Friday, January 8, 2010

my first cat

After Sebastian had picked us out at the pound and approved of his new home, my mom and I realized that we had absolutely no idea what to do with a cat. He was a gorgeous Maine Coon - lovely green eyes, a silky coat (& curly belly fur!), big snowshoe paws, and a sweet disposition - and we were completely smitten, but we'd both only ever had dogs. We had all the requisite food, bowls, toys, treats, and litter box however the cat was now hiding under the sofa and not doing any of the expected cat type behaviors like playing or purring. Mom and I looked at each other, perplexed and a bit dismayed. We'd really hoped for purring.

"Let's call Mike," said my mom, suggesting we ask for help from the only cat person we knew.

This occurred well before we got married, but being the dutiful future son-in-law, Mike came right over to solve our little cat problem. Sebastian, who was promptly coaxed out from under the sofa with treats and petting, set about exploring his surroundings as we discussed the finer details of cat ownership. "Well, then," I thought. "This cat stuff is easy."

But I did have one more, very important, question. "What's the best way to potty train him?"

Mike grinned, picked up Sebastian, and set him down in the litter box. "There you go. Done."

"Wait, what? That's it?" I was completely flabbergasted. How could this be?

"Yep. It's hardwired."

And that was the moment I knew - I was a cat person, too.
___________________________________

Sebastian, now 12 or 13, had been losing weight and acting a bit off. A couple days in the vet told us nothing except that he was dehydrated and had a slightly high white blood cell count. Probably old age, we were told. Antibiotics, a couple days of IV, and a wait and see approach was suggested.

Late last night, we got the phone call from Mom. Sebastian had collapsed. He wasn't breathing well and his back legs weren't working.

After a hurried trip to the emergency vet and a night spent in oxygen, Sebastian hadn't improved. So early this morning, my mom chose to do the most loving thing a pet owner can ever do. It's such a great mercy for small creatures since they don't ever understand the why of their suffering, they just want to be free of it. It's a difficult gift for a pet owner to have to give.

Choosing to love an animal also means choosing to break your own heart. But, oh...that purr makes it all worth it in the end.

49 comments:

Alan said...

I think I have something in my eye...

JD said...

that is the hardest part of pets, saying good bye.

Sorry to hear about your loss. it is never easy . . .

http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

PPPP said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss Breda.

We've only had to do it once, and that was for a kitty who had only adopted us a few months previously. Angel was hard. Not sure how we'll do with the six we have now. Four of them are siblings, almost 12 years old and a couple of them are starting to show their age.

WV = humen. What it's sometimes painful being.

DaddyBear said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I have lost pets after years of love also, and it's one of the hardest things a person can go through.

doubletrouble said...

Sorry for your loss Breda.

Turk Turon said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about this. I had the same sad duty a few years ago with an aged cat, also a Maine Coon. I still miss him.

Jason Smith said...

What a handsome cat he was! You have my sympathies.

I remember when my first cat died. Besides the sadness, what I noticed the most was how a cat becomes the spirit of a home. For weeks after she was gone I still kept thinking I was seeing her out of my peripheral vision, creeping through the shadows like she'd done for years. But it was just my mind filling in the empty spaces with what was "supposed" to be there.

cd0103 said...

So sorry-- I have had to do this three times and it is never easy. You described the responsibility so well.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

,

Old Grouch said...

He picked YOU out! Those are always the hardest to lose.

Deepest sympathy.

The Freeholder said...

Breda, I'm so sorry for for your and your Mom's loss.

So many folks can't understand just how much a part of your family and your life pets become, and they can't understand just how difficult this decision and the things that follow it are. I think that they're poorer for the lack.

I've had to do this more times than I like, and know that I'll have to do it again at some undetermined time in the future. It doesn't get easier, but you learn how to deal with it better.

You and your Mom hang in there; the hurt only lasts for a while.

Lissa said...

Oh, Breda. Honey.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and so glad you got such a big sweet purry boy to love, and so grateful you and your Mom have the strength to give the last, best gift a human owes a beloved pet.

I promise Misty, Gypsy and Jolie will be waiting for Sebastian at Rainbow Bridge -- they'll take good care of him.

*hugs*

Ed Skinner said...

Maine Coon's are tops.

DixieLaurel said...

Losing a beloved pet is so hard. But loving them is so worth all the pain.

Jeffro said...

Hate to hear this news - y'all have my condolences.....

billf said...

So sorry,Breda.The hardest part of having pets is,knowing that we'll out live them.
My best friend got cancer a few months ago , and he hung in there to the end,when he couldn't follow me from room to room like he had for 14 years.The hardest thing I've ever had to consider (and then do ) I had him put down.
Best dog ever,without a doubt.

Billf

On a Wing and a Whim said...

*hugs*

I'm so sorry, Breda.

The purr does make it all worth it, in the beginning, and in the end.

Squeaky Wheel said...

I'm so sorry, Breda.

I've had to deal with both the decision of ending a pet's life and dealing with the aftermath of a sudden death...and I still can't say which is harder.

At least there's no more suffering for them.

reflectoscope said...

I'm sorry, Breda. I hope you'll share my condolences with you mom.

Jim

Roberta X said...

Oh. They are with us such a short time. Sebastian was, clearly, much-loved; my sympathy to you, your Mom and mike for your loss.

Scott McCray said...

Breda, I'm so sorry...my condolences to you and yours. The purrs do make it all worthwhile...my six little ones are sending healing purrs your way.

Tam said...

Oh no, oh God, Breda! I'm so sorry. :(

Hunter said...

Sorry, darlin'. I sincerely believe we let them into our lives to prepare us for the larger losses, the family and friends that we would have stay for all of our lives.
Laughter and tears, they appear together so often.

Hunter
Alaska

Midwest Chick said...

I'm so sorry for your and your Mom's loss. It's these times when it's truly hard to be the human.

Jay G said...

Breda,

I'm so sorry to hear about Sebastian.

Your post left me - a non-pet person - with a greater understanding of why people love their pets like they do. It's obvious that Sebastian was greatly important to you and your world, and I'm sorry to hear he's no longer part of it.

It's small consolation, but he's certainly in a better place, free from pain, where he's waiting to see his humans again...

I'm sorry...

George said...

From what you've written, Breda, Sebastian deserved his final gift. It's tough; we often cry; but it is a gift we can give to our loved pets. My condolences to you, your Mom and Mike, too.

Regards.

Mark said...

You and your Mom gave Sebastian a lifetime of love and all things good for cats. Nothing to feel sorry about. Be sorry that you won't see him again, but don't regret his life.

And remember: there are many, many more out there who also need love and warm homes.

M

HeroHog said...

Google "Rainbow Bridge". It is a poem about our Furkids and where they go when they leave us. It will make you cry but it will also warm your heart and give you hope.

I know your pain all to well but I know that you, like me, will do it all over again.

God bless.

Tombstone Charlie said...

I grieve for your loss. It's always hard-especially the big purrballs. I'll have Puddy-Tat (a previous furperson of mine) help Sebastian get oriented.
God Bless

wrm said...

Condolences.

On the upside, you now have space for a new kitten. And that's only good.

Elder daughter started volunteer work at the local animal shelter today. She (her mother, actually) would bring home 100 kittens if they could. But our addled one would pack up and leave, so no kittens for us.

*sigh*

markofafreeman said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I've got two purring friends, about 12 years old each and dread the day I may have to make that choice.

I complain about the time and cost to maintain them (one's got hyperthyroidism and they other is in remission from diabetes), but even after paying the kennel or pet sitter costs after coming home from a vacation, I'm always glad to come to home to them.

Excuse me, now, while I go spend some time with my kitties.

maddmedic said...

Sorry to hear this.
We had to do that with our youngest son's Russian Blue "Joe". This past summer. He became ill while my boyz and I were in Moose Pass, Ak on a mission trip leaving Mom, the two cats and our Jack Russell Terrorist at home in Minnesota. Joe bounced back, but began to fail again and my son and I took him to the vet. I let my boy make the decision and at 14 the hardest one yet for him. So we can relate all to well.

Top of the Chain said...

Breda, Bredamom & Mike,

I am truly sorry to hear of Sebastian's passing. I am certain he's in a better place.

rickn8or said...

So sorry to hear of your loss, Breda. It's never easy; I've been thorough this twice with GF, and looks like the third time is coming.

dr mac said...

Now why would a dog owner read about cats ? Because the writer can bring a tear to his eye. Follow your heart, kid.

sarahandmom said...

I'm so sorry - I know how losing a fur baby hurts.

Frank W. James said...

Yup, we lost our daughter's 'Sugar', a pure bred Persian, this past August. Her kidneys quit at 16 years, 8 months of age. Had to put her down. That was NOT a good day.

They NEVER leave your heart because they ARE a part of the family. There are times I think I still see her in our home.

Sorry for the loss of your family member. Cats are cool.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Wai said...

*hugs*

Bob said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Breda.

Mulligan said...

sorry for your family's loss Breda

[Hugs]

A Horse Thief said...

Breda, I'm sorry to hear about your kitty. I had to bury my wife's cat Turpentine last weekend. He was likely over 20 years old. My wife had him for 13 of those years. Known that cat as long as I've known my wife. The bed still feels awfully empty at night.

Borepatch said...

Being touched by a great pet happens so rarely, and it seems for such a short time.

Jennifer said...

Isn't it amazing how they work themselves into your heart? It's like that rumbley motor has a hypnotic effect.
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Glad for you that you had Sebastian's love in your life. Bless your mother for making the right decision even though it is so very hard.

Jim said...

I am very sorry for your loss.

We have had our cat for almost 17 years, and I know that while I badmouth 'that #@%$&* cat...' I will be heartbroken when it becomes my turn to have to make that decision.

phlegmfatale said...

I'm sorry to hear about you losing Sebastian. What an exquisite creature, and how lucky he was to have you. :)

Luke said...

I just got a new puppy even though I swore I'd never own a dog again. Losing my first dog was the worst moment in my life. I was overcome with grief. But getting a new puppy has really cheered me up. I highly suggest getting a new kitten as soon as possible.

http://i553.photobucket.com/albums/jj394/nitrotech25/Hans01.jpg

Black Ice said...

It's both the worst thing and the best thing you can do.

Too many people go to great extremes to keep their furbabies alive, but in most cases, it's a selfish act. When your friend is in pain and doesn't know why, it's cruel to let them keep suffering simply because you can't bear to be without them.

You did the right thing, and Sebastian had a wonderful life with you. My wife and I have gone through this with ferrets, and we just don't want to think about the day we'll have to make that decision with our cats.

RIP, Sebastian...

James R. Rummel said...

I'm terribly sorry to hear about Sebastian.

The Saj said...

My condolences Breda,

When I was 5 we got a pair of kittens. An organge ginger tabby and a siamese/tabby mix. Both stayed with us for many years. Eli, the orange tabby was my cat. He slept on my pillow beside my head for years. He stayed with us for nearly 20 yrs. I like to say he gave us two of his 9 lives. Losing these little furry friends is always a challenge to our hearts. But their being in our lives is worth the loss.

A good friend of mine once said that he measures his friendships by whether he is willing to bury you. No point in becoming a close friend unless you're willing to bury them. In other words, does the benefits of friendship for a season outway the cost of the loss of that friendship on the heart.

Anyways, we are looking at buying a house in the next couple of months. One of the joys we are looking forward to is to pick up a pair of kittens. My daughter will already ecstatic.

I believe every child should experience the joys of kittens in their childhood.