Alyssa (1989 - 2001)
Alyssa was a purebred ragdoll cat whose life began in a cattery. Unfortunately, this cattery was more interested in having kittens for sale than the well-being of their animals.
My wife and her mother rescued Alyssa from the cattery when she was about four as she was very tiny and only able to produce one or two kittens per litter. By this time, most of Alyssa's teeth had fallen out and she had a deep wheeze from sleeping in her tiny litter lined cage. I met Alyssa when I started dating my wife-to-be. She had another roomate, a diabetic male cat named Sox, but she was content to play on her own.
Right off the bat, she adopted me. There were times when I would crash on the wife-to-be's couch and I would wake up to find Alyssa curled up around my head or on my chest or simply laying on the back of the sofa nearby. This was a habit that she kept after we were married. Alyssa would sleep on my pillow curled up around my head.
She was always a wheezy kitty, but in the fall of 2001, her wheezing became worse. I was travelling for work when my wife called to let me know that Alyssa was hiding more and more and that her breathing seemed more laboured.
She took Alyssa to the VET the next day, and was given the bad news. Alyssa's breathing was laboured because her lungs were filling up with fluid. He told her that this was not a condition that Alyssa would ever recover from. She told me that night that they let Alyssa cross to the Rainbow Bridge that morning. For several, days, Smudge, Alyssa's adopted brother, searched the house for her and then he stopped. I like to think she came back to let him know that she was okay