Just a tribute to my boys

Help & Support for those who have lost a beloved cat
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Mollycat
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Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Mollycat » Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:43 pm

I have only ever had two boys, they didn't live together, they were the same age, and I have lost them both in the last two years. They could hardly have come from more opposite backgrounds, or had more different lives, but both were incredibly sweet natured, gentle, sociable, and needed to share their homes with other cats.

Henry was a walk-in, from a house down the road. He was a 3 year old Tux boy with a black face a mass of white whiskers and an injury to his back leg and tail. He was determined to move in and resident cat Sarah was happy with that - he was her protector and defender of her garden. His people gave him their blessing to move out, understanding that their chaotic home was not what he wanted, so we had him neutered and his leg treated. He was very shy with us at first but soon became a big (very big) cuddle bug, and we figured his injury was due to an argument with a bin lorry as the sound of it would send him flying upstairs to hide. When Sarah got old and frail he treated her with so much respect, staying in the garden near her, moving over to let her eat his food if she wanted it. But not wanting to be left alone, he recruited another companion, Purdy, from his old home. We protested but to no avail, we ended up adopting her too.

The relationship ended and I moved out, heartbroken at leaving him behind but knowing he would never be happy confined indoors, and besides, he had chosen the house. I saw him regularly when I visited and for a while he was still 'my' cat - until Sarah died, one night in her sleep. Henry was distraught, he just wasn't himself for a good 8 months after that. When he did gradually come to terms with his loss, he slowly became my ex's cat, to my relief because he needed that closeness and I didn't live there any more.

In the meantime I adopted Bobby, a retired Ragdoll stud, newly neutered 8 year old and also incredibly gentle and sweet. Within weeks it became clear he couldn't be an only cat, he had always lived near the queens and missed cat company he became extremely stressed and distressed, and that is how I came to adopt Molly. She was traumatised-timid and he helped her settle, rushing to her side whenever anything scared her, gently coaxing her out of her hiding places, building her confidence and trust in me while still being protectiveover her. He would keep a watchful eye and be nearby as I slowly made friends with her. They played chase though she wouldn't tolerate the snuggling he hoped for and he couldn't handle the rough play she wanted, but it worked. He was a one-person cat though, nobody else existed for him but me. I was at least his 4th human so I guess eventually someone had to return the loyalty he gave.

A new man came with a dog. Within 3 weeks cat and dog were sharing the sofa and Bobby would welcome my OH when he came home from work with complaining demands for his cuddles. Opening his heart to one other human opened his heart to everyone and his attitude changed completely. It was wonderful to see him change like this and I am sure he was happier than he had ever been in his life.

On Friday 3rd November two years ago I went to visit my Henry and he didn't come to meet me down the garden path as he always had. He didn't come to greet me when I walked into the house. I had to call him. He came downstairs and dragged himself across the room towards me before going down in the loaf position and looking at me ... his tongue was hanging out and one side of his face swollen. He had gone out absolutely fine that morning, come home, eaten and gone upstairs. Fearing a car accident I got him to the emergency vet within 15 minutes, but it wasn't a car, it was a large mouth tumour. We could operate but these things are so invasive and his chances ... and what we would have to put him through ... He was 14 years old, it was the first time I had lost an animal so suddenly, and I was in shock. Ex didn't have a shovel so I had to leave Henry's body with the vet and we buried him on Sunday evening. As we laid his body down, a volly of fireworks went up. Henry loved fireworks, he would create hell to be let out and sit on the garden path watching them go up from next door's garden. There couldn't have been a more fitting tribute.

In the meantime Bobby had been diagnosed with the very beginnings of renal failure. As time went on he kept having episodes of diarrhoea and dehydration which at first we treated with a vitamin B injection and tuna water. They became more frequent, he no longer tolerated the wet renal food so he was on dry only and real meat treats, and then the vitamin B no longer did the trick and he would have a steroid shot. Gradually the episodes worsened and got more frequent. Early this year he lost 10% of his body weight in 6 days and was put on daily steroids. We tried cutting the dose but the symptoms started again. Daily tablets became a problem and we switched to 6 week injections. He never made it to the second one. One evening in August I thought his kidneys had failed completely and rushed him in. His temperature was 104 but the vet was sure she could bring it down, so we left him there on a drip and antibiotics for 24 hours. She was happy to send him home but within minutes he was back to the same distressed state and panting. His breathing calmed down but the time had come and the next day as I made the appointment he settled on my lap, licking my hand, purring and sleeping peacefully. The three animals and I settled on the bed for an hour or so, and then it was time to go.

In less than two years both my lovely boys are gone. In between we have also lost my brother, just three years after my dad. And my partner's brother, and three friends. It goes like that sometimes, all seems to come at once, but just getting this all out has made me realise why my heart feels quite as heavy as it does tonight, on the eve of the second anniversary of losing my angel cat. Sorry for the long ramble but it has done me good to say it out loud. Hold your loved ones close, we never know what's around the corner.

Kris35
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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Kris35 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:11 pm

Oh God Molly, beautifully written and has bought a tear to my eye. It's so hard isn't it. I know our cats are so lucky to have us, but it doesn't really help the pain we feel. Will you get more animals?

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Mollycat
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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Mollycat » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:47 pm

Thank you Kris especially at such a sad time for you. I still have Molly and the dog, Molly I don't think would tolerate a newcomer cat and we have the added complication of being in a 2nd floor flat so I could only take an indoor cat. Purdy, the second walk-in from my previous relationship, is still going strong at least into her 20s, and I don't think he will get another when she goes. But I don't see Molly being my last ever cat.

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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Kris35 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:58 pm

These posts break my heart. I'm not sure about getting another but feel I should. .maybe. I shall see. ❤️

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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Mollycat » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:23 pm

Give yourself all the time you need. I don't talk much about Misha, who took a piece of my soul when she left me, but after that I went into a deep and frightening depression. Our lodger asked us to take in a cat barely a couple of months after who was living outdoors and looking for a home. I agreed on the basis that I could not take responsibility for this new cat as my heart was broken and bleeding but there was a vacancy at home and I couldn't turn Sarah away. Three years later I was just about ready to love again and Henry my angel boy walked in and asked me to love him. They have a way, cats. They find us when we need them. Their selfish demands for love force us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and give again. My Molly, she drives me nuts squeaking for attention if I dare to focus on something like work, and in frustration I screw up a ball of paper and throw it at her as hard as I can, she sits there looking me straight in the eyes and it hits her doink on the head, and my heart melts and I can't be angry any more. They are magical little creatures. One day when your heart is ready and your head doesn't even know it yet, one will see your need and come to you.


Edit - incidentally, Sarah went in her sleep. We weren't there, she was downstairs, I had moved out and my ex had gone to bed. He found her cold in the morning. There was no sign of any distress, she was slightly uncurled as her body relaxed. Even if there is a little discomfort just before the end, it's their natural death, I think of it almost as their birthright as a wild animal, they just have the great blessing of caring humans who have the ability to bring it forward if the discomfort is lasting too long. It helps me to accept.

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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Kris35 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:04 pm

Yes that does make sense, especially the bit about it being their birthright as a wild animal. I just hate to think of her being aware she was struggling to breathe whilst I took her to the vets. The emergency vets is a two minute drive for me, so even if Oody was aware, it wouldn't have been for long. I'm kind of 70% sure that she wasn't aware, but of course I will never know for sure.

I do remember my gran dying years ago and she was unresponsive on her hospital bed, but tears coming out of her eyes when we were saying our goodbyes, so she was aware. That is freaky.

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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Mollycat » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:54 pm

Ah, I think I understand better now why this question is so important. As I said hearing is usually the last sense to go, it doesn't necessarily mean they are feeling pain or distress. My dad spent his final weeks in hospital, at one point he had the most awful blistered bedsores but he couldn't feel them he had no pain at all and was fully conscious - serene even. All kinds of strange things can happen in the dying process. physiological responses that may not be experienced in the way they normally would. Something we would naturally associate with pain or distress might actually not be experienced that way by the person or animal. As per my other post, the vital systems don't necessarily close down in a set order. Was your gran your first close loss?

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Re: Just a tribute to my boys

Post by Kris35 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:24 am

Hi Mollycat,

Yes she was but we weren't at all close. Anyway this is your thread so no more talk about Oody from me on here.

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