I didn't think about writing this until I read Neil's post about his cat Zoe. I wanted to share our story, so here's what I sent:
Mom's cat, Jack, recently passed. He was 18 and had been going downhill, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but he was the stronger of the two, the scrapper, so we figured he'd be the last one to go.
Besides the loss of a dear friend that is a common thread, I also wanted to share Jack's story because his coloring was much like Zoe's (I always thought of it as a cross between Siamese & raccoon), but Jack also went blind in the last 6 months of his life.
Jack and his brother Yellow had been found by the woman who sold my parents their land. She was old and ill and only lived in the back two rooms of her house, leaving the rest to whoever chewed their way in. She fed the strays & barncats of the neighborhood and took a liking to the batch of kittens at her door. Unfortunately, her mean Chihuahuas did not. They were so mean to Jack that we loaned a toybox turned rabbit cage for him to stay in.
Spending a bit of his kittenhood (until both he & Yellow came to live with us) in a cage gave Jack a good-sized temper. We've seen him chase deer off the property more than once. When I was a teenager, he liked to launch through the air, landing securely with his claws in my thighs - but only when I was on the phone. Both cats went out as they pleased, less often at night after the coyotes got bad, and hunted and fought quite a bit.
As he aged, Jack mellowed and demanded much lap time and brushing from Mom. It was quite upsetting to see him circle in corners, trying to find his way about, near the end. And though it was not a total surprise, he is quite missed.