A little over thirteen years ago, I met my now-husband Eric. A little while after that initial meeting, I met his two cats, Ramses and Feina. They were around four and five years old at the time, and they were clearly important to Eric. The fact that they were important to him is actually one of the things that attracted me to Eric.
Ramses, the older of the two, was a black cat of mighty strength - he was about eighteen pounds at his height, and most of it was muscle. He was not what you'd call a good kitty - he frequently decided that he didn't like certain people, and made his displeasure known by discovering what color their blood was. But if he liked you? He would defend you with all five pointy ends against all foes, both real and imagined.
He walked into Eric's life when he was about six months old, skinny as a rail and limping just enough to look pathetic. Eric's then-girlfriend asked if they could keep him, and Eric, who had never liked cats before, said yes. Eric didn't really stand a chance after that.
The last year or so, age had been catching up with Ramses - he was losing weight, slowing down, and was significantly more cuddly. I had a feeling that his time with us was coming to a close, and so maybe a week or so ago I told him that it was OK if he needed to go - he didn't have to stay just for us. His response was his deep rumbling purr, as usual.
Saturday, Eric discovered that Ramses' time was up. It took two forms of aggressive cancer, and upper respiratory infection, and being the cat equivalent of about 90 years old to take him down; he was a fighter until the end.
Walking into the house is still really difficult - I'm so used to having him greet me when I walk in, that it almost broke me when I walked in yesterday and he wasn't there. I know he was a cat, and they don't live as long as we do; at the same time, I can probably count on one hand the number of people who have been in my life longer than he was.
We'll miss you tremendously, Buddy. Try not to destroy the world while you wait for us, OK?