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Making preparations and arrangements

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

First, please accept my sincere condolences to everyone who has recently--or not so recently--suffered a loss. I can only send you my warmest thoughts and best wishes in this sad time.

Second, if this is an inappropriate area of the forum for this post, would a moderator please move it to the best place?

My name is Daniel, and I live in Chicago. I guess I found my way to this forum a few years ago, but this is my first visit in awhile.

It actually took me a long time to stop avoiding the subject, and start looking for advice, suggestions, and information regarding making final preparations for our dear old friend, Simon, who is 17 years old. It breaks my heart to pieces, but I've had a nagging feeling lately that now is the time to start making all the appropriate arrangements so that when his time comes, everything will be ready. I don't have anything concrete to go on, but Simon's very, very old now

Damn, it's hard--really hard--writing that. I'm really a bit overwhelmed with emotion right now.

Growing up, of course, I had pets pass away, but there's a big yard at my parents' house where we could could give our friends a nice burial. Now that I'm all grown up and live in a big city, things don't seem as simple. My partner and I live in an apartment, so there's no way we can simply bury Simon when he passes away. Furthermore, even though Simon has been our cat for many years, he's been my partner's cat since he was just a kitten. When the time comes, Kyle will be devastated--we both will--so I want to make sure that everything is arranged now to make things go more smoothly.

I was thinking of arranging and pre-paying for a cremation, so we can take his ashes and scatter them somewhere where Simon's grand old soul can explore and be free, and so we can say goodbye one last time. But I don't even know where to begin, so I'm reaching out to everyone who's been in this situation for advice and help.

Of course, he could still be with us for a good few more years, but Simon really is our wonderful friend, a faithful companion, a grumpy old man, a kind old soul, and he deserves to have the very best when it's time for him to leave us for that final adventure--I always come home and ask him if he's had any adventures, and he tells me all about them!

I don't know if any of this makes much sense or not, but I could sure do with some words of advice.

Thanks to anyone and everyone who's read this far--I really do appreciate it.

post #2 of 61
I just lost 2 Cats. One on Dec 5th and the other Jan 11. We had them Creamated and they are in felt Bags. The price was 225 Each. I also have my Patches in a Pet Cemetery that is a very nice place. I was thinking when she died because it was so fast. I also have a Cat that will be 16 this Month or next Month. I am scared like you because she is old. You can call your Vet and they can make plans before. I hope your Cat gets older.
post #3 of 61

I would talk to your vet. They probably know tons of local resources that you can look into. That would be where I would start.

I like the idea of taking the ashes from cremation and spreading them somewhere. That is what I plan on doing in the future (hopefully a long time from now). I just can't seem to think of where I would want to do it, it's not like my cats have favorite outdoor-spots (they are indoor-only). I think I would settle on somewhere scenic.

It sounds like Simon is lucky to have a home with parents that care so much about him.

post #4 of 61
I would either check into a pet cemetary in your area and buy a plot, or think about cremation. You can talk about either of those options with your vet who probably has knowledge of both. My vet asked me if I wanted mine buried in the pet cemetary. There is at least one cat on here that is 21 years old, so you maybe lucky and have your kitty for years to come! I think the worlds oldest kitty was 37?? Not quite sure on that, but they have been known to live a long time! I would check into both those options just so you're prepared on both. Also, you can go to a site called the RainbowBridge that sells things that are appropriate for a burial of your beloved friend. Proper coffins, made of Oak, for a cat the coffins are 45 dollars and it comes with a headstone (not one I would use personally, because I dont think its made of stone or anything long lasting) But there is packages there if you want to check into them! Im praying you and your kitty have years to come before facing that awfull day!
post #5 of 61
What a sad thread But it's a subject that unfortunately needs to be thought about at some point.

I've already left instructions in my will on what needs to happen if my cats go after me because i need to know that everything will be done how i want it.

I hope Simon has many more years with you both, but at least when the time comes by planning it can take a little of the stress and strain away
post #6 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the feedback and suggestions, everyone--I really do appreciate it. I'll go down to the vet's office and see what she has to say.

(Of course, as an aside, sometimes I get the impression that some vets care more about the money than the animals, and I'm almost certain that ours will have something she'd be willing to sell me for a trillion dollars! Maybe I'm being harsh.)

I don't think burial in a pet cemetery is the right thing for Simon--or me--because I couldn't bear the thought of moving away someday and leaving Simon all alone without us. It's silly, I know, but I think cremation is the right way to go.

Mews2much, thanks for sharing your experiences.

Sakura, I was thinking either somewhere majestic, like Yellowstone or Yosemite. I don't know, really, yet.

Glitch, I can only hope that Simon is still with us for a long time to come. Sometimes, we call him the Face of Simon, which is a joke about the Face of Boe from "Doctor Who" who lives almost forever. Wow, was there really a cat who was 37?

Rosiemac, that's a good idea. We should put something in our wills about the cats--Simon has a little brother, Gryffin, who's seven. I'm not even sure we thought of that at the time.

Thanks again, everyone. I'll report back soon about what I find out.

post #7 of 61
You are wise to investigate options now. When the time does come, you may not be thinking clearly enough to make the arrangements.

Most vets will have contacts for cremation services. If you go through a pet cemetary, they are often very pricey. If you go through a Humane Society, they can be very reasonable. You might ask your vet, then call some of the larger humane societies in your area. When you call their referals, ask how the cremation is done. Some places will cremate en masse and return ashes from the collective cremation. Others will arrange individual cremations.

When I lost my Bogart, I went through the Humane Society and his ashes were returned to me in an awesome urn. If you don't want to scatter remains, you might look at urns.

You can do it.
post #8 of 61
Aww Daniel. I know how you feel. And my eldest is much younger.
But it IS best to look into this now, as others are saying.

I have something in my will as well (like Rosie) in case I leave before them.
But I also have already decided on cremation should the day come.

For me, the hardest part will be the day coming.

I've read so many threads in this part of the forum, most of the time, to the point I cannot stop crying. Our babies are truly a member of our family.

post #9 of 61
Thread Starter 
Momofmany, thanks for letting me know that some cremations are done en masse. I would never have thought about that. I would want an individual cremation. Nothing against the others, but I think individual would be most appropriate for us.

Nellers, I'm going to talk to the vet and make a few phone calls to find the best option. And you know, it's probably not going to happen tomorrow or even the next day, but I'm glad to be thinking about it now, depressing as it may be.

Anyway, I'm less worried about him today than I was last night, but I'm more determined to plan for the future. Simon had a super-great day today, even though he did not, to my knowledge, succeed in his ultimate plan to take over the world and rule with an iron fist! (Simon is a bit like a cross between someone's kindly old (great) grandfather and Stewie Griffin, hehehe!)
post #10 of 61
It's in my will that whoever goes first be it me or them, the ashes must be kept until the last one goes, then our ashes must all be mixed together before their scattered My niece knows all this as she's the executor and the beneficiary to my estate, and i've told her if she doesn't do as the will says then i'll come back and haunt her! She will though

Where i go my kids go so their with me at all times
post #11 of 61
My first cat was Simba and I chose to have him cremated. I did not however choose to have the ashes returned to me. I just kept thinking what would I do with those ashes? I also knew Simba loved other cats and felt he would feel better being cremated with other cats. His ashes where buried at a pet cemetary.

I did the same thing with Willow because I wanted her to be the same as Simba. They are in the same cemetery. I told my husband and mother when I go I want to be cremated and my ashes spread in that cemetery.
post #12 of 61
My heart breaks for you and your partner having to prepare for this. Hopefully you'll have a few good years left and won't have to face it any time soon. **hugs**
post #13 of 61
Thread Starter 
I'm so sorry for only posting here in times of need, but our family, especially dear old Simon, needs some good energy sent his way right now.

Simon is very sick. We took him to the vet today, because he's been losing weight and not eating very well. The vet took some x-rays; he's dehydrated, has pneumonia with fluid build-up in his lungs, and his belly and intestines are full of gas. His liver looks strange on the x-ray, too, which may be an indication of cancer or something else. And to top it all off, his gums are infected.

How did we let all this happen? Why didn't we see something was going on?

Simon is at the vet now getting an ultrasound and some fluids. In fact, these two things alone may make him feel a lot better, since doing the ultrasound may help him pass some of that gas.

Please pray for Simon. I will be back as soon as I know more.

post #14 of 61
praying for you -

and a thought about Yosemite and Yellowstone - they may have a policy that you can't spread remains there......
post #15 of 61
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Renovia View Post
praying for you -

and a thought about Yosemite and Yellowstone - they may have a policy that you can't spread remains there......
Thanks...bad news. Simon has a pretty large (~6 cm tumor) on his liver that's vascular. The vet said it looks pretty aggressive, and it's pressing on his tummy. She gave him fluids and the ultrasound helped him pass the gas in his tummy, so he's acting like he feels a lot better at the moment.

There are treatment options (surgery/chemo), but at his age...

We have some pain medication for him if he needs it, and we're going to spend on final great weekend with him. The probably on Monday, we're planning on taking him back to the vet one last time.

Can't really type right now, but I appreciate the prayers. Please keep us in them for the next few days.

post #16 of 61
Oh Daniel, I am so sorry to hear about Simon.

I am sending prayers and hugs to you and Kyle and Simon.

A friend of mine had her cat cremated. She has Angel in a urn in her living room, she did not want to bury her or scatter her ashes anywheres because Angel was an inside cat.

Please know that I will be thinking about ya'll this weekend. Spend lots and lots of time with Simon. Don't let anything get in your way with this.

post #17 of 61
Prayers for Simon,
Do not blame yourself for not seeing it coming. i was blaming myself with Stormy last Dec because I didnt know she was very sick until the day before she was Pts. Her Kidneys were gone and they think it might have been Cancer in the Kidneys. The Vet got mad at me and said it wasnt our fault anyone can miss the signs. I am here for you if you need to talk anytime.
post #18 of 61
I'm so sorry to hear he's not doing so well right now. I lost a kitten a couple of years ago to FIP and it was really, really hard. The vet was just wonderful, and had a catalog and everything of things you could choose. You could choose to have him cremated alone, and have the ashes returned to you, or other options along other lines. For about $100 or so, he was cremated, and sent back to us, and we bought a little oak box with a place for a photo of him.

Also, they have kits at PetSmart that you can take impressions in clay of their feet - I highly recommend doing that.

And don't feel bad about not knowing - cats hide their distress quite well. Hugs and prayers.
post #19 of 61
i'm so sorry to read that simon's health is failing.

i lost my beloved janet to FIP last oct and had to have my 14 year old lurcher, leo put to sleep on valentines day this year. it hurts so much to say goodbye and everyone here will understand your pain.

whatever happens simon will always be with you. i firmly believe the bond between us and our furbabies is far to strong to break.

for you and kyle at this difficult time.

for simon to help him make his journey safely.
post #20 of 61
I'm so sorry to hear the bad news about Simon.
post #21 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the support, everyone--I genuinely appreciate it.

Kyle and I cried about it and talked about it, and we decided that we owe it to Simon and to ourselves to speak to a vet oncologist to get their opinion before making the toughest choice for Simon.

It's selfish on our part, I know, but at the same time I feel like there's still hope. If the specialist says that Simon probably wouldn't respond well to treatment considering his age (he's 17 or 18!), then we'll know that it's time. At most, we're only putting the decision off by a week.

Is this wrong to do?


If anyone's interested, Simon's pictures are here.

Again, thanks for the support everyone. It makes me feel better knowing there are others out there--complete strangers, even!--who are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers right now. It means a lot.


P.S. BTW, the original point of this thread was about making preparations for when a pet passes away. Our vet here in Chicago pointed us to St. Francis Pet Funeral Services and Crematory, if that's ever of use to anyone. We'll be using them when the time comes.
post #22 of 61
This is so sad I think by having a word with the specialist to ask his/her advice on Simons quality of life, then you'll know?.

It's quite obvious that you and Kyle havent done all you can for Simon, and if the worst comes to the worst and you have to let him go then you did it out of love

Whatever the outcome Daniel, Simon is a gorgeous boy, and one that will live on in both your hearts forever

Keep us updated though
post #23 of 61
Simon is such a beautiful, wise looking cat. I hope you get to spend more time with that handsome boy
post #24 of 61
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
This is so sad I think by having a word with the specialist to ask his/her advice on Simons quality of life, then you'll know?.
Thats the plan, Rosiemac. We have an appointment with the oncologist tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Hopefully, she'll tell us that she knows exactly what to do to treat his cancer and he'll be good to go in no time flat.

Originally Posted by Jaffacake
Simon is such a beautiful, wise looking cat. I hope you get to spend more time with that handsome boy
Thank you, Jaffacake...he does look pretty wise, doesn't he?

He's mad at me right now, because I keep giving him kisses when he's trying to take a nap! (Of course, turnabout its fair play: he like to wake us up at all hours by gently touching our faces and walking all over the bed, LOL!)
post #25 of 61
Thread Starter 

We took Simon to the specialist this morning, and he just got out of surgery a few minutes ago.

The surgeon removed the main tumor we knew about and two smaller ones. She said that there is a deeper one that she left for right now. The good news is that she thinks they're probably benign, but we'll know more next week once the report comes back on them.

When I spoke to the surgeon on the phone, she told me that he's groggy, but mad as hell--which is just like him! I would expect nothing less, haha!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who prayed for us and sent us good energy! I cannot tell you how much it means to me!!!

Simon's not out of the woods just yet, so please keep on praying for him. I'm just so relieved right now. I will continue to keep everyone updated on his progress.

I don't know why I was worried...Simon's so ornery, he'll live to be a thousand, LOL!
post #26 of 61
That`s great news! Come on Simon, you can beat this

Continued vibes for you guys
post #27 of 61
That's wonderful news!
I'm so happy for you, Kyle and Simon...I'll bet you feel like a ton of bricks has been taken off your shoulders.

I'll keep all of you in my thoughts and Prayers
post #28 of 61
That is wonderful news that Simon got through his surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kyle and Simon.
post #29 of 61
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
That is wonderful news that Simon got through his surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kyle and Simon.
continuing healing headed out west!
post #30 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the good wishes!


Simon came home from the hospital this afternoon. He was curious about what was going on when we were in the car, but eventually fell asleep.

He had an accident and pottied on himself on the way home, but we didn't realize that until we let him out of the carried when we got here...I don't think he was very happy about his sponge bath.

The vet has him on a Fentanyl patch for the pain, which I guess is some serious medication. Simon has to wear that for the next several days.

Let's see, what else? This morning, they were a little concerned because his PCV levels were a little low, which could have indicated that there was some internal bleeding, but they came back up by this afternoon. If they hadn't, the vet would have kept Simon in the hospital for another night.

We got one of those disposable litter boxes that comes with litter included to keep in the computer room with him. He thought it was a great place...for a nap, because he got comfy there, and got mad at us when we picked him up and put him in the easy chair.

The Fentanyl patch decreases his appetite, but the vet said that we needed to make sure Simon was eating and to try baby food. Kyle went to the store and got him some chicken--and can I just say that I understand now why babies don't want that stuff? It's STINKY!! Anyway, he wasn't interested in that either, so Kyle put some on his lips and he licked it off. So I guess that's what we're gonna have to do until he's off the patch and eating on his own.

Poor guy has a pretty big incision down his tummy and it's stapled shut, so that can't be comfortable--those come out in 10 - 14 days. I just hope the surgeon was right and the pathology report comes back benign, because I don't know if I can put him through chemotherapy. But I'm hoping that at the very least, with that big tumor gone, which was pressing on his stomach, he'll have a better appetite and will gain some weight.

OK, that's all I have for tonight.

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