On Thursday night, Gary and I had to make the horrible decision to put our beloved cat, Buddy, to sleep. It was one of the most painful decisions we’ve ever had to make. That evening, we noticed Buddy wasn’t walking very well. He was shot with a shotgun, long before we adopted him, and had buckshot in his rear end. So, he always walked a little stiff, but he couldn’t seem to put any pressure on his right hind leg/foot and his left hind leg/foot was sort of dragging as well. We took him to the emergency vet hospital where the doctors ran tests and discovered he had a blood clot. The vet presented us with some options.
The first option was to bring him to a specialist in Boston that night and that they would do a procedure on him that she estimated only had less than a 25% chance to work on cats with compromised immune systems (like Buddy). And even if the procedure DID work, it was likely that he would suffer another clot. The procedure was expensive ($3,000-$5,000), but money is never any object to me when it comes to my cats. However, Buddy hates to travel even a few miles, and I knew the stress of the car ride to Boston (after all the stress he had already been through) would be really tough on him. He would have been afraid, probably thinking that we were taking him to another shelter or leaving him somewhere other than home. I couldn’t bear to know he was so afraid in what could have been his last moments.
There was a Warfarin procedure they could do at the local vet office to prevent other clots from forming, but that would do nothing for the clots that were already there and Buddy would have likely had to have had an amputation. He would have also most likely suffered other clots within a very short time. The doctor said it wasn’t uncommon for additional, and potentially more painful clots, to form within less than 6 months.
Being FIV+, and not exactly a healthy FIV+ cat like my other two cats are, the doctor said his chances were slim for living a good life beyond this particular episode. She then told us a reasonable option would be euthanasia, and that both she, and most likely cardiologists and specialists who examined him, would likely make the same suggestion.
Buddy has been through a lot: being shot with a shotgun, having surgery to remove his tail because of it, still having shotgun shell in his rear end which made it stiff for him to walk. He had also formed anemia, had chronic diarrhea, and had a mouth full of ulcers (common in FIV+ cats) that we were doing our best to treat daily with antibiotics. He hadn’t been eating quite as well lately, so my guess is that he had some other things going on–or maybe he knew something we didn’t. He had been a bit more ornery and grumbly in the past weeks, and just not as social as he was before. Still sweet, but not totally himself.
I thought about his chances, about all he had been through, and about how I didn’t want him to be stressed or afraid anymore. I thought about doing the procedure in Boston, in the hopes that it would save him. But then I realized I was being selfish, and that the kind thing to do would be to make him comfortable and help him with his transition over the Rainbow Bridge.
So that’s what we chose for him. He went very peacefully, and in the arms of his Momma, who loved him so much. His Daddy was right there next to him, petting his head. He was privately cremated and we got the ashes and a little tuft of his fur, which will always be a part of our home. I know he will always be a part of our hearts.
I work at a local Humane Society, but I couldn’t bear to go to work on Friday or this weekend. It would have been too tough. I have been nonstop crying, as I’m doing now typing this blog. I can’t even sleep without taking sleeping pills. While I know I made the right decision, I am second-guessing myself because I miss him so much. I hope that guilt passes. I pray I made the right decision.
When I say there was never a cat like Buddy, I mean it. And there never will be a cat like Buddy ever again. He truly was a character–he just had so much personality. They truly broke the mold when they made Buddy! He had a perfect mix of complete kindness and sweetness with a nice bit of “don’t eff with me” thrown in there. He didn’t meow–he either grumbled or made this very wildcat type sound. He liked to lay on me when I was laying on the sofa, get as close to my face as possible, and then sneeze. He loved his yummies (wet food) and grocery day–when he knew he would get to split a few slices of deli turkey with Leon and Bruno.
He only lived with us for a year and a half. We wish so desperately that he had more time with us. But he was so well-loved while he was here. It’s been a couple of days now and I still can’t stop crying. I miss him more than words can say. I know a lot of people say, “Get over it–it’s just a cat.” Well, if you think that, then nothing I can say will change your mind. To pet lovers, they are family. Scratch that–you see them more often than you see a lot of your family members. They are MORE than family. Gary and I aren’t having children, so for us, they ARE our kids. Our cats love us unconditionally. We don’t get into fights with our pets. They never forget us for bigger and better things–we ARE their ‘bigger and better things.’ They run to the door to greet us when we come home. They never judge us or make fun of us. Much more than I can say for the majority of humans out there. So, if you don’t understand the love of a pet, or if you don’t understand how much I’m grieving over the loss of mine, well…let’s just say that someday, I hope you open your heart enough to adopt a pet and understand that unconditional love. Because it’s amazing.
We have two other cats, which makes things a bit easier. They are getting extra love.
Hug your four-legged friends a little closer today. And your two-legged loved ones, too, for that matter. You never know when you’ll have to say goodbye.
Buddy, I miss you so much. Momma loves you. I know we will see each other again.For those who are not familiar, the Rainbow Bridge poem is below. It is a poem derived from Norse Legend, and I like to think it’s true.
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.