When Louie rolled over onto his back, Tony knew the game was over. Louie was being submissive and saying "Enough - I need a nap." Basking in the summer sun, Tony would sleep with one eye open, tail twitching, watching eagles in the sky, bugs on the ground and human activity all around him.
Tony was a lover, not a fighter. He did manage to bring me the occasional mouse, snake or bird and deposit it at the front door in anticipation of praise from me. But he usually got a "Yuk! What did you do?" instead.
When our house sold, we moved from the country into town. It was a new area and the sounds of construction disturbed Tony. He didn't want to be outside as much. His days of running around the acreage chasing Louie were over. I heard him crying one day and finally discovered him on our roof. I think he was looking for a way of escape. He was never the same happy, playful cat. Our dogs seemed to ignore him and Tony continued his life sleeping on the sofa.
By winter, his lethargy turned to heavy, labored breathing and I realized something was seriously wrong. He never seemed hungry and he was no longer catching prey outside which became a concern. Cats live long lives -- this did not make any sense at all. Tony was only six years old.
What do you mean?
"What? What in the world are you talking about? Poisoned?"
"It happens," the vet explained. "He may have captured a mouse that had been poisoned, or got into something from the construction site."
It was Friday. The doctor gave Tony some medication and said he should be better by Monday. If not, we should consider putting him to rest.
I am not sure if it was pure hope but, by Sunday morning, Tony seemed to have a bit more life and I knew we were on the road to recovery. I held him close all evening, petting him and telling him how much I loved him. I was so happy that I would have a good report for the vet Monday morning.
Around midnight, I heard a commotion in the bathroom. It sounded like a thud against porcelain. I rolled over when I realized my husband got up to check it out. In the morning, my hubby told me he did not want me to go into the bathroom, just yet. My heart paused, just for a moment, but I KNEW.
Tony was always anxious to please us. That is what made him more like a dog than a cat. It was obvious that he did not want us to clean up the mess he knew he would make, so he jumped into the bathtub around midnight. To die. By himself.
Although we had cats before Tony, I swore I would never have another one. No cat would be able to replace him and I did not want any reminders of my special, lovable, caring friend - Antonio.