It has been exactly nine months since I had to say goodbye to my best furry friend, Julian. He was my first personal pet, and was such an amazing, loving, beautiful boy. He would usually purr when I was around and was good at laying on me when I was feeling down. I also miss how he would lay on my feet when I went to bed and wake me up by making bread on my chest.

The worst part of losing him (other than, you know, losing him) is that it was something that, in hindsight, I “should have seen,” and, if acted upon earlier, could perhaps have extended his life. But I have to be very careful with that kind of thinking as A) I did my best, B) he was good at hiding his discomfort, and C) there’s nothing but pain to be gained from that line of thought.

There’s also the guilt that racks me for choosing to put him down when I did. There’s that small voice that says, “What if he got better?” But again, there is nothing to be done now and I made the best decision I could. And I certainly didn’t want him to suffer.

Earlier last year my wife lost her cat, too, from similar complications. Her name was Gloria and she was also an amazing cat and is very sorely missed. She wasn’t as mild-mannered as Julian, but she loved us just as much in her own way.

My wife got a new kitten shortly afterwards, and he has been a blessing to us both. His name is Mungo and he got to know Julian for a while as well. Left alone from his mother and littermates probably too early, Julian helped to raise him and teach him “how to cat.”

I have yet to get a new cat myself as I just haven’t been able to bring myself to. Mostly missing Julian, but also being anxious about overlooking a new cat’s health issues and “having to do it all over again.”

There are also some practical reasons why we shouldn’t bring a kitten into our house at present: family allergies, mid cleaning house, etc. Plus Mungo has been able to largely distract from that hole in my heart for the time being.

No one will ever be able to replace Julian and the impact he has had on my life. But I know he wouldn’t want me to wallow forever, and his kindness and memory will live on forever.

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