Gandalf the Grey crossed to the Bridge today. Some people speak of their heart kitty or their soul kitty. Gandalf was both to me. People have come and gone in my life, but Gandalf has been there for almost 18 1/2 years, my longest companion. When he was younger he had such a zest for life. I felt bad cooping him up in an apartment for the first 7 years of his life. He climbed down off my 2 story deck once! He would sit in the window and talk and talk even though there were hardly any birds to watch. He talked to me, a beautiful sing-song cacophony of vocalizations. Fortunately I had the resources to buy a small farm with a big house and he learned to go outside and wander. He had big windows to watch birds out of and occasionally a mouse or rabbit to catch outside. He was always vocal and would let me know when he wanted something. http://s5.photobucket.com/albums/y161/FindingNeo/?action=view¤t=CIMG0450-1.mp4 When he became diabetic in January of '05 I knew I would do whatever it took to help him, although it was a struggle to manage his insulin shots. I blindly followed inappropriate advice (insulin once a day, increasing dose as his symptoms increased, high carb food which would stay in the gut longer to supposedly even out BGs) and I watched a healthy 18 lb cat drop to nearly 12 lbs. in 3 months. In April that year I found FDMB and learned what I needed to do. He got better and luckily never suffered ketones, although he had pancreatitis several times the past couple years, his only complication from diabetes. He survived thyroid surgery almost 3 years ago to remove a rare parathyroid tumor, one of only 2 cats the University of IL vet hospital ever treated for that in 10 years. He was the only 1 to survive, in fact, and last year they asked if they could evaluate him for a research study on those tumors. I suppose his case is written in a veterinary journal somewhere. If not, then his 6 1/2 years as a diabetic is his claim to fame because what I learned from his experience has helped me help others and I am grateful for that. I am also grateful to the people here who helped me help him live 6 full years as an FD. In the end, it was not the diabetes which shortened his life - I always expected him to live to 20 or older. He had unusually slow breathing - I could almost match my breaths with his when he would lie beside me at night, purring himself and me to sleep. So he must have had a huge, strong heart. Indeed he did. Even yesterday when a rainbow appeared out my back deck he wanted to go outside. He could barely walk and it took him a couple stops to get there. He pressed his head against the glass and I knew I had to allow him a few moments outside. The rainbow was already gone by then, but it was as if he knew it was for him. He will always be my Goober Buddy, my Bud Bud. Gandalf, I will never forget you and I hope your predecessor, Grey Ghost, finds you at the Bridge to share stories and show you around. I'm sure there's lots of green grass to lie in, maybe even a mouse to catch. And some day I know I'll find myself at the Oak Tree where all the Bridge FD kitties carve the names of their caregivers. You only ever climbed the cat tree I made for you, but I suspect I'll have to look way up top for my name. "Momma." Good night, my gorgeous boy. I'll miss you forever, but one huge paw will always be over my heart and the other will dip in my soul.