Darling Bo-Bo the Cat

Written by Braiden on August 10, 2012

Bo-Bo Photo

Bo-Bo plays with the Christmas ornaments

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran on August 10, 2010, exactly six years after the death of our beloved feline of almost 16 years, Bo-Bo. I’m reposting it today in his honor. . .we still toast to him with every glass of wine. . .and his ashes still sit on our granite buffet in plain sight in our living/dining room. We love you, boy! R.I.P always. 

I can still remember as if it were only yesterday the day I took Bo-Bo to the vet the final time. He hadn’t been eating well, his stomach was especially distended (he had always been a good eater, and more than a tad overweight as a result!), and he had stopped grooming himself (very uncharacteristic as he was part Siamese and a fastidious groomer).

After a brief exam, the vet came in, crouched down on her knees (I think to get more eye level with me) and told me he most likely had stomach cancer and to take him home and feed him Friskies or whatever he would eat until he died naturally or we thought we should put him down.

I was totally in shock, called Spencer (who offered to come pick me up in a cab, as he was worried about me driving home), yet I somehow made it home through the tears.

Once home, Bo took up residence in a white fluffy chair. I think, in their wisdom, that animals know long before we do that it is their “time.” I can tell you the “real” Bo-Bo, the one who came running to the door the minute he heard the elevator coming up the shaft, the one who butted you awake every morning at 6 a.m. so you’d grudgingly feed him, the one who stole butter off our butter plates every night at dinner, thinking we didn’t see him “sneaking” up on it. . .that animal left his physical body long before we did the inevitable.

It was a long (several-week) death march, and because I was here all day with him, I witnessed most every single moment of it. It was interesting that by the time I had determined that we had to let Bo go, Spencer still wanted to get tests, put him through chemo, etc. Some dear friends of ours had done that for their cat and they flat-out advised us NOT to undergo that. They reasoned that the extra days/week of life simply were not worth all the vet visits, and that toward the end they were afraid their cat hated them for putting him through it.

So when the inevitable day came, August 10 (my brother’s birthday, BTW–we reasoned that his good life would counter Bo’s sad death), we called a “mobile vet,” a very compassionate woman who goes around in her “vet mobile” making house calls. Bo hated going to the vet, and we couldn’t imagine him dying in that place of antiseptic smells and unfamiliar animals. We wanted him to die at home, in our arms.

The night before the day of Bo’s date with death, we both slept on the floor while he dozed above us on “his” chair. Of course, neither of us really slept. It was really a weird experience to know that this would be Bo’s last night on earth.

Just before 4 p.m., the vet showed up. The door was ajar; candles were burning; soft music was playing. Bo jumped down one last time for a bite of food, but could hardly make it to his bowl. I will always think it was an homage to me that his last moments on earth were spent eating. :-)

Anyway, I held Bo on “his” chair through the whole process, from the initial sedation in the paw, to the actual injection of the fluid that stops the heart. And the whole way I talked him into his death, telling him it was all right, he was our boy, and he’d always be in our hearts. It was almost as if I were channeling another person, and Spencer said he’d never seen anything like it.

Bo-Bo died at 4:35 p.m.

To this day, I have no idea how I “knew” how to do that, or where that other “person” came from.

After he was gone, the vet left us alone and we arranged his body in his little cat carrier so she could take him away and have him cremated. Before she took the body, she made a plaster of paris molding of his little paw, and one of his hairs got stuck in it, and we will treasure that always.

A few days later, I had a vivid dream that Bo was at his food bowl. He turned to look at me as he walked away, and was gone. I KNOW it was his little spirit passing over, him letting me know he was okay, and that I/we’d be okay.

Our shrine to Bo-Bo

We put Bo’s ashes, the mold of his paw, and some other mementoes on our granite buffet along with a plant from my in-laws house (they are also gone) and Bo’s food bowl (a cute carved wooden cat that I planted with palms and a rubber plant) so we can “visit” him whenever we want. And every time we have a glass of wine, we toast to Bo by clinking twice instead of once. We both still think of him, and miss him, every day.

We haven’t gotten another animal and I doubt we ever will. When you’ve had the best, why mess around with cheap imitations? Once you’ve had that experience, why tempt fate?

Today marks the sixth anniversary of Bo’s death. And I am still missing him and loving him and writing this through the tears.

More stories from: Featured Story,With My Cat