Monday, February 20, 2017

another new resident at the rainbow bridge

Unfortunately this past week we had to say an unexpected goodbye to Felix.

Felix was 16 years old and we've had him since 2002.  I came home from work one day and saw a cat in the bushes next to the house. I called him out thinking it was my cat, Sam, as Felix looked exactly like him. When he got up on the porch, however, I realized it wasn't Sam.  No matter. I started petting him, as he was incredibly friendly and really enjoyed the petting. Me being me, I decided to feed him and the rest is history.

Wednesday night he came into the family room and went under the coffee table where he collapsed and started panting hard. Since we didn't see him collapse, only heard it, we thought he'd been playing and overdid it. We watched him for a few minutes and decided to wait a bit before deciding if he needed to go to the emergency vet. When he got up, however, it was clear it was his time. He was trying to walk, but his lower body was completely paralyzed and he was dragging himself across the floor. He then started looking around and dragging himself over to the TV stand, which told us he knew something was very wrong and he was in pain. We quickly decided that whatever the issue was, it wasn't good and that it was time to put him down. Had this been a younger cat, we may have decided to have him checked out to figure out the problem and do treatment, but Felix was 16 years old and we knew any treatments for something like this would likely be unsuccessful or would, at the least, provide no long-term benefit. So, I called the emergency vet and told them to expect us within a half hour.

Felix meowed and panted most of the way to the vet.  When we got there they asked if we wanted him to be examined or if we'd made "the decision." I told them we'd made the decision to put him down. They took Felix in back and brought us into an examining room. As we were walking back I noticed that they lit a candle and dimmed the lights. The plaque next to the candle said that if the candle was lit, someone was saying their final goodbye to their loved one; I thought that was nice.

While we waited for him to be brought in--they had to shave his paw and insert the catheter--they walked us through our choices:  cremation with ashed returned, general cremation with no return of ashes, or home burial. Normally we would choose home burial, but with a foot of snow on the ground, we decided to have him cremated and bring the ashes home. We'll bury his ashes near the garden once the ground thaws.

And then it was time. We explained what had happened to the doctor and she immediately knew what the issue was:  a blot clot had broken apart and lodged in his abdominal artery, which caused the lower body paralysis. She assured us that it was very painful for Felix, that it's not fixable, he would have had underlying heart disease, and that we're doing the right thing. I was so grateful she said that. Up until that point we were still doubting ourselves as to whether we were making the right decision; it's so hard to know since cats hide pain very well. She asked if we'd like time alone with him. We wanted the extra time, but Felix was becoming really stressed so we told her to go ahead and administer the drugs. And that was it. We spent a few minutes with him afterwards and said our goodbyes. I couldn't stop touching his paws. They felt so soft and I just wanted to keep touching them.

Felix was such a friendly cat and truly loved affection (unlike my other bums). He purred very loudly.  I'll miss him hanging out in the spare bedroom or at the bottom of the stairs each morning, waiting for someone to get up and feed him. Him and his one remaining tooth (he had to have most teeth out a few years ago).  Hopefully he's met up with all my other kitties that have crossed the bridge and they're having the time of their lives. Goodbye, Felix. We love you and will miss you! (And I hope you have a full set of choppers once again. 😸)

Felix in 2002, shortly after we took him in.

1 comment:

  1. There really are no words for times like these. I'm so sorry this happened. I am so glad for your Felix that he found you and was so loved by you for so many years.

    My vet always says to me that it is a kindness we are doing for our much loved pets. Having chickens this is a decision I have to make more often than I would like, and in fact so often recently I have thought about not owning more chooks in the future. However as I type this I can hear my girls out in the yard making that we found a treat happy trumpeting sound and I would never take back the myriad of happy moments they bring me just so I did not have to go through that temporary pain when it is time to let them go.

    *hugs* to you and yours.