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Eli's mother (Lauren) and I (Ryan) first met Eli in late October/early September of 2006. We picked him from his litter because of his personality- he was the most laid back of the kittens. We were able to bring him home in January of 2007, when he was about 3 months old.

From the moment we brought him home, he changed our lives. Our older female bengal (Emma), was about two years older than Eli and one of the most stand-offish cats I've ever had. At first she did not know what to think of this little bundle of fur. She growled, hissed, and swiped at him. Eli didn't skip a beat. He walked around her, with his tail held high (as it always was), his curiosity about his new home overcoming his fear of this strange, angry cat.

Emma's anxiety towards this new little bundle of fur soon turned to love. She took it on herself to care for him as a mother would, even though Emma has never had kittens of her own. She groomed him, slept next to him, and when he was distressed she would attempt to pin him down and then carry him by the nape of his neck. She even chewed off all of his whiskers, a behavior I had never seen before, but have since read is not uncommon between mother cats and their babies.

Eli and I also became inseparable as well. He never was a lap cat, and didn't even like to sleep on my bed with me, but he insisted on knowing where I was at every moment. When I took a shower, he sat outside and cried (which caused Emma to come running and cry even louder), until I opened the shower doors and let him come in. Even as a kitten, Eli loved water more than I have ever seen any cat love water.

As he grew older, he grew into the most beautiful and handsome little bengal boy. Emma took care to raise him correctly, and his personality reflected Emma's gentle touch.

Eli continued to love to spend time with Lauren and I, always wanting to be with us (although not necessarily right next to us). Eli would follow me from room to room just so he knew what I was doing. Whenever someone in the house turned on water in a sink or got ice cubes from the freezer, our little boy would come running. He loved water. He'd paw at it, drink it, play with it.

As Eli's illness took over, our options became fewer and fewer. The last few nights he was with us, he slept on our bed; something he NEVER did. I think he liked the warmth and the companionship. Emma stayed with him, and groomed him as his energy faded from him.

Yesterday we made the most difficult decision I have made. We decided to accept the fact that the only thing we could do for our sweet boy was to end his discomfort. We stayed with him until the very end, and even afterwards. We cried, we held each other, we petted the soft furry body that once held such a vibrant soul.

I don't know what comes after this life, but I hope with all of my being that we will be reunited again. Wait for me, son. I will find you again.

  Chico, California, United States
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Memorial Added 10/14/2011
Memorial Updated 10/15/2011
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