Sunday, October 05, 2008

the toughest love of all...... 2 cats


Tough love...... now I really know the meaning
of it.

Yesterday my cat Tootsie got to the point where
she could no longer walk. She may have been
that way even on Friday, as I'd not seen her move
around since Friday morning, but that was not
unusual. She always had one or two places that
were "her places", and rarely moved from them
once she warmed them up as her territory.

Last night, she crawled to get to the litter box.
That's when I knew it was time.

My cat Travis, was not eating. His tumor was
larger now in his lower jaw, and he still refused
moist cat food. He kept trying to crunch the
dry food in his mouth, but had too much trouble
cracking it, since the tumor took up more room
in his mouth than previously.

In the past 2 months, he had lost 4 of his 17
pounds, and was not eating well. I knew it was

This morning, I took both of them to the Vet.
It was obvious it was time for Tootsie, as she
was barely even responsive by this time, and
gave no resistance even to being put in one of
the carriers. She felt that bad.

Travis was having a better day today than he
did yesterday, so I almost felt like I was rushing
him a bit. However, tomorrow may have ended
up being one of his worst days, it was that sort
of up and down anymore.

The Vet was so empathetic and re-assuring. It
was the right time. It was the right thing to do.
For both of them. Though Tootsie was beyond
having any quality of life at that point, so was
Travis in reality. He just still acted more "normal"
than her. However, he had known something
was not right for a long time, as he kept trying to
rub up against stationary hard items, to move
that growth out of his mouth. That of course,
did nothing. He'd then look at me as if to ask,
"help me, Dad". There was nothing I could do
but be there for him, and love on him. There
was nothing to do for him medically, as it was a
cancer that has no cure, and is quite invasive and

Both of them had a wonderful life. 17 years each.
They had moved numerous times with me, and
each had been to the lake house as well. Travis
had been going with me most of the time the last
several months, just as Tamara had done before
she went to cat heaven in July.

Some of the readers here knew Tootsie. She was
my 6 toed Hemingway psycho crossed eyed kitty.
She was not the most sociable, with humans or
with other cats. However, as she aged, she did
indeed mellow. After Tamara passed away, Tootsie
took over as Travis's buddy. Another reason for
it being appropriate for them to go together.

Travis, was the first of these last 5 that I had gotten.
I adopted him for Tess to have a playmate. However,
she was already a mature cat, and he was a kitten.
That's what prompted me to get "one more" kitten
so Travis could have a same aged playmate. That
led to "several more" instead of one.

I know as a "parent", one should not have favorites.
Each cat has been a favorite in some way, so it is
spread around. However ,with Travis being the
eldest, the first acquired, of these 5, he was just a
little more special. His nickname was "Bubba",
and he was the only male of the group, yet the most
easily scared of the group. It's going to be difficult
to watch TV at night, as he will no longer be there
on my lap, or snuggled right up next to me. He was
my OSU orange cat. At least OSU won their football
game the night before against Texas A & M.

When I first got Tess, 26 years ago (?) or so, I had
also adopted her brother, Danya. He however, had
Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Upon the Vet's
recommendation, I took him to Texas A & M, where
they kept him, and did all they could do, but it was
not enough. He never had much chance, and died
still very young.

Travis went to OSU's Vet Learning School back in
July, after the tumor had been discovered by my
local Vet. The only alternatives were to do nothing,
and let him enjoy what time he had left, or to do
surgery to remove his jaw and then do chemo, but
without any guarantee it would prolong his time
very long. Plus, being already 17, the surgery itself
could have been too much for him. So I made the
choice then, to take him home, and just enjoy his
time of a few weeks to a few months. He made it
2 months after that, and I spent a lot of time with
him knowing time was precious.

I really though Tootsie would outlast Travis. We
knew she had the degenerative hip, and that it
was 20% of what it should be. However, she had
been on pain medication for so long for the hip
and arthritis, that it just seemed it would go on
forever. She really had some of her best days just
a few weeks back, when a change in her medication
seemed to really perk her energy level up. That
lasted a few weeks, until the last several days.

10 years ago I had 6 cats.

Tess passed away about 10 years ago at age 16.
I lost Allie November 2006 when she was 16,
and then Tamara in July when she was 17.
this year, and now Travis and Tootsie today,
both at 17.

I do still have Aggie, who is now 17. As of today,
she is in perfect health. She had a checkup early
summer when the others did. She's already
lived longer than her mom Allie did. Aggie does
not have diabetes like Allie did, so that may allow
her a few more years, or many more years.

The decision to take these cats in this morning,
was the first time I'd had to make such a decision.
The others had died naturally, always though in
the Vet's care at the time.

It's not an easy decision to make that choice. To
decide it's time to end the life of a living, breathing,
warm blooded, loving companion.

However, given the choice of doing that, or watching
them suffer, the choice I made, was indeed the one
I can live with. They passed on with dignity, and
much less suffering than could have been the case.

My house, already seeming more empty without
the earlier cats leaving me, will be even more so
now. Once I left the Vet's this morning, I drove
directly to the lake house. Seemed like it took three
times as long as usual. I just could not go back home
right away, though I will be back home tonight, as
Aggie is still there, of course.

Loving and losing is such a tough process to go
through. However, it still beats the prospect of not
loving at all.