been booked in for an ultrasound at another clinic, and he always loved car rides. Mostly we just wanted to spend as much time with him as we could. He was seven months old. The vet told us he'd very likely contracted the FIV from his mother, which is pretty rare. Fully-blown FIV, like human AIDS, doesn't really make itself known until the cats are quite a bit older. We would never have known, and we're so thankful we didn't. The kidney failure was just one of those things- rare, but not unheard of.
Our little Monty had the very best five months with us, and we with him. It's so hard losing a pet, and harder still to explain to people without them why you feel like part of your world has ended. I grew up as an only child, but was always surrounded by cats. I told them my secrets. They snuggled especially close when I was sick or sad. They were always there, quiet company to fill a room and my heart.