Rassilon and Linda

Rassilon, the cat, is approaching the end of his time with owner and reporter Linda Provost.

If any of you have talked to me more than twice, you know I love my cat Rassilon. I've written whole columns about how he saved me from my depression in college.

I unashamedly love my cat.

So it makes what has been going on very hard. Rassilon, I fear, is approaching the rainbow bridge.

It started a few months ago when he wouldn't stop drooling. Now, as a main coon mix, he was already kind of drooly - good skritches and naps were the main triggers.

However, this was different, a near constant flow.

I took him to the vet the first time. The vet doesn’t really know what’s going on but said he has a bug bite in his mouth. The vet gave antibiotics and a steroid shot.

A few weeks go by with less drool, but something still is not right - now Rassilon won't eat hard food, only wet.

I finally get his mouth open (yes, he bit me) and see his tongue is swollen and near purple.

Trip two to the vet and he now thinks it is a common autoimmune disease that cats can get. Basically, they hurt their tongue and now their body keeps trying to "heal it” even though it is healed.

He gives him another steroid shot.

That helped a bunch and for about four months he seemed better.

Cue a few weeks ago - I realize he has mats in his fur because he can't lick himself properly. I cut out the mats, up his brushing schedule and get cat shampoo.

It improves but during a busy time at work, I didn't have time to do his grooming. My house is covered in more fur than ever.

Upon closer inspection, Rassilon is now losing patches of fur. I can even see his "prison tat" — an ID number from the OKC shelter — on his thigh.

He is always hungry. He is losing fur and he now looks homeless. But he is still my most handsome boy.

Now he is getting spoiled — more than he already was. He wants wet food? He's got it. He wants a lick of ice cream? Have two. He falls asleep on my expensive suit? I'll wear something else.

I have always wanted to get him taxidermized when he passes but with him looking so rough I don't know if I want to preserve him like that.

His is the face that was in my face when I sat on my kitchen floor with a knife to my wrists because I couldn't take it. He stopped me from taking my life.

His was the face that licked my tears as I cried in my dorm thinking I would never get out from under the water and breathe fresh air again.

His is the face that purred all night after mom died.

He is the first I told when I met my husband. He is the first to see me in my wedding dress.

He was the one I first told I was pregnant, and the first to know I miscarried.

He is usually the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing at night. He is my silent, furry shadow.

He is my first baby, my best love and my sweet Rassilon.

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