F.P. Murray Fuzzcat was a pure-bred Persian born to champions, bred by my sister (a veterinarian in California) to show or sell. His nose was deemed "too large" at birth, so she gave him to me, for mere room and board. Later in life, my sister would inspect him and reverse her decision -- he had "grown into" his nose and could have been a champion, had I not already taken his manhood. (Thom-hood?) I didn't have any interest in going to cat-shows with my little guy, but it made me feel good to know that the blood of champions throbbed through his veins.
When a cat dies you understand that most people, while being able to empathize with your pain, won't actually give a crap themselves. Murray didn't work for world peace. He built no homes for orphans, and his response to the Hurricane Katrina was indifference. He was a cat.
But, still. There are lives he touched, especially mine. My only memory of Murray is purring. He was the purriest cat I have ever known. Years ago I would take business conference calls in bed when major clients wanted to chat at 7AM and I wanted to sleep until noon -- I would lie there with my cell phone talking with captains of industry while Murray sat on my chest and purred at me. One time a vice-president for McGraw-Hill interrupted the conference call and interjected, "Wil, are you on a motorboat?" I shit you not.
When I was sad, Murray would lick my ears. When I was saddest, I would wake up and he'd be stretched out beside me, and his little paw would be resting in mine. When I'd wake up he'd sit up and purr at me, from just out of reach. I used to play chicken with him, and sit there staring at him and see how long he'd continue purring before I had to pet him. I'd always give up and give him a scratch before he stopped purring.
Murray had great taste in women, and I trusted his judgment on which ones to date. Upon first meeting Murray, one of my favorite lovers remarked, "You are just a little lover, aren't you?" She honestly loved Murray more than me, I think, and I honestly understand why.
Murray was a gentle soul. If I threw him in the bath for poopy-butt he'd just meow forlornly and try to leave -- I never got scratched by him so that it bled. He was so gentle with his claws that I would frequently forget he had them at all, and not clip them for years at a time, and then one day I'd notice they'd grown inches long and curved all the way around like the stereotypical wizened asian wizard.
Murray was 18 years old, and his kidneys were in advanced failure. There is no cure except an experimental surgery which transplants kidneys from a young, healthy cat into my ancient one. I could not justify that in my head. Over the last two days he suddenly got much sicker, and I finally realized he was done.
As I held him in the vet's office, they gave him a sedative and then the poison. I put my ear up to his nose so I could hear his breathing, and so he could smell earwax, which he really did love. I stroked his throat and with each little exhale I could feel the tiny rattle of a faint purr -- the last purrs he had in him had to come out.
My last words to him were, "Thank you, little guy."