I am losing a good friend. My beloved cat Denali has been battling cancer for quite some time. Vet visits, surgery, and long nights have taken their toll on him. His time has come and I hope he knows that he will be missed. Denali has been a part of my family for nearly 14 years and saying goodbye is not easy. I vowed early on that I wouldn't let him suffer and today I intend to honor that vow.
I have heard it said that a good friend doesn't judge you or expect anything from you...not true. My friend expected a lot from me and if ever I failed or came up short on his expectations he was quick to let me know. He demanded attention and sulked whenever he didn't get his way. He did pretty much what he wanted to do and on his own time schedule. He would stand and whine for as long as it took to get whatever it was he wanted. He decided for a while that he needed to be watched while he was eating, and so would whine until someone followed him to his food bowl. He would decide when he wanted to play and when he wanted to be left alone regardless of what I or anyone else may have going on at the time. When he was young he would often hide and grab at me from his secret locations. Sometimes the hide and grab game would end up with me in the bathroom cleaning a wound. I don't think he really intend to hurt anyone but those claws were sharp.
When I got a dog, instead of being jealous and petty, Denali decided that he would claim his title of King of the house. Sometimes I referred to him as "His Majesty the Cat", a fitting moniker that stuck with him for years. At 75 lbs the dog was much larger than Denali but that didn't seem to even enter into the mind of the King. Sometimes he would deliberately agitate the dog to start a confrontation. Ultimately the dog would get bit on the ear and cry while Denali casually strolled away the clear victor. I believe they liked each other though, because when they thought no one was watching they would occasionally lie down together for a nap.
He first came to me as little more than a ball of blonde fluff that easily fit in my palm. He grew up to be a very large and dominating fellow. At one point he weighed in at around 26 lbs which I understand is quite large for a regular cat He had long blonde hair that I was constantly cleaning off of the furniture. He loved to sleep in my bed. He would get nervous during thunderstorms and needed to be very close to me...I always told him it would be okay and that he was safe and sound then we were both off to sleep. He snored like a bear but instead of an annoyance I chose to think of it as sort of soothing.
Despite all his demands and whining, he was a good friend. He was always around to listen when I spoke to him and he seemed like he understood some of what I was telling him. If he thought I was lonely or not feeling well, he would come sit with me and try to "pet" my face. Yes, the claws were a problem sometimes but he meant well so I never got upset.
He won't be with me here in this place much longer, but I will carry him in my heart and in my thoughts until it's time for me to go. Who knows, maybe sometime I will see him again in a better place with more secret hiding places and no scary weather.
Goodbye my friend, I love you.
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