Quigley is gone.
Even looking at it in writing it still doesn’t seem real. Those words don’t go together. Quigley was supposed to stick around for the next 18 years and be my son’s best buddy. They started it all together, but now he’s gone and it’s just not fair. Then again, I am fond of saying that ‘fair’ is a place with rides, cotton candy and animal poop.
It’s still not fair.
Matthew has lost his best friend in the world. As I left to take Quigley to the vet, Matthew and Quigley had one last headbutt. I cried as I drove.
Quigley had FIP. The vet told me that it comes on fast and there is no cure. From Thursday when we notices some swelling in his abdomen to tonight when I took him in his breathing had become labored, he was in pain, and even just laying on his blanket was wearing him out.
He came into our lives the same way that Matthew did, and unexpected surprise that became a total joy. He showed up on our doorstep and just invited himself to stay, literally. I had taken the trash out on a Thursday night when I saw him next to our bin, hiding in the shadows. He apparently saw a good mark because he came over and began rubbing against my leg. He was thin, bony and very much in need of some food and water.
As I tried to go inside to get some for him he ran into the house, jumped up on the sofa and looked at me like “Oh, your home. Nice to see you again.” I’d like to say that I decided right then and there to keep him, but I hadn’t. We already had four cats and I really didn’t want a fifth one.
It was the when he made himself best friends with Matthew that I knew we couldn’t get rid of him. He had already become best pals with our other boys, Zane and Cooper, but when Matthew would use him as a pillow, or sit with Matthew looking out the back window for as long as Matthew wanted that I knew we had another member of the family.
If there was a cat version of Cool Hand Luke, it was Quigley. He really was a cool cat. The only one I know that would eat peas, carrots and green beans. If Matthew ate it, so would Quigley. He would nap wherever he wanted, floor, window, chair. If he decided it was time for a nap, wherever he was would be the perfect spot for it.
I held him while they put the IV in. I could feel him struggling to breath but I kept thinking to myself “Am I doing the right thing?” What if I was wrong? What if the vet was wrong and somehow he could be healed and come back to us the happy, healthy tough guy that I loved? Even as I asked myself this I knew it was just the faint voice of hope that makes us hesitate from doing what we know we must, because it is painful. Releasing him so that he could be free of his pain hurt me, but what kind of person would I be to make him suffer more so that I could suffer less?
With the last injection he was gone. And I cried. I’m crying as I type this. I feel guilty even though I did everything I could. He was my responsibility and I failed him. As I set him down all I could do was say “I’m sorry” over and over.
And I am sorry. I’m sorry for the loss of a friend, and I’m sorry that he won’t get to grow up with my son. Mostly though, I am sorry for me, because I miss him.
God bless you Quigley, he’s called home a very cool cat.