This is a photo I took two weeks ago of Clifford, my daughter Louisa's 13 year old cat. Just this morning I picked him up off this same rug and took him to the vet to be put down. His kidneys had failed and he had become severely anemic. The vet assured us it was time. Most of all we knew he wasn't ok as his usually scrappy personality had diminished to only an echo of itself.
So we went in and held him as the vet administered the sedatives that gradually brought his heart to a full stop. It is surprising to me how hard this feels.
Clifford often boarded with us while Louisa traveled. He spent a great deal of time in my studio, often sleeping but other times staring intently at everything around him. There is nothing quite as intense as a cat's gaze. These are animals who seem to set the standard for being sharp eyed. Vision for a cat must be a powerful and deeply sensuous experience.
What did he think of my paintings? He never said much about them. I'm quite sure he was critical of much of what he saw and privately thought I should keep struggling to do better. "I could paint it better myself" his expression often seemed to say, but in the end he seemed to think it best that I learn without his help.
Still he had a warm heart and was willing to accept a scritch on the head from me whether I'd painted well that day or not. You have to admire that. Good bye my friend. I will miss you very much.