"and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." We were reminded of these beautiful words from Hamlet by our friends over at Cats By The Sea. They seem so fitting for Yuu-Chan who was indeed a prince in every way. He was brave, and had great dignity coupled with great kindness. He always looked out for those who needed care and protection. He loved to play and to cuddle and was always ready for new adventure. In the last weeks of his life, he befriended the two donkeys who live in the field below our garden. He never hesitated in going towards them and saying hello and they in turn came to him in peace. He looked upon Tommy as an equal and, unlike the others, never nuzzled him although he was always ready with a greeting. He was agreat hunter who caught two mice within an hour just 10 days before he died. He loved his #1 with all of his heart, curling up against her, on her, or around her hand at any and every opportunity. He struggled with a variety of health problems much of his life, but never let them become who he was. He lived the life he was given with an open heart.
I drove him to Dr. C's first thing on Friday morning. I had to be at the Percheron Nationals Friday and Saturday and knew he would be in the best hands possible with her. She was clearly taken aback by the deterioration she saw and left me with him a few minutes before I had to go. I suspected these would be my goodbyes and told him that he would be loved always and that if he must make the big journey to the Bridge, Sen-Chan in particular would be there to welcome him. I left with a heavy heart and started the drive up to the National Stud. As I drove, I suddenly saw a tall window-shaped rainbow in the otherwise grey skies. I knew they were getting ready for him over there. It was almost time for him to go.
We have so many photos of him here. He first came to visit, with his mother and three siblings, when he was just four weeks old. He was much quieter than his siblings, the sweetness of his nature becoming quickly evident:
He came to live us full-time on October 1, 2009, and Tommy was the first friend he made:
But he and Sei-Chan quickly became inseparable and were known for a while as "The Red Terrors."
As he grew, all of my friends fell in love with him and he started to mature into a magnificent cat:
He always had a very unique expression in his eyes, old beyond his months and very mature and dignified.
When he found himself briefly with Tora-Chan in the house, and then again when Bibi-Chan emerged from the back room, he was there to comfort and cuddle and offer guidance:
He was also always good with children and had a great time out in the garden with a bunch of little guys in early June:
He and Tommy remained great friends always. As Yuu-Chan grew unwell, he found it hard to tolerate the other cats but he was always happy to be around Tommy who joined #1 to sleep in the back room with him the last week of his life.
Wonderful as Yuu-Chan was with everyone, he had a special bond with his #1, perhaps born out of his fragile health.
And Yuu-Chan also had a special bond with Dr. C whose gentle hands were on him as he made his journey to the Bridge.
We will miss you, little brother and beloved friend. You graced our lives with your gentleness, so very much in tune with your name, "YUU" for "Yasashii" meaning "gentle" in Japanese.
We would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts everyone for the sweet comments, and most particularly those who have put up special posts for Yuu-Chan. Thank you to Khyra's Corner, House of Cats, Cats by the Sea, Cat Tales, Pikku Pinapippuri, Simba's Antics, Forever Foster, Mango and Dexter's Great Adventure, PEI Day, The Chronicle of Woos, The Cat's Meow, WeezDaBadCat, Cat With A Garden, Ginger Jasper, Hannah and Lucy, Doggy Days, Miss Peach, The Naughty Kitty Club, Attie Cattie and Sumac Stories. We also just received a message from Ms. S who looked after him so tenderly when #1 was in Canada in July, saying "we must try and celebrate the joy he bought to all of us who were lucky enough to be able to love him."
We will take a break of a few days to regroup. We have visitors arriving tomorrow who will help us to heal. They are two of #1's closest friends from university days, one from Canada, the other from England. They were both big fans of Yuu-Chan.