He was such a good cat. Albatross. He meowed too much and was demanding and was always on the counter or jumping to the top of the cupboards, or opening garbage cans. But he loved us all so much and we knew it. And oh, he was handsome.

We adopted Albatross and Minos from the SPCA at the same time. Nick saw him first and was intrigued. While all the other cats were sleeping and otherwise boring, Alby was awake, “playing” with a toy mouse. His playing consisted of him softly and slowly, touching the mouse with one paw. Not even looking at the mouse, but at Nick, as if it say, “Look at me. I am fun. Adopt me.” And we did.

We soon learned of his adventurous personality. The first weekend we left the cats alone and had a cat sitter look in on them, we returned home to our brand new ceramic top oven, smashed beyond repair. Although neither cat confessed, we are confident that it wad Albatross who made it to the shelf above the oven that held our wine and scotch bottles, which were all knocked off…

Alby could jump straight up and land on the top of a door. As in the 1 1/2″ width of wood. He loved to be up high. Other times he would get to the top of the cupboards, like at Jean and Karen’s home, or my dads, and We would say he was the king, looking over his kingdom.

He loved to look good. We described Alby as a metrosexual, as he loved to be brushed and bathed and carried and groomed. He even let me tote him around in a cat carrier I bought for him – it really was a Baby Bjorn for cats. He loved to look at himself in the mirror.

And he loved opening things. Cupboards, garbage cans, toilet seats.

And I am crying while writing this, as I miss him dearly. He left little paw prints on my floor, from dirty paws (he was still getting into mischief in his last days), andI can’t bring myself to wipe them away yet.

He was sick for over a year. And we tried new diets and procedures and pills and shots. But it was all to just delay the symptoms, and there was nothing we could actually do to cure him. I’ll admit at times I refused to accept reality – he was so young, only 10 when he passed. And I wasn’t ready for more loss in my life. But I know what death looks like, and I was living with it while Alby was still in this house with me.

I felt so alone with making the decision to put him down. And great guilt and selfishness. And I kept second guessing my decision after it was too late. And once I had made the decision, Alby’s last days were filled with all the foods he longed for his entire life, and was never allowed to have. Roast chicken, tuna, milk, DQ ice cream and steak and lobster. Yes, I went to the Keg and brought him back steak and lobster. And I cuddled him every moment I was home. He knew.

Arrine and I went to the vet, she wanted to go, even though I had explained to her exactly what would happen, multiple times. We took him outside for a while before we left. The staff at the vet were (are) amazing and provided me the answers and support I needed. And I cried. I let out sobbing cries, while I pet him and laid my head on him and breathed him in, just as I remember breathing in my mom.

The timing worked out well. We took Alby’s ashes to Batoche with us, just a couple weeks after he passed. And we left him at the cemetery with my mom. It felt right. And beautiful and calming. And the morning Arrine and I were getting ready to leave for Saskatchewan, this is what Arrine said to me, “Alby was in my dream. And he got all better and he came back to life and he was in the house again.” And a tear left my eye and I hugged her, and I knew what I had done, and was doing, was right.

I love Arrine’s visions… And I love Alby and I miss him dearly.