Sunday, September 27, 2009

More than a Cat

Friday afternoon, my wife and I made the decision to end the suffering of one of our family members, a cat named Puddy.

It was one of the most difficult things we have had to do. We adopted him 7 1/2 years ago and he was loved by nearly everyone whom he met. Even those who were not "cat people", due to his loving nature and dog-like behavior.

The pictures I assembled represent a few glimpses from his early life through this past Thursday.

The Cat that acted like a Dog:

I always though that Puddy must have had some abandonment issues when he was young because he was less independent than most cats I had been around. Kathy was sharing with me Friday night how she remembered how when I would come home, Puddy would come to the door or come find me as if he was waiting for me to return.

A few years ago, on the 4th of July we were doing some outside work in the yard and had the cats out with us, when I think I recall, a neighbor brought him back to us and he was limping, not putting any weight on his right front paw.

He continued to walk with a limp for several years and earned the occasional nickname of Pimp Kitty!

Puddy was befriended by nearly everyone in the family and friends. He was such a gentle soul, loved being around people and would climb up in your lap just to have human contact. Because of his limp and his friendly nature everyone would ask how Puddy was and he was at times the most popular member of the family!

Sure, he did some of the typical cat things too, like chase a red laser light with fierce determination. And a couple years ago when we adopted another cat from the shelter, we saw how he would sometimes be the aggressor in their playful chasing each other through the house and wrestling.

But with people, he was always a gentle, kind soul who wanted to be where the action was.

In the evening, Kathy and I would often watch television in our bedroom which was the one room he was not allowed in. Instead he would lie on the threshold, mostly in the hallway with his head and front paws in our room.

He even put up with some innocent abuse from a young boy who was carrying him around the house and got him too close to the fireplace one winter. It wasn't until later that I noticed some singed fur that I realized what had happened.

This past year however, things began to change. We noticed that Puddy was not the fat cat anymore. He was losing weight. In March we took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and thyroid problems. He was given thyroid medicine which was a soft, chewy tablet that was almost like a treat for him twice a day.

One evening this summer we noticed that his breathing was really labored and I grew concerned about what we were going to do when he could no longer go outside because of the cold weather.

Occasionally I would even talk about him on my Twitter account, including posting some of the pictures you see here. I took him for car rides a few times and pretended that he was the one driving.

The End.

It was Thursday, just a few days ago when I noticed he was panting to breath. I learned Friday at the vet that cats, unlike dogs do not normally pant.

Thursday night was the season premier of Grey's Anatomy, a favorite show of ours, and we decided to bring Puddy into the bedroom with us, which he is normally not allowed to be in.

The show was about dealing with death of a friend and loved one and the grieving processes that different people go through. Looking back on it now, I see how this was a preparation for Friday and this weekend.

That night, Puddy did not want to eat his medicine, and I realized that he was not eating much at all the last several days. Part of my night time routine was to give him a 1/2 can of canned cat food and he was not eating it this week.

Friday Kathy left for work before me and got home before me too. When she returned home that day, she knew that this was the end. She saw Puddy laboring to breath, never complaining, continuing to be loving, wanting to be around people but barely able to survive.

At 2:30 Friday she called me to tell me she had an appointment with the vet at 4:15 and as we talked, we knew in our hearts that this was most likely going to be the last trip to the vet for Puddy.

I finished my work project and headed home, where I found Kathy and Puddy. He lifted his head to see me and then I picked him up and held him as he rested in my arms. I knew what we had to do unless the doctor could tell us he would get better, but we knew we could not prolong our cats life for our own sake.

You never realize how attached you are to your pets until you go through what we just have.

Along with my friends and family that we have talked to in person or over the phone, I also want to thank some of my Twitter friends, some of whom I have never met face to face yet who expressed their condolences.

And of course we are grateful for the past several years that we had our Puddy who was much more than a cat.

1 comment:

  1. Needed a tissue for this one... thanks for the lovely story. Hugs.