Popping his head out of his suite, Sky gives a wizened impression, a skin-and-bones shadow of his former self.
Still, the tabby from Nanyang Technological University would meow, as if to beckon volunteers to pet him, before hopping out in search of his favourite cardboard box.
Ten-year-old Sky has seen a lot, living smack in the middle of two-storey dormitories on the NTU campus. Through territorial battles, dog fights, and the constant bustle of students each academic year, Sky was always there, an approachable figure that students and residents would pet. He often hung out in a corner with his neighbour, Bushy, watching students rush by.
Age caught up to Sky, however. He was first diagnosed with chronic kidney failure back in April, after he was admitted to the vet with pancreatitis and a bout of flu. Sky was a fighter – never giving up despite being syringe-fed and put on an IV drip at the vet – and when he got well enough, Sky was admitted to our cattery for long-term care.
When he was first admitted to the cattery, Sky was barely given a month to live. But he fought on, and we grew used to his calming presence and charming meow. The gentle ‘uncle’ would reach out whenever he wanted some scratches or hugs, and the volunteers would oblige. Sky was also well-loved at our regular vet, where he charmed the nurses with his unique meow.
Despite protests, Sky would let volunteers give him medicine and subcutaneous fluids. Still, Sky’s patience had its limits; he would smack Wudi when Wudi got all up in his personal space.
Perhaps used to getting table scraps from students, Sky would often eye the volunteers’ food on the occasions when they ordered takeout to the cattery. He would sit near their chairs and give them his best puppy-eyed looks in the hopes that they would spare some food.
Sky also liked to spend time alone in his cardboard box, especially after his subcut session, or if there was too much activity around him. At times, distracted by what was going on, we would forget where he was until we opened his favourite box!
On Sunday (October 6), two months past his one-month prognosis, Sky was found to be wobbly and unstable. Although he could barely stand, Sky was still very much alert, howling loudly as our volunteers rushed him to Mount Pleasant.
The vet found that Sky was severely anemic and hypothermic, and very weak. He was put on a drip and a heating pad, which granted us some time to give the people who loved Sky a chance to see him one last time, That way, all that Sky would remember was that he was well-loved, even in his final moments.
Sky fell asleep in our arms on Monday night, surrounded by people who loved and cared for him with all their hearts, till the very end.