Even before Cloud passed, Our most elder cat, Isabella passed away too. She was 20, which by any standard is a full life for a cat. But in her case, reaching that number was even more remarkable as her life was fraught with ill health and constant stress. She was a feral rescue when we lived in a canyon. She, and her brother from an earlier litter, were highly visible as pale, lilac-point Tonakese in a coyote feeding environment, where a cat's inability to blend into the brush at night meant they might not live.
Paul skillfully captured her, but by then it was a week or two later than we had caught her brother, and that seems to have made a big difference in her staying completely feral all her life. We hardly ever saw her in the 20 years. She never let us get close enough to her to touch her, ever. We never intentionally frightened her nor stressed her but she behaved as though everyone was a constant danger around her, even feeding her and looking out for her, and being kind made no obvious change.
Until the day she died.
On that day she came and sat on my lap unbidden. She purred and asked to be petted. I didn't catch onto what was happening until it became clear she was in real trouble. A few hours later, she cried for me to help her so I comforted her as best I could and then she vomited up blood. The serious kind, where there can be no mistaking that things inside her body were broken.
That's when I got online through tears and started Googling around for what we could do. After a while, it became clear, given her age and extreme pain, that we should call in a vet to the house to put Izzy down, to relieve her of her agony as soon as possible.
They came on an urgent basis within a couple hours and it wasn't until the kind doctor administered the drugs that would let her sleep and then cause her to die, that I felt the shrill wraith of pain that had filled the house all day at once subside. The contrast was so profound, I wept.
I was so grateful she had been relieved of her anguish and so contented that we could afford to have her pass in the most grace-filled way we could provide.
God bless you, dear Isabella. You lovely girl.