The past few weeks with him have been one step forward, two steps back. Yesterday morning, he made it to the litter box, peed, then came back into the living room. He hissed at the cats along the way, as if he didn't know who they were.
He stumbled. He walked like he was drunk. His eyes weren't focusing. His pupils were slow to respond to light. He wouldn't purr.
I had called the vet earlier to see if we could get him in today, and we had a three o'clock appointment. "If he gets any worse, call us." I did.
He cried on the way to the vet's office, but ignored my fingers in the carrier. He just "wasn't there", if you know what I mean.
I have believed for a few weeks now that the crypto had finally traveled to his brain. The vet who originally diagnosed him warned us of this. My mind keeps running back to the "if he'd only taken his meds". But he didn't. We stopped pushing them on him, making him fear us, knowing full well the most likely outcome.
We were taken to a room and he was sedated. This is where it got rough. Unlike past cats, who relaxed almost immediately, Rocky did not. He didn't understand, he just knew that this wasn't normal. He kept trying to get up. Brian had been holding him on the table, then I took over. I put my arm under his head and let him rest his face on it. He kept opening his mouth, his tongue coming out, trying to swallow. His paws, front and back, kept moving like he was trying to push himself up. I stood with him, stroking his soft fur, rubbing his head, reminding him of all the good things he'd been to us, the fun times we'd had together. I told him what a beautiful and strong cat he was. And that all this scary stuff would soon be over.
He slowly relaxed and his paws were still. The second time the tech knocked on the door to see if we (Rocky) were ready, I said "yes". She took him into the back, put the catheter in his leg, and brought him back in and gently laid him back on the table. Then the vet came in and asked if we needed any more time with him. No. She euthanized him. It took him a little longer than the other cats, but his heart finally stopped.
If there is a rainbow bridge, I wonder who he'll visit first. His first owner? His second owner? Will he come to us at the end?
I don't know. I do know that we will miss the hell out of him. Every time I see one of the cats go out at night, I'll think of Rocky. I'll remember him pulling away a forty pound container of litter, in front of a baby gate and somehow pulling the cat door out of the door to go out at night. He was a big cat. A mighty cat.