Well, it wasn't years. Or months. Or even weeks.
Freddie didn't respond to medication. He just got worse. His breathing became more laboured, one of his legs swelled up with oedema, and he struggled to even lie down comfortably. So last Monday we made the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep.
It's sometimes hard to explain to people who aren't 'animal types' just how hard it is to lose a pet. People think it's daft to say they're part of your family, but they are. Freddie was like a baby to me, and I loved him. Seeing him suffering was the most heart-wrenching experience I've ever been through, and letting him go was just as bad.
Our time together was all too short, but here are some of the things I'll remember about Freddie. The way he used to purr for ages after you'd stroked him. How much he loved being cuddled. His inquisitive nature - I once walked into our bedroom to see his tail poking out of our canvas wardrobe, I tried to tell him off but it was so cute I couldn't manage it. When I was off work ill, laid on the sofa almost unable to move, and he came and cuddled up with me. The way he used to sleep on the back of the sofa and he would slowly sink down until he was resting on your head. The way he loved being groomed. His ability to recognise a milk bottle - and how he would chase you if you walked around carrying one. Dipping his paw in an almost-empty cup of tea so he could have the dregs. How he was always at the door when I came in from work. His beautiful face, like a barn owl. Him and Millie chasing each other about like kittens. How he used to take up well over half of the bed we bought for the two of them.
All these things I want to remember, and I will. We had him for two months, and the last three or four weeks he was not the cat we first got because of his illness, but at least we had those first few weeks. He was part of our family, and will not be forgotten.