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I'm so sad...Mingus is gone. (long story)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I put my cat, Mingus, to sleep on Friday. He only just turned 8. I'm not sure if I'll ever get over this!

We just moved at the end of May, and noticed Mingus wasn't eating much of his canned food. He was never a big fan of the canned food like our other cat anyway, and thought he was stressed over the move.

After a while, I noticed he started feeling lighter to pick up (he was at least 15 lbs. before). I brought him to the vet, and she seemed to think it was also stress (his bloodwork looked fairly normal). He stayed at the same weight around 10 lbs. for a couple of weeks, vet recommended just watching him for a couple more weeks and trying to get him to eat; and then he started losing more, and was around 9 lbs. The vet suggested I bring him to a vet hospital about 25 minutes away for both xrays and an ultrasound, so I did. Immediately upon palpation of Mingus' stomach, this other vet felt a mass in his intestines. She told me she believed it was cancer, and gave me options to find out what kind it was and the treatment options. The tears immediately came to my eyes as soon as she said cancer. They did the ultrasound, and saw the mass. Then I had to leave him for a couple hours until they could do the x-ray and aspirate the mass to see what type of cancer he had. When I came back, she told me that the xrays showed the cancer didn't spread to his chest...good news. She was sending the cells from the aspirate out to find out what type of cancer he had.

I took the next day, Friday, off of work because I was so upset. Mingus lay quietly on the hallway floor all day. Crying, I'd lie down next to him and pet him, knowing these might be my final moments with him. He didn't show much emotion, just sort of stared into space. I finally got the call from the vet, she told me that it was malignant. They could do surgery to remove the mass, and some follow-up chemo. But the cancer will come back, she said. Tells me surgery would be roughly $2800-3000 (!). I asked what she'd suggest if we don't do the surgery, and she said I'd have to look at his quality of life. Cats love to eat, and he's not. He also had great difficulty getting up on our bed, which he always loved to do with us. I tell her I have to discuss it with my boyfriend, and I'll call her back. I called him and he was so upset like I was. We decided even if the surgery was $100 it would be selfish of us to delay it any longer, it was obvious he wasn't the happiest cat, even though he didn't appear to be in immediate pain. We decided to take him to the vet to be put to sleep right away before he feels any pain. The vet told me I was making the right decision, and to bring him in a couple of hours. I decided to go by myself, no use in both of us being upset. As I put him in the carrier and walked out the door, I was in shock and couldn't believe what I was doing.

The day before, when he was in his carrier next to me in the car, while bringing him for his x-rays, he would stare right up at me with big eyes, meowing, pretty much the whole way there. This time, he just sat quietly and stared into space. He never made a sound. Perhaps he was out of it, and this was indeed the right time?

They brought me in to the exam room as soon as I got there, one nurse frowns looking at Mingus as I walk by her and says 'oh, poor baby' (I guess she knew?)... I put him up on the table in the carrier, and a nurse gives me the papers to sign and gives me options of what to do with his body. I just can't stop the tears at this point. Then she takes him and says she's just putting in the IV needle, no drugs will be put in him yet. I wait for what feels like forever, probably was 5 minutes or so, and another nurse comes in with Mingus wrapped in a towel like a baby, facing out, his front leg all taped up, I didn't notice the needle. He's growling a tiny bit (first time he's made a sound), and I try to pet him and tell him everything's okay. I tell the nurse I can't watch, and she seems surprised and asks 'are you sure? It's really not that bad, it really looks like he's going to sleep.' I consider it, but I end up deciding it will be too traumatic for me. I'm close to hysteria at this point, crying and petting Mingus. I decide it's time for me to go, pet him one last time and I take his carrier and walk out. The receptionist lets me stay in another exam room while taking care of the bill. The doctor comes in and hugs me, reassures me I'm doing the right thing, and says she'll give Mingus a kiss for me. And then I leave with a feeling of such deep grief.

This weekend I've been feeling extremely guilty I didn't stay for his injection, trying to keep his last moments comforting with my presence. My boyfriend says I shouldn't; that he probably wouldn't even know I was there. I still wish I could go back and stay with him, just in case it would have helped. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Any reassurances?

Early morning and going to bed at night are the hardest times. He used to crawl up on my boyfriend's chest and lie on him with his head tucked under my BF's chin, purring the deepest purr. They were so loud, you couldn't hear the TV sometimes. I have a picture of the two of them in this position, I looked at it last night and cried. I couldn't find George, our other cat who is 7. I found him under the bed in the same spot Mingus would often be found for the past month he's been sick. I'm not sure if he's depressed over Mingus being gone. I play with George as much as I can now...he's as spazzy and playful as ever. My BF wants us to think about getting George a new playmate so he doesn't get too lonely while we're gone.

I miss Mingus terribly. I hope I didn't make this decision too hastily. I wish I could pet his super soft, silky grey fur one more time. I see bits of it here and there around the house, and I cry every time. (We use to always kid with him that we'll make him into luxurious mittens or something when he goes!)

Sorry so long...I feel a little better now sharing my story.
post #2 of 19
i'm so sorry for your loss. Your story made me cry, i can feel your pain. Just know that Mingus is in a better place now Take your time to heal
post #3 of 19
That brought a tear to my eye. For what it is worth, i totally think you did the right thing, i dont see the point in putting an animal through an operation and then follow up treatment if there is a good chance it will come back anyway. I recently lost a cat to mammary cancer, and i made the same decision. It does sound like he didnt have a good quality of life, so making him carry on wouldnt have been fair to him.
Thinking of you
post #4 of 19
You should never second guess yourself! I was with my bunny when he had three heart attacks in a row (and I even tried CPR much as I knew ot was over). I was inconsolable for weeks so I understand how you feel. My bunny had lived to a ripe old age and had a good life and that's what you should try to focus on (I know it's hard - we play back all the final scenes in the cinema inside our head). Think of the wonderful times you shared with Mingus and treasure them.

I am so very sorry for your loss!
post #5 of 19
I lost a young cat to FIP last year. I know it is untreatable, but it was so hard to watch her fade away, then to be the one to make the decision of when to put her to sleep.

In your case, it really sounds like Mingus was kind of gone already. He couldn't eat, he was staring into space. I totally agree with your decision to let him go. Cats cover pain so well, that he could have gotten very painful before he would tell you.

I have stayed with animals as they are put to sleep. It can be very painful (for the person, not for the pet). I don't know how you could do it alone. I had someone with me to share the emotion. It is so quick, though, the cat is just gone in an instant. You were there with him for eight years of love. The last 2 minutes are not important to Mingus. (But it is sweet that your vet gave him a kiss for you.)

Condolences to Lainie, George, and your bf on your loss.

I think you have a very good vet who laid out the choices for you clearly. I would not have done the surgery either.
post #6 of 19
Don't ever doubt you did the right thing for Mingus, and at the right time. His crying your last day together was his way of telling you he wanted to be gone from this world. It's very hard to lose a beloved member of the family like Mingus, but you gave him many years of love and happiness -- as hopefully you will share with another special cat again one day.
post #7 of 19
I'm very sorry that you lost Mingus and would like to thank you for sharing the story with us. We lost our 6yr old gray/white, McCoy, suddenly to heart disease last month. I'm assumming Mingus was named after the Jazz Bassist/Composer Charles Mingus. It put a smile on my face-McCoy was named after Jazz Pianist/Composer McCoy Tyner because even as a kitten he was so intelligent, independent and emotionally strong. His brother is Elvin after Elvin Jones.

McCoy also loved the chest and chin deal for long periods.

It's so hard to second-guessing yourself. You did your best for the one you obviously cherished. Let yourself feel the horrible loss. I've found coming to this site to read others stories has helped to ease my pain-hopefully, it will help you also. Best Wishes, Thomas
post #8 of 19
You made the right decision in letting Mingus go. In reading what the doctor's had to say about the cancer returning, if you didn't do this his pain would've just been prolonged. He loves you and thanks you for putting his best interest at heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
post #9 of 19
I am so sorry to hear your story. People without animals don't understand how bad the pain can be. When we lost Mary Kathleen I almost burst into tears walking by the cat food aisle. It does take time but sometime a lot of it.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sincerely, Hobbester, booktigger, CyberKitten, Beckiboo, mlmcats, Hikkyburp, LovesMyCats, and DarciFinn -- thank you all for the condolences...each one really means a lot to me. You're right DarciFinn, I've found many people don't quite understand, and sometimes are sort of cold on the subject. Perhaps they just don't know what to say, and feel uncomfortable, which I understand.

Hikkyburp -- Mingus was also grey and white (tuxedo type coloring). That's too funny about you also naming your cats after jazz musicians. Yeah, Mingus was named after Charles Mingus. McCoy and Elvin are awesome names! I have a postcard-picture on my refrigerator of Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie from my boyfriend's old co-worker...his cat is named Dizzy.

George wasn't named after any musicians...I just thought it would be funny to name a cat George (sort of after that Looney Tunes cartoon, "I will hug him, and squeeze him, and I'll name him George"). He totally fits his name, he's sort of dopey but so very friendly and loveable. We always imagined Mingus sort of looking down his nose upon George, thinking "he's so dumb."

I do feel better about my decision now, I don't feel as much guilt, and I believe I did what was right. Thanks, everyone, for the support.

post #11 of 19
Aw I'm sorry to hear about your baby.
post #12 of 19
oh sweetheart, I weep with you at this time - my heart aches for you. I wish I could do or say anything that would help take some of the pain away, but believe me when I say that you DID make the right decision. You made the most unselfish of decision that any of us could ever be asked to make. You put your own feelings aside and thought only of Mingus no matter how hard this was for you.
I know for a fact how much Mingus loves you. I also know for a fact that Mingus will no longer be in pain. I know that he is watching over you, loving you more and more each moment he watches over you, protecting you and longing for the day when you will be together again. Until then he will play at the rainbow bridge in no pain whatsoever.

RIP sweet angel Mingus
watch over your mummy, daddy & George - they love you very very much
post #13 of 19
Judging from what you said about his condition, you definitely made the right decision. I dont' know how you went to the vet alone the last time. My husband and I went together, and he stayed with Molly. I couldn't I was a mess and I felt Molly didn't need me to be like that around her at the end. I don't feel guilt about it because I know what a good cat-mom I was to her while we had her. You shouldn't feel guilt either. I am really sorry for your loss.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it was hard going alone... But Mingus was my BF's "best buddy," and he took it especially hard. I was the most upset I've ever been, and I think he might have been even more so...it was even more heartbreaking for me to see how upset he was. (He would feel very uncomfortable showing these intense feelings in front of someone he doesn't know.) He and Mingus had a very special bond...I was always #2 in Mingus' eyes.

We're now looking for a little friend for George... We tried going to a shelter, but couldn't find it. So, we drove to the pet store where we bought George just to see if they had any...and they had 4 black kittens, who weren't available until today. They were absolutely adorable, but it really bothers me to think that a new cat just won't ever have that same bond with him. We're going to visit a little guy at a foster home tomorrow. From his picture anyway, he looks like he might have a good personality...we shall see if he's a good match. I hope so!

George continues to go to the spot under the bed where Mingus would often be found while he was sick...We think he's a little lonely for some feline companionship.
post #15 of 19
If it isn't too much trouble, we would love it if you could share with us some pictures of Mingus and George in the Fur Pictures board. i'm sure everyone on TCS would be very happy to see them here
Hope all is well...
post #16 of 19
Your post has me crying. Please accept my deepest condolences over the loss of Mingus. I lost my Sunni to what the vet thinks is the same thing just 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, we were gone on vacation and she got very sick suddenly, passing before we could make it home. She was only 5 yrs old. I think that you made the right decision for Mingus. I know that if I had been home and had the chance to get her to the vet sooner, Sunni never would have suffered as she did. I would not have allowed it to happen.

You're right, it feels like things will never get better, but we know they will. For me, adopting a new kitten at the local shelter helped. I knew that I was saving a new life, and Sophie has been a godsend in helping me heal.

Good luck to you and your BF, whatever decision you make regarding a new playmate for your other cat. Take care!
post #17 of 19
Please accept my condolences as well! I am praying for you.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your kind words...They've really helped me through a difficult time.

Good news...I adopted a 14-week kitten from a shelter this weekend! He was named Little Ben at the shelter, and we've been calling him Benny. We initially were looking for a cat who looked a bit different from Mingus, who was grey and white. But Benny is the same type of coloring (although the pattern is a bit different, he's more white than grey)...he was just too cute to pass up. I just didn't want anyone thinking we were "replacing" Mingus because, really, no cat ever could. Benny's fur is also quite soft, and I wonder if it will be similar to Mingus's when Benny gets older. (Mingus's fur was like rabbit hair, silky soft.) Ben's mother is part snowshoe siamese, so he's got a little bit of siamese in him. He's a real cutie...sleeps curled up right next to us (sometimes in one of our armpits). George is tolerating him (no fighting, hissed only a little bit in the beginning); he seems to find him interesting to watch; but he hasn't started playing with him yet. George is quite social, though, so I'm sure it will just be a matter of time.

Hobbester -- I'll definitely post some pictures of Mingus (RIP), George, and now Little Ben...probably sometime this weekend.
post #19 of 19
I know exactly how you feel. We just went through the same thing last night and the whole seen is still playing over and over in my head like a bad nightmare. You did the right thing. Your baby is now happy and whole again and waiting for us when it is our time. I cry with you sharing your pain. God Bless.
Roxy's Mom
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