Our family is infinitely smaller today.
We said goodbye our Julie bear last night—the funniest, most loving, snuggliest, bunniest creature to ever have graced this big dumb planet.
Just a few days ago, he was his usual rambunctious self—galloping around the house, singing the song of his people at all hours, and loudly announcing his arrival in every room so he could be showered with affection he so richly deserved.
But this week, he suddenly slowed down. And then he stopped coming to work with me. His breathing became labored, and he started hiding under the bed upstairs.
A visit to the Cat Spa gave us the worst news possible—he was in the throes of congestive heart failure. Fluid had built up around his lungs and heart and he could no longer fill them with enough air to be comfortable. Soon he wouldn’t be able to fill them at all.
His vet didn’t mince words—he was a very sick kitty, and we either needed to take drastic, wildly-unpleasant action to keep him alive, or we needed to help end his suffering before it got impossible for him to breathe. So we brought him home, called the very kind Dr. Chew to the house, and sat with him, snuggling him while he snoozed off and joined his brother in whatever adventure comes next.
Julie would have been a spry 17 years old in May. No spring chicken by any measure, but always so energetic and full-of-life that we thought we’d have him around for another few years, at least.
He sat and worked next to me every single day, snoring away on his chair, only waking up occasionally to boop me for attention, or to contribute loudly to the conversation whenever I took a client call.
A few months ago I mounted a webcam on his office chair, so Rebecca could watch him sleep from her office too. And there’s absolutely nothing weird about that, thank you very much.
If I left my desk for more than a couple of minutes, he’d get up too and follow me around the house to see what I was up to and keep me company. And, after a long, hard day at work, he’d perch on his tree by the back window and watch for Rebecca to get home so she could take over and work the evening shift of spoiling the hell out of him.
And now, this house has never felt so big, so quiet, and so empty. Rebecca and I feel profoundly lucky to have been Julie’s people, his stewards, his friends, and his monkey parents. We miss him terribly.