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How I Became a Cat Lover - Part II

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
First I apologize for the length of time it has taken to complete this story, especially as several of you enjoyed the first part. The time lapse was partly due to "the stuff of life" and partly my trying to find my two photos of TV - the cat who introduced me to the cat world. No luck so far, but when I do find it, perhaps I can add it to this post. (Actually, it's a pitiful picture and makes me cry when I look at it, so maybe it's better I don't post it.)

~ ~ ~

Ok, I was at the point in my "cat saga" with finding Kali dead on my living room couch with no prior indication she was unwell. This was the cat I adopted when Morris was 14 so I would not be left "catless" when Morris was gone. At this time, Kali was 7 years old and Morris an "elder statesman" at 20!!

I couldn't believe this!!! I just stared at Kali for a few minutes then my mind went into automatic and I put Kali in her cat bed, put a large towel over her and the bed went to the emergency vet (this was on a Sunday).

We are fortunate in this area to have a WONDERFUL (can't praise it enough ) pet cemetary in the area. It began as a boarding kennel but over the years the owners saw the need for a REPUTABLE pet cemetary. We had boarded our dogs, and Morris, there for years. I presently have 6 pets buried there. I told the emergency vet employees (who were very compassionate) that I would be back tomorrow to get Kali and take her to the cemetary. In fact, I had purchased a "pre-need" plot for Morris. Who would have known Kali would need it first?

~ ~ ~

Morris grieved for Kali and stood by the gate for several days looking for her. That was in March. Morris incredibly continued on. I often wondered if he had any quality of life since he couldn't really be with me much anymore. I tried bringing him out and having him on the chair with me like old times but he couldn't balance well enough. I also tried just bringing him out by my chair to be close to me...also tried having him on the couch, but he seemed to want to return to "his space." My grandfather was in a nursing home for years with Alzheimer's and would get "scared" outside the parameters of his room or his regular hallway walks - the space with which he was familiar. I figured it was the same with Morris. I would go inside his area and sit and talk to him.

Since Morris was still eating well, drinking water and using his litter box, I did not have the heart to put him down. However, anxiety began to creep into me because I knew at 20 years old, it truly was just a matter of (short) time. Each morning I woke up I dreaded what I might find and breathed a sigh of relief when I heard his special "greeting." (He never "meowed.") The same dread came over me when I came home from work each evening. Fortunately I only lived 2 miles from work so many days I would come home at lunch as well.

The inevitable finally happened. I noticed Morris seemed to be breathing harder than usual one morning. It happened suddenly - one day he was normal, for him, and the next....different. (I have since read that cats are very good at hiding illnesses.) I sat with him a bit. He was still walking around and functioning so I went on to work, but came home at lunch to check on him and he was pretty much the same.

That evening after work I had a dentist appointment. It was now Fall therefore it was dark when I returned home. I made a beeline to check on Morris. He was laying on his side breathing harder and laying in a place he normally didn't lay. His food had not been touched. I carried him over to his food and he didn't have the strength to stand up.

It was time.

I had prepared for 6 years for this...and still wasn't ready. Again it was after-hours for the vet so I bundled Morris up and drove to the emergency vet once again. While I drove I stroked him and kept telling him I loved him. I would lift his little head and he was too weak to hold it up.

When I brought Morris into the examining room, a vet assistant started to pick him up saying "He's in respiratory distress. Let's get some oxygen on him." I said "No, I don't want any procedures done." (This may sound strange but my mother and I had gone through two different experiences where our pets were basically dying and, us not knowing any better at the time, told the vet to do whatever they could. IVs and oxygen were used and it brought the pets back to consciousness to cry and howl in a high-pitched tone. I said when it was truly time and there was obviously no other choice, I wouldn't put Morris through that.

The vet was WONDERFUL. He said more than likely Morris was having heart failure and presented some choices. He said he could could put Morris on medication, but the pills would have to be administered 4 times a day and in 20-year-old cats, they generally didn't respond to treatment. We talked a bit more and the vet said "Is it time to let Morris go?" I nodded.

I will NEVER forget the following: when the vet left the room temporarily to get the supplies, Morris, who hadn't been able to hold his head up, suddenly lifted his head and looked straight into my eyes. They were opaque with a greenish tinge. (Morris had golden eyes before they began deteriorating.) I don't know what the look meant, but I feel in my heart it was his goodbye.

The vet returned and as he was injecting the medication, I put my mouth close to Morris' ears and kept petting him and telling him I loved him...and almost immediately he relaxed.

My best friend was gone.

The same employee was at the desk that night who was there when I brought in Kali. I don't know why they get a pet's weight when they're dead (anyone know that?) but I remember Kali had been 20 pounds; Morris was only 5.

Once again I made arrangements for transportation to the pet cemetary. I had not cried during all that time as I had not wanted to make Morris anxious, but as I left the building the floodgates opened. Walking back into my empty apartment and seeing Morris' things was horrible.

That was September 23, 2005.

...to be continued...and I PROMISE it will be today or tomorrow at the latest.

It has been almost 5 months and I still cry over Morris...I'm crying now. The next part will be happier.
post #2 of 5
I never got to read Part One of your story....But gosh did this make me cry
It's just sooooo sad! And beautiful at the same time. Morris was so obviously a huge part of your life. Nobody could ever deny that you are a cat lover.

(overcome with emotions here)

What a touching story
I am glad there's a happy part next though

I'd love to read it.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi, Patty

Thank you for your kind words regarding my post. Yes, there is a VERY happy ending.

There was a bit of time between Part 1 & 2 so Part 1 is probably on page 2 of this thread.

A pleasure to meet you!!
post #4 of 5
I've been waiting for this bit of the story, Im just going to read the next. So sad at the moment, I think the look you got though when you were about to say goodbye was him saying I love you and probably thanking you for putting an end to his pain.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Good morning, Pombina

Thank you for coming back to read this. I am really sorry it took so long to get the rest of the story written - one of those "life happens" things.

I think the look you got though when you were about to say goodbye was him saying I love you and probably thanking you for putting an end to his pain.

Thank you so much for saying that! *HUGS* In my heart I believe that's what Morris was communicating, but my mind kicks in and says "Was he saying please don't do this?"

The wife of the couple I mentioned who run the pet cemetary (and for awhile bred and showed Rottweilers) who had probably owned countless pets in their lives...including some cats...said to me once - "There are some pets that we shed a tear for when they're gone, then others who have taken a part of our hearts with them."

On this forum, I'll bet everyone has lost a beloved furbaby...and we all know how it feels.

Happier story in part 3!
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