I'm so sorry Thom and Louise that you lost your little friend Higgins. He sounds wonderful, and he went out purring and in the arms of two who loved him.
I've lost a couple dear friends and there was always a last "purr", a period where they said goodbye. My 19-year friend Jewel slept on my head one of her last nights. My Ebony followed me from room to room even when walking was painful for her and she couldn't keep up, so I'd scoop her up and carry her in one arm while doing housework with the other. They do know they're getting ready to take that journey, and they tell us they love us one last time.
I'm glad you had all those years and smiles with Higgins. He was a brave soul who survived a rough beginning and went on to have a great life. Thank you for sharing his last little rumble.