So long……Old friend.

On Friday night we said goodbye to our beloved, Maine Coon, Zar. It just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t write him some kind of epitaph. A send off and a tribute to him and the extraordinary character that he was.

His real name was Balthazar, a character from Shakespeare, but we always called him Zar.

Zar wasn’t an ordinary cat and we learnt that pretty early on. We rescued him 15 years ago, my kids were 3 and 9 at the time. They haven’t known a life without him in it. Driving home from the shelter the kids and I agreed he would be an indoor cat. Definitely an indoor cat. It was on night one, when I was chasing him around the apartment complex we lived in, at 3am, in

my nightie, that I realized he wasn’t just an average cat. It was then we decided he would be an indoor and outdoor cat. From that night on he bossed us all around, daily, and he ruled the roost and we all knew it. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So long, Old friend.

Zar lived to the ripe old age of 18. Not many cats make it to that age. What a truly amazing life he had with us and what a privilege it was to have him as part of our family. He really brought so much joy to our lives and he made us laugh every single day. You can’t measure or put a price on that kind of love.

So long, old friend.

Zar came on 5 house moves with us. Every place we lived in, the neighbors all knew him, fed him and loved him. He would regularly go into other peoples homes, like it was something all cats did. Even though he got fed morning and night at home. Even people that didn’t like cats, loved him. That’s the sort of cat he was.

So long, old friend.

Food was his currency! His favorite thing in the world were cheese twisties. He was also known to eat bbq shapes. You could open a packet of cheese twisties and he would be miles away and he would come running. Every single day he got fed first before anyone else, including the humans.

Otherwise he would drive you insane. He would sit next to you no matter what you were eating and he would constantly tap you on your arm and dig his claws in until you gave him some. Whether it was some Vegemite off your toast or some porridge on your finger, he would let you know he was the boss and he wanted some.

So long , old friend.

On the first house move we moved to the other side of the apartment complex, from number 1 to number 54. We didn’t even put him in a cat carrier, we just walked him across the street. I am so grateful that he got to move to the country with us. He spent his last 4 years here and he absolutely loved it here. He would lay in our front yard and watch the cows in the paddocks across from our driveway. He would lay in his favorite spots in the garden and just watch the world go by. He would get swooped by our resident magpies, regularly.

So long, old friend.

In his younger years, on Friday and Saturday nights I would often have friends over and we would be drinking. We would get the munchies late at night and walk down to the petrol station at the end of the street, on Melton Highway. Zar would come for a walk with us, wait outside the petrol station, while we went inside to get food and then he would walk back with us. Like it was something all cats did.

So long, old friend.

In his younger years he weighed 10 kilos. People walking past would often stop to admire him. He was so majestic! I often heard: “That isn’t a cat!!” We would nod in agreement knowing full well he wasn’t a typical moggy.

So long, old friend.

We had to buy a small dog crate for him because he wouldn’t fit in a normal cat carrier. One time he ran into our neighbors garage and was trapped in there for two days. Despite our desperate search for him. The external door to the garage had a cat flap but he couldn’t fit through it. We also had a cat castle at one stage, he would sit on top of that thing and he was “The King of the castle.” Until he tried to go in the tunnel attached to it, he got stuck and Jack had to pull him out.

So long, old friend.

Zar was never sick a day in his life, but this last year he was starting to struggle.

The last couple of years I would give him organic coconut oil off my finger every morning. He couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve been keeping the coconut oil industry in business. I truly believe it helped him.

So long, old friend.

This past month I could see he was struggling and he was tired. I knew the end was near and I think he did too. Thursday night he slept cuddled up to me and then moved onto the pillow next to me. Which seemed like the perfect way to spend our last night together.

So long, old friend.

Friday night I went into the room with Zar and held his paw while I said my last goodbye. I thanked him for the privilege of 15 years and told him how much we loved him. He went to sleep peacefully, while I sobbed my heart out.

So long, old friend.

Zar truly had an amazing life with us. He was the funniest, laziest cat. We have so many beautiful memories of him.

Saying goodbye to him hurt like a bitch.

We brought him home and buried him in our front yard. The house doesn’t feel the same without him and their appears to be a massive void in our very broken hearts.

To everyone else you were just a cat, to us you meant the world.

So long, old friend.

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