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My phantom limb...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I’m glad to have found this forum, I have been wanting to tell my kitty's tale to someone. Most in my life think me a bit dramatic for my reaction to the death of my cats, I can see from reading some of the posts that is not uncommon. I feel for you all. Where to start?

Fifteen years ago I was moving from my parents home to spring out on my own. My brother showed up at my door with a house warming present, a skinny tiger kitten with a too large head and green eyes. He was too young to be taken from his mother and needed to be nipple fed. I immediately fell for this cat, he was like a soul mate. I never felt alone with him around. Moshie, I named him because he looked like a pensive little rabbi all the time. He loved to rub his face against my cheek and sit on my shoulder while I studied or typed on the computer. But this immensely sweet behavior was only for me. He did not like the company of other people and mostly hid when I had company.

Not long after I was in my first apartment with Moshie a friend decided to visit for a month with her cat. She had not yet named the year old pure white creature with haunting yellow eyes. Nor was she taking proper care of him. Needless to say that when her trip ended and she left, the cat stayed. I named him Azlyn. While Moshie was my heart, Azlyn was my clown. He would sit up and beg for food like a dog, his favorite was cheetoes. He was a cat possessed for anything with fake cheese powder and was known to open my cabinets to rip into a bag of smartfood or cheezeits. He also cried relentlessly every morning unless I gave a cotton ball to play with. He would hold said cotton ball between his paws and lick it all day like a mother kitten.

At first Moshie pouted and sulked about the new addition. But Azlyn won him over as he did all creatures, feline or otherwise. The years spent with them were so full of changes, they were the constant and anchor in my life. About eight years ago I met and fell in love with a wonderful man, Joshua. Josh did not like cats. His only flaw. However, Azlyn was determined to win him over. He would force Josh to pet him by shoving his wet nose into Josh’s closed hand, opening his fist and then rubbing his body against Josh’s palm – as if to say, “Here dummy, here is how you pet me.†Josh’s annoyance would melt into laughter and lame cries of “help this cat is raping me.†Moshie mostly hid at first. But soon he was sitting on Josh’s lap. Josh and I became engaged and six years ago we were married. Every morning I would awake to find the self confessed cat hater sound asleep with no pillow because Moshie was stretched out on it and Josh didn’t want to disturb him.

Josh and I bought a house with large windows and our aging fat cats loved laying around in the sun. We added a dog to our family. Gizmo. Azlyn and he became friends. Moshie used every opportunity to hiss, swat and otherwise put Gizmo in his place.

Three years ago we discovered with much joy that I was pregnant. Well into my pregnancy Moshie began to eat less and slowly loose weight. I brought him to the vet but she could not find anything wrong with him. Then he refused to eat even tuna for two days. I took him back to the vet to find that he had a tumor in his stomach. Moshie had surgery right away. The tumor was malignant and much larger then the vet previously thought. She had to remove some leg muscle and stomach wall to completely remove it. The incision was so large that it looked as if Moshie had been cut in half around the middle and sown back together. It was so horrifying and heart breaking. Being pregnant I also didn’t feel like I could take as good of care of him as usual. His incision became infected and even the satellite like collar around his neck to keep him from chewing his wound didn’t stop him from tearing the stitches out. It took months for Moshie to recover from the surgery. By the time I gave birth to our son, Max, Moshie was healed of his surgery but never seemed fully recovered to me. By the time Max started to crawl the tumor returned.

I am not usually the type of person who has trouble making a decision of the importance of the one now facing me. It was very doubtful that Moshie could survive another surgery. He was now 14 or so years old. But I just couldn’t bring myself to put him to sleep either. I would keep telling myself, just one more night of cuddling, just one more day to lay in the sun and then I’ll do it. But I didn’t. Soon the tumor became large enough to see it protruding from his skin. But he was still eating well, still using the cat box, still purring when I touched him. He still seemed happy to me, so I still kept giving him one more days reprieve. Then one morning I found a trail of blood leading to my closet. Moshie was there, bleeding from the mouth, but purring still as I pulled him out of the closet. I drove him to the vet and still kept looking down at him, thinking “this is the last time I will look into those eyes.†He always looked at me with such unadulterated love and admiration. I held him as the vet gave him the shot to end his pain. It worked so quickly, faster then I thought. His body just went limp immediately and he was gone forever. Too upset to drive, my brother came to collect me. How fitting that the one who brought Moshie into my life now brought me home after Moshie having left it. That was three years ago and I am still crying, even now as I write.

Several months after Moshie died Azlyn also began to lose weight. Thankfully, it was only diabetes which was remedied with an insulin injection twice a day. For over a year I nursed Azlyn and watched over his blood sugar with obsessive detail. Still it wasn’t enough. One day he to wouldn’t eat, which for a diabetic is very bad. I rushed him to the vet to find that he too had a tumor in his stomach, not that much different from the spot where Moshie had his. Too old and sick to have surgery (and remembering how Moshie suffered after his) I opted to put Azlyn to sleep too. I spent one last night with him, spooning on my bed, awake, petting him and hugging him all night. Then in the morning he died in the same room as Moshie. That was one year ago.

Am I a crazy drama queen for still crying at least once a week for my babies? The hole in my life left by their absence is physically painful. Like a person who looses an arm in a horrible accident but still feels the “phantom limbâ€, I still feel Moshie rubbing his face against my cheek or Azlyn sleeping on my feet. I don’t know how to end this so I will just end it here. Thanks for listening.
post #2 of 20

For me, the wound is very new (we just had Comere put to sleep on Tuesday). I ready your story with a tear in my eye, but a smile on my face. Your Azlyn sounds like my Comere.

It is so hard to lose our furry soul mates... and the only advice I can offer you is what I hope I'm teaching my daughter. It is okay to feel sad, but we must enjoy life to honor them. While I know it's hard, it is the good memories that carry us through. Saying goodbye is painful, but remember all the "hellos", purrs, headbutts and love is worth it. It is SO worth it.

I know what you mean about a hole in your life... as I said in my own post about Comere, there is a lump on my bed that is missing. I wish you all the best... do hold onto the good things and all they gave you (and you gave them!) -- and when you are ready, open your heart to another fur-baby.

Take care... My thoughts are with you...
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your reply. I'm so sorry to hear about your Comere. It's terrible.

I'm glad you mentioned your daughter in your post. I didn't mention my Son's reaction to Azlyn's death (he was too young to remember Moshie but "Asssssslyns" was his third word). He still asks me when Azlyn is coming home. I tired to explain that Azlyn is not coming home, it is ok to cry and be sad and miss him - that Azlyn is no longer sick and in pain. Is three to tender to be brutally honest like that? He talks about death a lot, which is good that he talks about it but is a three year old supposed to dwell this much on it?

Oh, here is a pic on Azlyn and me...
post #4 of 20
Okay Dev, that is just freaky... He looks JUST like Comere and Comere would do the same "let me get as close to you as I can" thing -- up on the check to perch. Looks like Azlyn was a big boy too. Mind you, I also have short dark hair and the same glasses -- so it's truly a little weird.

AND my husband SWORE for 11 years he hated the cat -- and cried Tuesday morning when we had to put him to sleep

It's okay to tell your Son that Azlyn has died and gone to heaven (or "the other side" or whatever you believe)... that he can't come home but he's happy where he is. Keep it very simple. My daughter has been through the death of a few of her grandparents, and we were always honest with her about her, let her cry and feel sad as she needed but then encouraged her to focus on the good things. We did that Tuesday afternoon when we broke the news to her about Comere. She cried for a while and then we all came up with our favorite funny memories. It really does help.

Here's Comere:
post #5 of 20

I lost my life long companion 3 1/2 years ago and reading your post brought him back. He was my best friend and my entire childhood involved him.

Bear... sweet Bear. He was born just before I was in 1983 and lived until about 2 weeks before our 18th birthday.

So are you a crazy drama queen? If you are then I am too, as are many people here on TCS.

As for your son, no, you were honest and I really believe in letting children know the truth~

Take care sweetie! You are not alone in this.

Thank you for sharing your story

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm completely freaked out. Comere looks exactly like Azlyn and sounds like him too. I just posted in your thread saying that while you were posting in mine. Wow. There must be a guiding force that puts comforts like this in our lives when we need it. This picture almost looks like yours.
post #7 of 20
My heart goes out to you both!! Giant hugs!! I too still hurt when I think of my sweet boy Thai who I lost 2 yrs ago to cancer.They will forever be in our hearts and memories! Rest in peace sweet furrys! (and by the way they are gorgeous, could have been twins)
post #8 of 20
Well Dev... it sure is a bit freaky! Obviously our paths were meant to cross tonight. Your post made me think of some wonderful memories about Comere, and I hope my words have provided you some comfort too. Our pets really bring us something special and I will always love my lump-of-a-mushpot... they are forever laying in the sun now, smelling the air and napping to their hearts content...

post #9 of 20
ps... you want really freaky! I just looked at your profile.
My birthday is January 19, 1970.
post #10 of 20
I am so pleased that you have found our little family here. I am sorry that your first post was here in the blue room but as already said - we all so understand and so many of us will shed tears with you as they read your story. I personally thing I could of filled an ocean

what a wonderful beautiful story you gave us of 2 amazing boys. Precious sweet boys that are now watching over you from above. That will always watch over you until you can meet again.

as Ashley said - if your a crazy drama queen then so am I!!

Moshie & Azlyn have their wings and hey are happy at the Rainbow Bridge - chasing all the butterflies and are in no pain whatsoever.
have you seen this link? http://www.indigo.org/rainbowbridge_ver2.html please be aware that it will stir emotions so click on it when you feel ready.

please know that there are so many of us here that share & feel your pain... know also that we are here should you need someone to lean on, or a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to listen....

post #11 of 20
The grief is real and tangible and it can invade your every thought. You can be sitting at your computer and suddenly feel a nudge against your leg, reach down, and pet.....open air.

You can be hard at work, concentrating (or trying to) and suddenly the tears start. You know that when you get off work, there will be no furry friend to greet you at the end of your day, climb on your lap give you comfort purrs and a reason to just stay in one spot with this lap warmer.

You can't quite bring yourself to the point of tossing the toys away, or storing the cat condo in the attic because maybe...just maybe...it was all a big mistake, and your cat will return to you. It's as if she is lost out there, in the world somewhere wandering around crying for you, when the reality is, her leaving you leaves you lost and wandering.

People who do not understand the impact cats have on your lives, are not liable to understand your sadness nor will they appreciate it. You may be mocked by co-workers, or frustrate relatives because they want you to go on like it never happened.

But it did happen. You shared a life with this cat, she made you laugh, cry, she comforted you, she became your lap warmer, your confidant, your friend, your muse.

Her lack of presence is felt sharply. Sometimes it is hard to breathe, it is hard to think. You visit her grave and water her resting place with tears of sorrow.

Be grateful that you were able to experience this type of love. Without it, how shallow would your life be? To not have been able to experience this true love of a cat- your world would be an empty and hollow place all of the time-

Hugs from one who has traveled the path of grief to many times
post #12 of 20
I can echo what Hissy said. She said it all and very beautifully.

I'm so glad The Cat Site is here for you and that the wonderful synchronicity between you and Comere's family has been able to help both families.
post #13 of 20

Your two guys sound gorgeous. You really are not alone and there's absolutely nothing strange about your grief. I still cry now when I see photos or walk past the place where my first cat is buried- and he died twelve years ago. Each cat is a unique person, a unique relationship and irreplaceable, no matter how many other cats you come to love too- I don't think you ever stop missing them. In time you do remember the good things most and the rawness of the grief becomes easier.

hugs and best wishes
post #14 of 20
Oh, Devorah, I can hardly see through the tears to type. I'm so sorry you lost your precious babies. Moshie and Azlyn are and will always be such a part of your life, and you will cherish them in your heart forever. How could anyone ever feel you are overreacting when your heart has been shattered? Darling Moshie and Azlyn are so happy and healthy today joyfully playing in Heaven, and you will one day be reunited! I pray that you will feel comfort in place of the emptiness in your heart and peace to replace the agonizing pain. My heart truly goes out ot you. Please know if you ever need a friend, I am but a pm away.
post #15 of 20
Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful babies. Although I always genuinely feel bad for those who post here in the blue room, rarely do I actually shed tears (years of being a nurse will do that to you), but your story had me shed more than a few. What a lovely tribute to your furbabies. Also, for whatever reason, your Azlyn and Comere have brought your families together, for consolation, shared memories, shared grief. They must make a stunning pair at the RB.
post #16 of 20
My condolences on your loss and your time of grief. The pain never ends but it does fade and the holes that are left slowly fill with the happy memories and allow us to cherish those we loved and loved us in return. I hope you are soon able to remember the joy and happy times without the pain, confident you did what you know was best and that you would not have given up the time you had to sprare yourself that pain. God bless and I wish you all the best.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Everyone, thank you so much. It is a bit overwhelming, I'm not sure how to express this - it is just good to feel that I am not the only one. Is it just me, or are the people on this forum exceptional writers? Cat people do seem very literate....

So here is the next chapter, I didn't have the stamina to write it last night. Two months ago my husband returned home from work to find two tiny kittens on our front porch. One beige siamese-ish mix asleep in an old sneaker he had left out side. The other has so many things going on I can't describe her, she's black and orange and beige with stripes and spots and patches. When they saw Josh they ran. After a few weeks I got them to come to me and I finally took them to the vet. Poor things had two kinds of worms and ear mites. Where on Earth did they come from? I named the siameseish one Cinnamon Toast and the other Pepper.

Their integration into our lives has been difficult. Moshie and Azlyn and I bonded right away. These girls are still very aloof. When I wrote last night I was at my wits end with them. I have never had a female cat before. Suddenly in the night they both began meowing incessantly and roaming the house sticking their butts in the air. I had no idea what was wrong with them and considered calling a priest around midnight when it dawned on me that they must be in heat. I have never seen this before. Needless to say, they have an appointment next week to get spayed. I was trying to console them and they wouldn't come to me. I wanted to hold them and began to think of my lost boys....it was to much. I have never had a bonding problem before...I feel like a bad person or something. I know we need more time but, I want furry kitties in my lap now not later!

Here is my son with Cinamon Toast and some pictures of them as tiny ones...

post #18 of 20
To start, Pepper's coloring is called Tortoishell, Tortie for short. Both of them are absolutely beautiful, and your son is gorgeous!

Fate is such a strange thing. Fate brought you two babies who needed you as much, or more, than you needed them. Since they are strays, you don't know what they've been through, and they probably do have some trust issues. These can be worked out, and they may yet become the lap warmers your heart desires. Have you read any of the threads in the "Caring for Strays and Ferals" forum? There is a lot of information over there about how to handle these babies to help you gain their trust. You can post about them there as well, and you'll get some great advice from some of the experts. Hissy is an especially valuable resource in the area of strays and ferals; she has helped many, many members. It takes time and patience when dealing with strays, but it's so very rewarding! If you look at my signature below, you'll see pics of Briar, Buttercup & Scout. They were truly feral kittens that I trapped (hissing, spitting balls of fury!). With the help of those here, I was able to socialize them, and they are thriving in their new homes. The fact that the kittens you have already let you touch & pet them, well, you're ahead of the game!

Congratulations on your new furbabies! Again, if you have questions or frustrations regarding Cinnamon Toast & Pepper, I urge you to post in that forum...help is just a keystroke away there too! Good luck, and keep us posted.
post #19 of 20
I just lost my 20 year old son, and best friend on Feb 28th. Snoopy also felt like he was a part of me, and I know that on the day he crossed over, a part of me died as well. I have two other cats, Simba and Shane. They have helped me, somewhat with dealing with the grief, but like your Pepper and Cinamon Toast, they aren't lap cats, they are both pretty independant. Snoopy was that special kind of Soul Mate Kitty who gave up his independance to be a Mama's boy. I know how you miss that loving and affection from a furry baby. I feel the same need for the kind of love and devotion I shared with Snoopy. It's still pretty raw for me, yet, and I'm sure I'm not done grieving for my wonderful Snoopy.

I just wanted to say that indeed you're not alone. My heart goes out to you, and believe me, I understand your pain.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you. For the past few days it has been as if they knew what I wrote and have been making more of an effort. Pepper has been sitting on my lap provided I do not touch her. Cinny will sit very close to me, purring and lets me pet her but still no holding or lap warming. Kissing is altogether out of the question. I am learning to love them on their terms not mine. Thank you to who ever it was that pointed out that I don't know what they have been through. How selfish we can be in cat relationships! I am trying to understand them more and be a good Mom to them, keeping in mind their aloofness may well be chalked up past to trauma and I can over come it. So far the atitude is working.
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