Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Jim's dad died at the end of 1996. I think it was that year that Addy began to notice the fuzzy orange cat who kept hanging around. By dint of much patience, and after several months, she managed to coax him inside for a good meal. It took several more months for him to get on her lap, but Addy quickly learned to keep a heavy towel handy, because he had very strong paws and very sharp claws, and really enjoyed kneading. In short, he often drew blood in his feral ecstasy over finally having someone on whom to lavish affection. Jim and I began to date late in 1997, and I was there for the sometimes painful process of Red's integration into Addy's household herd of ancient cats. He soon became Top Cat, and spent a lot of time sleeping with Addy in her favourite recliner, and later in the hospital bed that replaced it. He was a large, heavy, and very dense cat. He had pretty much reeked up the house by the time we managed to coax him into a cat carrier and take him to the vet. He was a mature cat when Addy got him (or he got her), which means he is at least fifteen years old.

And he is dying.

For a couple of years he has lived on gravy and tuna juice and soft cat food, because the only teeth he has left are his canines. Recently, I have noticed that he moves a bit stiffly, and, on Monday, my new next-door neighbour saw him outside and suggested I might want to take him in and have him put to sleep.

I'm still thinking about that.

He does not appear to be in pain. As of right now, my plan is to let nature take its course. Red is not sleeping much, and neither am I.

He is the last of Addy's herd of ancient cats, and the last living tie I have to her. Is it wrong for me to want him to pass in the home that she gave him? I like to imagine her waiting for him...

OK, now I'm making myself cry, so I have to go.

(Thanks for the picture, Surf!)


  1. Ronni, I think it is completely natural and fine for you to want yours and Addy's cat to die in his own home. As long as he doesn't seem to be in pain I would leave him alone and keep him comfortable as much as you reasonably can. Our 14-year old dog died at home about two years ago. It was still a painful shock when I found him, even though I was expecting it sooner or later. I have had two absolutely miserable experiences taking my animals to the vet to have them put to sleep and I never recommend that. David D knows of a vet that will come to your home and do it there, and I think he said it was a much gentler process than what happened to my pets that haunts me still. Good luck -t

  2. O dahlin! I feel for you. It's almost exactly a year since my lovely black-and-white boy got severely sick with FIV. I managed to bring him out of that attack (I found him late one night stretched out on the couch, limp and cold, and a trail of vomit and diarrhea. I'm so grateful he didn't die alone that way.) and keep him going for two more months of relative health, and then last September I had to put him down. I had him for ten years and loved him more than any living being. That's the literal truth.

    My darling, darling Stingo, the best cat in the universe, the sweetest temper, the gentlest of ways. Loved to ride on my shoulder and rub his head against mine. Would groom me. Never showed the least aggression or temper, even let me clip his claws.

    On the last day of his life he crawled on my chest in bed and licked my chin, purring.

    I'm crying now too. I loved him so much. It's taken me a year to get over it, and I'm not really there yet. I miss him terribly.

    And I agree that Addy's cat would probably die more happily and peacefully at home. If he's just old and frail and not in pain, perhaps you can just let him find his own place and time.

    I had to take Stingo to the vet because I still believed I could bring him back one more time. They had to gently convince me to put him down. I was sobbing the whole time.

  3. I'm so sorry, Ronni.

  4. now Red can curl up on Addy's lap once again. we mourn his loss but celebrate that they are reunited.
    don't cry, ronni. they are both at peace.

  5. and the posters who have left comments --- know that you will see your beloved pets again. i am quite sure...

  6. Oh Ronni. I'm so sorry. Hugs to you, gal.

  7. Oh Ronni!

    I am doing the dread day everyday too. My Frais is about there. I dont want to do the death dance and bill with the vet either.

    He is sleeping at my feet right now, and I just cried hearing the news.

    I have kept on saying that I will never have another cat because I am allergic, and he has become quite troublesome with the poop not quite making the litterbox despite the practical tiger size one I have.

    I dont even want to think about losing him. I am digging my feet even deeper under him.

  8. Ronni:

    So sorry to read about Red.
    Hang in there.