I have two “pet” cats who are 16 years old. They are in every respect my babies, they have been with me since they were 8 weeks old. A little over two years ago their brother died, very suddenly and unexpectedly, in his sleep. It was one of the hardest days of my life. That’s him at the top of my blog. My big brown Sammy baby. His full name was Uncle Sam and he was the most personable cat I have ever met. I loved him with all my heart, and I will forever be grateful for the 14 wonderful years I had with him.
He loved people, anyone who would touch him but especially my uncle who is allergic. Sam loved to get his tummy rubbed, he loved to barge in on you when he needed attention. He also loved to cause trouble if he thought it meant he would get attention. In his book any attention was good attention, even if he was getting yelled at. Which he was, quite frequently. While he was the sweetest cat at home–we joked that if someone broke into the house Sam would have asked the robber to pet his tummy–he was a wild beast at the vet. He occasionally had to be sedated to go to the vet, though we didn’t stay with that doctor very long. He did require staff to wear “battle gear” thick falconers gloves and a muzzle on Sam.
Shortly before he died he was diagnosed as hyperthyroid. His brother was already hyperthyroid so I figured giving pills to two cats wouldn’t be a big deal. Boy was I wrong. Sam could be difficult when it suited his needs, and being difficult for medicine suited his needs quite nicely. Oh could that cat find interesting ways to not take a pill. There was one morning I was pilling him and his brother and I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t keep doing this twice a day for God knows how many more years.” When he died I wanted to kick myself for saying that; I would have done anything to have my Sam back, even just for a short period so I could properly say goodbye to him. (I was at work when he died, I got the horrible phone call from my mom in the middle of one of the craziest and most understaffed days I can remember, then had to drive home in rush hour traffic bawling hysterically the entire time).
Losing Sam was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. Thinking back on it though, I am glad he went when he did and how he did. He died peacefully in his sleep, most likely from a heart attack. He didn’t suffer. I didn’t have to make a decision about letting him go. He went when it was his time. He didn’t have to suffer from disease or go through medicines twice daily for years on end. I was thinking about that tonight when I gave his brother and sister their sub-q fluids. I couldn’t imagine having to give Sam fluids, he would have been horrible for it. It would have stressed both of us out. It would have been too much–for him and for me. So while I miss him horribly at times, and would give just about anything to hold him in my arms one more time, I have to try being grateful for simple things. Grateful he didn’t suffer and linger in a long illness. Grateful that neither he nor I had to go through the stress of hydrating him or more frequent trips to the vet. Somehow though, this all just makes me feel guilty.