First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have expressed condolences and left heartfelt messages. It provides some much-needed comfort.
Today, I want to relate an anecdote which relates to Dante's life and his passing.
Maine Coons are very intelligent cats, and Dante was a good representative of his breed. He knew more English than the average pussycat. This I know because of my other two cats who didn't respond to language as he did.
One concept that Dante knew was "home". On every visit to the vet he would howl most of the way there in the car, but became quite calm and cooperative once we arrived. Sometimes he was there for a technician's appointment if he needed bloodwork, various other tests, or in later years the occasional enema.
One lady technician in particular was quite enamoured of Dante, and I mentioned to her that he knows what it means when you tell him he's "going home". So that very day she spoke those words to Dante when the procedure was finished, and she told me he stepped right up and into her arms so she could carry him back to us in the waiting room.
On the day of Dante's passing, this same technician was in the room, her eyes filled with tears and she recounted this same story, and said every time she had finished whatever needed be done when she told him he was "going home", he always stepped forward.
However, on this day Dante was to "go home" in the infinite sense. Whenever he knew he was going home in the car, he never made a sound of complaint, and this day was no different. His passage home was so gentle; just like his nature.