Artoo is really slowing down, but I think he's too stubborn to die without a fight. Last night, I thought, "This is it," because he'd go into deep a slumber, and barely respond to my touch. "I'll let him die in peace," I'd say, rub his head. Later, he'd get up and move to some other place in the bedroom. I still don't think he's in pain, because I was able to pick him up and wipe him down with a soapy cloth yesterday, and he didn't show signs of any trauma... except slowly trying to get away from the evil sink. That's always been his method of getting away; slowly, even when he was kitten and I gave him a flea bath. "If I move slowly... they won't detect me..." He ended up on people's laps the same way. Maybe that's his approach to death, "If I move slowly, the reaper won't know I've disappeared..."
Storm is already trying to take his place. She's been a lot more friendly and tolerant of me. I am not sure what Storm's political position is in the house, I only know that as a kitten, she was real friendly, but then we went away for a week, and when we got back, she didn't want anything to do with people at all. This lasted for almost 5 years. Then she started being more friendly, and the other cats started hating her for some reason. I am not sure if they hated her so she attached to us, or attached to us, which made them hate her... or some other subtle feline political move on her part. Storm is kind of nuts. But I'll take her. She's 7, and when Artoo leaves, she'll be the eldest. I don't think Cosmo likes that, but he's in CR's room half of the time, and has interrupted political power. Imagine a dictator who randomly vanishes, especially during prime political coup hours (for cats, nights). I suspect Storm will now be matriarch of the house, a position that hasn't been filled since Pookie unexpectedly died five years ago.
Thisby? She's still scared of everything. Thisby and Artoo never really communicated positively or negatively, so I doubt his passing will have any deep impact on her. Ahfu and Widget haven't changed behavior at all. Ahfu seemed to understand Pookie's and Oreo's passing, and even recognized Oreo's ashes, so I think dogs know what death is, but they don't play the same political games as cats.
My breathing is much improved this morning. There's still wheezing, but it's a lot less.