My Cat Died

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OreoOn Friday, June 12, I buried one of my best friends.

For nearly 18 years of my life, Oreo and his brother, Kit (my other cat) have been like members of my family.

They lived with my family (which also included the mom and dad cats) throughout my high school days, and then moved around a little among us as my sisters and I went off to University and entered adult-hood. For the last 7 years, however, Kit and Oreo have lived with me.

Oreo was more than just a pet to me. Before meeting and moving in with R, I lived alone. So not only did he and his brother keep me company, they also kept me entertained. Honestly, I’d even go so far as to say they kept me sane during some pretty hard times.

Oreo would have been 18 in July. I know that’s pretty old for a cat, but other than a health scare with him last summer, we never worried too much about him. He was always such a happy and friendly cat.

Since learning that he was suffering from moderate renal failure, we’ve been paying a lot more attention to him. We started off eliminating the dry food, and switching both cats to a higher-quality canned food with less protein (which is better for older cats) and made sure they had fresh water daily. This worked well for months, but just like before, they slowly became uninterested in the canned food. Switching brands, flavours, and textures didn’t really work so rather than let them starve, we brought dry food back into the mix.

We still kept a very close watch on Oreo, but none of the issues he had before returned. The only symptom of renal failure he was showing was that he was starting to get a little skinny. So, we had picked up a few of his favourite treats and had planned to introduce the homemade food back into their diet again.

But I guess we were too late.

When I got home from work the Tuesday before, it was obvious that something was wrong. But how could that be? Oreo was fine when I left that morning.

Somewhere within those 8 hours, he had become extremely lethargic and had stopped purring. Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but this cat purred all the time. Even when the vet was examining him last summer, he was terrified and shaking – but still purring.

Everything was happening so fast, we weren’t sure if he’d even make it though the night. But he held on. And somehow over the following 3 days, he continued to get worse.

He stopped eating. Then he stopped drinking. Then he wasn’t making it to the litter box anymore. Then he wasn’t able to walk for more than a few steps. Then not at all. And by the end, he couldn’t even lift his head…

Those few days were excruciating and exhausting.

We didn’t know what we could be doing for him, or what we should be doing for him. We kept him comfortable, kept offering him food and water, and of course gave him lots of love and attention. But was that enough?

We were continuously saying our goodbyes to him any time we left the house, or even left the room. That was hard. But going to bed at night was torture – not that either of us could really sleep. Every noise woke us up, and then we’d debate whether or not to get up to go check on him. If we did, were we really prepared to deal with the probable bad news in the middle of the night?

Are you ever really prepared to deal with something like this?

I guess in a way I’m glad that it all happened quickly. Of course I wanted Oreo to live forever, but not if he was suffering. Those 4 days were so hard on us, I can’t even imagine what it was like for him. Nor can I imagine what it’d be like if it had gone on for days, weeks, or even months.

I’m also relieved that it happened naturally. I honestly don’t think I could have made that decision, let alone actually go through the motions of doing it.

Instead of his last moments being a stressful car-ride (he hated those) and an even more stressful visit to the vet, he went quietly in the comfort of his home, with R and I by his side.

Oreo was the best cat anyone could ask for. I’m lucky to have had him in my life.

I miss you, little buddy.

 

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20 thoughts on “My Cat Died

  1. Money Beagle

    Sorry to hear that. We lost one of our cats about two years ago and she was 17. Much like yours, she had problems that we knew about, but she kept going with everything being fine, until one day it just wasn’t. She just stopped eating and we knew. I think cats are able to mask many of their symptoms from us (and likely from each other as a survival mechanism when they’re in the wild) until they simply no longer can. It sounds, though, like you had a wonderful 18 years, and now you have memories that will always be there.
    Money Beagle recently posted: Thoughts As I Followed The Ambulance To My House

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    1. Amanda

      I think you’re right about cats. My other cat didn’t seem to realize anything was wrong at all. And of course, in retrospect, there were a few more signs then we realized. Thank you.

      Reply

  2. Debbie Quick

    I’m so sorry for your loss Amanda … I have to admit, I only skimmed this post and it was really hard for me to read, because it’s the same thing that happened to Sylvester (kidney failure), so I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes … even 3 years later. With him, I knew it was over when he was sleeping between Chris and I in our bed, and he had peed and not moved from the spot … it’s never an easy thing to go through losing a pet, especially this way and I’m sorry you had to go through it.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      Thanks so much Debbie. And for helping me out last summer when he first got sick. I don’t blame you for skimming it – I burst out in tears several times while editing this post (not to mention the writing it part…).
      Oreo did the same thing the day before he passed – he was laying on the couch in his own urine and didn’t move. That’s when it really hit me.

      Reply

  3. Cece

    So sorry to hear this. It seems as though it was time and I agree that it would have been terrible to have to make “that” decision. He lived a long happy life!
    Cece recently posted: What I’ve Been Up To

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    1. Amanda

      Thanks, Cece. 18 years is almost 90 in cat years, so yes, it was a long and happy life for him :)

      Reply

  4. Michelle

    I’m so sorry to hear about Oreo. I can’t imagine losing a pet, as like you I am very attached to mine and see them as a family member.
    Michelle recently posted: Mid-Year Checkup For 2015 – Why It’s Important To Check On Your Goal Progress

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    1. Amanda

      Thanks, Michelle. Pets totally are family :)

      Reply

  5. Brandy

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Reply

  6. catherine

    I’ve been through the exact same thing with one of my cats, so tough :(

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      It is so hard. Thanks, Catherine.

      Reply

  7. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! We had to have my cat put to sleep in October. She was my first pet, and she was a lovebug like you’ve described Oreo.

    I got her when I was on disability, and she kept me company during the loooong days of being at home doing nothing. She was the sweetest thing ever. Sometimes she’d start purring when you looked at her.

    When I got back from FinCon, I noticed she was a little lethargic. A couple of days later, I noticed she was breathing pretty hard. Turns out she had fluid around her heart. They said they could take it out, but the surgery was dangerous. I confirmed that it wouldn’t actually fix the problem, just buy her more time. So we took her home, convinced we still had a month or more with her.

    But she didn’t purr, and had to stop and rest halfway through the 10 foot trek to the food bowl. I had always promised myself that I wouldn’t keep a pet alive for my own selfish reasons, and she clearly wasn’t enjoying life. So three days after the diagnosis, we took her in and had her put to sleep. Then I went out to the car and bawled my eyes out. And then again at home. And yeah, a little as I write this. Dammit.

    We have a second cat, and, despite Patches being more Tim’s cat than mine, it was a lot more helpful than hurtful. So I hope Oreo’s brother helps while you heal.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted: Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

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  8. Melissa

    Oh my gosh, Amanda, I am so sorry for your loss. Pets ARE family, and their deaths are hard too. I am happy to know Oreo died peacefully at home though – when you put it like that, I would hate to take my cat to the vet to be put to sleep. Our cats hate car rides and hate the vet, so what a cruel end it would be for them. Ugh, I can’t even think of that right now. Lots of hugs to you!
    Melissa recently posted: How to Help Others Beat the Heat

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  9. Colleen

    So sorry :(

    Reply

  10. The Asian Pear

    Sorry for your loss Amanda. Oreo sounds like he was a great kitty.

    Reply

  11. Jana @ Jana Says

    I’m a little late reading this, but I’m so, so sorry. I know how hard losing a pet is and it sounds like you did all you could for him. They really are members of the family and their loss is significant. Hope you’re doing a little better.
    Jana @ Jana Says recently posted: The ABCs of me

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  12. Chonce

    So sorry to hear about your cat! My family cat passed away when I was a teenager and it was rough for us. I definitely consider pets a part of the family.
    Chonce recently posted: How Are You Investing In Yourself?

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