The nickname "Poo-Paws" was well-earned the very first week he started living with us.
Soft, fluffy, cuddly, and purring he chose not to be.
He was an alpha cat who dictated his own terms of endearment.
Graceful and dainty? Not him.
His whiskers and chin carried remnants of his recent meal; his claws sprang out as he jumped on to our laps for cozy comfort at his convenience.
Active and Curious? Yes!
Affectionate and Playful? Yes!
Adventurous and Silly? Yes!
Protective and Vigilant? Yes!
Much Loved and Happy? Most definitely Yes!
Our sleek and shiny all-black cat, Blackie, passed away quietly at home.
He was ailing and we were expecting him to go any day. They say, most cats know when they are ready to go and quietly find a place and lie down to shuffle off the mortal coil. So did Blackie.
Just over 6 months ago, his little brother Twt died. It was so sudden that it rattled us.
With Blackie, kids saw his various stages of decline over several months, including the visits to the vet and his rapid loss of weight, turning into just a bag of bones in contrast to the healthy robustness in this picture taken a couple of years ago.
On his last day, he simply refused any food or drink for the whole day; did not use his litter box; didn't move from his mat; a few drops of water was all he accepted into his mouth; by evening, he slowly started shutting down, getting cold, his breath coming in shallow and intermittent, his heartbeat fainter and fainter... he was peaceful.
By late evening, he was completely gone.
We said some parting words as we set him in the ground beside Twt, trying to process the fact that he is truly no more.
Papa remembers fondly how Blackie meticulously licked his face at nights, how protective he was of his little brother Twt, how much he loved to survey the world from atop Papa's shoulder, and how sweet he can be when he wanted to be.
The kids observed, quite impartially, what a quirky cat he was, almost dog-like: waiting by their dining chairs for scraps at meal times, following them around when they had a toy he was interested in, and at times telling them to back off with a warning hiss if they tested his patience...
I am glad the cats came into my life when they did - they helped me learn a thing or two about myself even as I learnt something about them.
We miss you both, sweet kitties!