This is Precious. We got her way back in 1994 when I was very young. She was very devoted to my mom and would barely have anything to do with me. But we both loved her. She knew how to snuggle. When Mom had her picked up, Precious would let down her guard and be sweet to both of us. All the while being a ferocious fighter who wouldn't take any flak from me. She was full of all the stand-off-ness cats usually demonstrate, but I never thought of her as a cat. Precious was my little sister, a constant while I was growing up.
A few years ago, we had a major health scare with her. She wouldn't eat or drink and barely used the litter box. We faced a whole week of dread not knowing if we were going to wake up and find that she hadn't. It was a straight-up miracle that Precious began eating again that Friday. We were so glad to have another chance with her. It even got to the point where I could pick her up and hold her, sometimes for minutes at a time (I waited two solid decades and it was worth every day).
But while she stuck with us, we knew it was just a reprieve. Eventually, she would get ill again, and it would stick. And she declined, thankfully slowly, but noticeably. Sometimes requiring encouragement just to eat a bite, sometimes turning her nose up at multiple bowls before we found the one she can stomach that day. And always covered in clumps of fur where she couldn't groom herself anymore.
This weekend, we hit another episode where Precious couldn't do anything to stay healthy. She was still awake and active, but nothing short of surgery would have helped, and how many 24-year-old cats recover from that? And for how long?
So we made the difficult choice to have her put to sleep. Precious is gone. My little sister is gone from this world. She's no longer suffering and she's in a better place. We miss her terribly, but we're so grateful for every year she stayed with us.