Let me warn you, if you are an animal lover, this will most likely make you very sad. I'm crying as I type this and I have been for most of the day and not afraid to say that, but I'm hoping that through expressing my feelings as I am experiencing them, that this will help with my healing process, because right now the pain and sadness is pretty tough. I'm hoping the sadness is replaced by all the great memories as time goes on.
I had always dreaded the day when I'd have to make the gut wrenching decision to put a pet to sleep. We had 4 fuzzy babies and I knew that day would probably come, but I just tried to forget about it and just hope they would live forever. If I thought about it for too long, I would briefly cry and then I'd go hug them and tell them they have to live forever, but unfortunately that's not how life works.
|All four fuzzy babies|
We were on our last day of vacation in San Francisco and our pet sitter called Friday night to say our kitty Stinky had been throwing up. This wasn't completely abnormal, but something to be aware of. She had gone back to our house a 3rd time at 11pm that night to double check on him because she was concerned. The next morning she brought him into our vet and they gave him fluids and could not get his insulin levels down. He was diabetic since around 2002. So I immediately thought Pancreatitis, since he had that issue once before and it commonly re-occurs in pets that have had it once. That basically means that your body is not producing insulin and your glucose levels remain abnormally high, which is especially problematic for a diabetic. They treated him all day and the pet sitter brought him to the Animal ER at night and they could not get his glucose levels down.
|They were always best buddies, together the longest|
|Waiting in line for water|
The main decision came to us when we went to see him for the first time after being back from vacation, at approx 10:30pm last night. He was lying under a blanket hooked up to IV fluids and was not very responsive at all. He would look up but could barely lift his head. He wouldn't respond when we called his name and hugged and pet him like he normally would. We knew right then that we couldn't put him through that any longer.
|All sprawled out|
I actually had moments of peace shortly after, knowing that we did what was best and I was able to say something funny and laugh, but that has been followed by extreme bouts of sadness and pain knowing that he won't be coming home. His health has been on the decline and he hasn't been his full self for about a year though, so we truly know deep down inside it was time, but man, this is so hard.
Any mention of his name or thinking about him and I can't help but breakdown. He was such a special kitty to me and was there for me through so much. I stole him from my mom's house one day back in I think 2000. I met my wife in 2001, so he'd been with her for almost all of that time as well and he would sleep on her hand next to her pillow, so it's been very difficult for her as well.
|All the boys chilling on the bed with Marla one day, Stink on her arm|
Let me breakdown how he came into my life and everything we went through together.
He was a cat that wandered around my parent's neighborhood and was cared for by various people, but didn't have a permanent home as far as they knew. He was super affectionate and I knew right away I was taking him home and I truly believe I was meant to have him. With everything he went through, I don't think anyone else would have given him the amount of care and support that we have over the years and I truly believe he lived a better life for it. I found out later his name in the neighborhood was Peanut, but I didn't know that and affectionately called him Stinky. That was because he suffered from stinky breath, but that was no reason not to love him! ;)
He was such a trooper, always taking everything in stride and pushing on through whatever came his way. And that was always what I admired about him. Nothing would bother him. We went though so much with him. He developed diabetes in 2002 and while it was unexpected and a bit scary to have to give him shots, we quickly got over it and he didn't miss a beat.
|He even tolerated antlers, but not for long|
My wife and I moved to Florida in 2003 and we had our first crisis. We didn't realize that he wasn't eating a normal amount of food on the trip down and he was still getting his regular insulin. We arrived at our apartment, unpacked some stuff and left to go shopping. We came back and were horrified to find he had gone into diabetic shock at some point when we were gone. Luckily we had passed a vet on our shopping trip and it was 2 minutes away and they quickly recognized the symptoms, gave him a sugar substance and he quickly came out of it. That was one of the scariest moments we experienced and it had happened 2-3 times since then with one bad bout recently. But he rolled on through and was fine a day or two later.
|Getting some fresh air|
Back in I think 2004-5 one of his toes started to swell. Issues with toes/feet are common for diabetics and we ended up having to have his toe removed. Again, didn't miss a beat, it was more traumatizing for us than him.
|Sniffing the fresh air with Poker|
Around that same time, his gums got a bit red and started to swell, which was basically gingivitis. That would explain the reason I called him Stinky to begin with. The vet told us that they've had great success removing teeth from cats and they usually recover remarkably well. He had several problematic teeth removed and eventually they recommended just removing them all once and for all. That was a very tough decision. Diabetics take more time to recover, but we know his teeth were bothering him so we did it. That was one of the best decisions ever. Again, after a regular recovery time, he was better than ever! Apparently cats rarely chew their food, so their teeth really aren't essential. And miraculously, he was stinky no more! His breath was completely neutral from that point on.
|Hanging in the sun with Monkey|
He always had SoftPaws on, which are are plastic covers that go over their nails so they won't scratch things. That was mostly because he loved to paw our faces at night. We would change them out based on the season, but the favorite color was blue. You can probably make them out in some of the pictures. He didn't mind it one bit and wore them well!
I am thankful for all of the great memories we have and for him being there for me for us for so many years and I'm sure he is grateful for finding us and getting so much care and love in return. I will do my best to try and focus on all of the good times we had and be grateful.
|Getting some sun|
I am glad we have 3 other kitties to help lessen the pain. Unfortunately we had to bring 2 others to the vet last night and today also while all this was going on, but Poker should be good once his one med dosage is adjusted and Sage most likely has a urinary tract infection due to getting stressed out when we go away. It's happened before, so it's just something we'll have to contend with.
|His favorite spot and mine was with him laying on my arm in the chair|