It’s been just over 15 years since a loud, smelly, flea-bit little kitten found its way across J Street in Bentonville, and, subsequently, into our hearts. He followed a bunch of students and I ended up taking him home. At that point, John and I had just been married about six weeks and I was surprised John agreed to let me keep this cat.
We settled on the name Colby Jack Smith for this cuddly little orange ball of fur.
On Tuesday, November 14, we said goodbye. Really, the goodbyes had been happening all weekend. We knew he was under the weather but thought it just needed a dental or had a bug. We got him into the vet Saturday and were dismayed to learn that Colby had a large mass in his abdomen. Further scans showed that it was covering his kidneys and pushing up into his intestines. We chose the only humane thing we could do, which was euthanasia. We asked for a couple of days to let us and the other furkids say goodbye so they loaded him up on opioids and sent us home. The poor kitty had only moved from under the table in our living room a few times in the last couple of days.
Sometimes, people think it’s funny because Colby is such a big cat, but his nickname was always Little Fella or Little Man. It was because he was so tiny when we first brought him home. Then we started feeding him and he thrived, spending most of his adult life right around 15 pounds. I didn’t know cats could get that big!
He was definitely a mama’s boy and was content to lay out on my shoulder or chest, regardless if I’m working or trying to sleep. He was loud, always hungry, and bossy to other cats in the neighborhood.
I’m going to miss him so incredibly much.
On the #smithkitties hashtag, you will find many pictures of he and I cuddling. In the car, all throughout the house, and when I’m laying down. He loved the attention and the affection, and he would even give me head boops when I asked for them.
It’s been a couple of days and at first, I didn’t want to sleep in our bed because he wasn’t there. But that’s unhealthy and unsustainable. We chose communal cremation, which means we won’t get his ashes back in a little lined box. It just made more sense to us for his ashes to be spread with other beloved pets in the Ozark forest, which is how the crematorium manages communal ashes.
Right now, we’re both a little overwhelmed with life but soon we plan to honor him with a dinner that tries to replicate the human version of his favorite cat food. He loved Mixed Grill Pate from Friskies so I’m going to get a dish that has several meats in it, likely from one of our favorite Mexican places. It’s a dish with beef, chicken, chorizo, and shrimp.
Colby is the second pet death we’ve been through together as a couple and with three remaining pets, two that are elderly, we know it will not be our last. When Flower died, we were ready in less than a week to fill the empty spot in our household. For now, we are planning to wait a bit to fill the void left by Colby leaving. We already joke that we tend to get our cats from them choosing us after being dumped so we will likely see what critter ends up at our door.
For now, I’m grieving my Little Man and missing his purrs, head boops, and cuddles.