Billy, as we knew and loved him, a wise old sage.
After a long summer of struggling to keep our 19-year-old baby, Billy Cat, comfortable, we had to make the decision to put him down.
He was our joy, our laughter, our love and our life. Billy was the best cat a person could ever have.
I remember when I got Billy. I was single and living alone. It was 1994 and I named him after Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins because I loved the band at the time. Billy was from the litter of a shop cat. My uncle told me the colors of the kittens and I said I wanted a gray one. I met my uncle at his shop and he was waiting for me, with Billy, in a box.
Before I took Billy home, I took him to meet my beloved Grandmother. She was the first person to say how cute he was and ever since then everyone was falling in love with Billy. He was a special cat.
When I brought him home as a kitten, he was scared. He cried and hid a lot. It took him a long time to come out of his shell. Two years later, I got Derick as a kitten and the two were comical together. The moved with me when I left one apartment for another. At the second apartment I sneaked them both in because I was only allowed to have ONE cat. What could I do? They were family!
After a year of dating my husband, I moved in with him. Of course Billy and Derick came along. My husband is a wonderful cat dad. He adored my babies to pieces. When we all settled in, it was just adorable how we were all one big family.
Billy did so many cute things over the years but two of them will stand out in my mind forever.
1. The time my husband was playing The Monkees and the song “Papa Gene’s Blues” came on. There’s a lyric that goes, “I love you and I know you love me.” During that part Billy came running down the stairs. It was the sweetest, cutest thing. So from that moment on, we said that was “Billy’s song.” Billy always loved music anyway. He used to sit right by one of the stereo speakers. We said he was like the RCA dog who sat by the old Victrola. Billy would always looked so deep in thought.
2. I’ll never forget the Christmas my husband surprised me by getting cute collars for the cats. Derick got holly and Billy got a bow tie (see first photo!) My husband planned that both cats were going to come down the stairs together to surprise me. He even rehearsed with them. But Christmas day, Billy was so excited he ran down the stairs ahead of Derick. I wish you could have seen the look on my face when I saw my Billy parading around with his bow tie, looking all proud and cute.
These are just two stories that capture Billy’s personality. He was just a big, old, innocent cat. He never caused me any problems. My cats never destroyed speakers, curtains or anything in the home. They never chewed on wires. The worst they ever did was fight with each other and even that was comical.
Everyone who met Billy fell in love with him. We always heard how beautiful he was, what a pretty cat he was and how good he was. I had Billy for 19 years, and my husband had him for the seven that we’ve all been together — the package deal. There was never a dull moment, but one thing Billy knew how to do was give a lot of love. He was just this big ‘ol stuffed animal.
I would love to share many more pictures, but since Billy was an indoor cat, most photos were taken in our home and we like our privacy.
Earlier this summer we noticed Billy had some problems with his hind legs and lost some weight. We just chalked it up to old age. Until he stopped climbing the stairs to use the litter box. We immediately took him to the vet and turned out he had thyroid issues. We were treating him by going to a regular vet and then a holistic vet, giving him acupuncture (which I blogged about earlier this summer).
Regular treatments kept him going for awhile. Then he took a turn for the worse. Most recent x-rays showed he had bone cancer. He was down to just four pounds and had a body temperature of 93 which meant he was deteriorating. Our mutual decision was to put him out of his suffering. And the last two days, that cat did suffer. You never heard a peep out of him, but he was meowing out of desperation.
Today we, along with my brother-in-law Joe, said our last good-byes to Billy.
Beautiful angel, I’ll never forget you. And I’m positive, neither will a lot of other people.