We said goodbye to our last cat, Charlie, today. He was 18 years old, but having been born in our kitchen all those years ago, we've always thought of him as the, and our, baby. Certainly not old enough to have cancer and kidney failure. Certainly not old enough to pass away. At one time, until just a few years ago, we had 4 cats. That's 4 cats in the car moving to Seattle - 4 cats living in a succession of small apartments! Imagine all the litter scooping!! Then for a while, it was 3 cats and Rain, who learned early on that the cats were the boss. Period. Since all of the cats were around the same age, it was inevitable that they would grow old together and they did. We lost Max, our one-eyed wonder, 2 years ago in the spring. Then last year it was Terr, our oldest and dearest, and very close to my husband. Now Charlie. Charlie was "my cat" - he loved me unreasonably, even when I kicked him out of the bed in the middle of the night, and he always had purrs for me no matter what. Today we sat in the sun together and though I knew he was feeling sick and weak, he purred for me. I like to think that his last month, aside from his illness, was a good one. He finally had a yard to explore and hang out in, he got to spend lots of time with Rain who he loved, and he got to follow the sun around the house, basking until his fur was too hot to touch. Though we don't plan to have cats again for a long while, I hope that we did right by all of them and gave them the best lives that they could have asked for. They certainly couldn't have been loved more. And they couldn't have loved us more. Goodbye sweet Charlie, Terr, Max and Tali. We love you long time.