I lost a dear friend on Wednesday, November 5. We lived under the same roof for over two decades, and the fact that he wore fur and occasionally killed and ate rodents in his youth did nothing to detract from our bond. I’m talking about my cat, Tuxedo.
I first met Tuxedo when he was six months old, and I was thirty. Irene and I had been living on our acreage East of Sherwood Park for a couple of years, and decided it was time to add to our furry family. We went to the SPCA in Edmonton, and Irene had already picked out a funny-looking, emaciated female cat who had recently given birth (Sasha). I was still wandering about, and walked past several cat kennels when I felt a tug on my arm. A small grey and white paw was reaching out between the bars and had caught my shirt: I looked in this child-cat’s eyes and couldn’t walk away. I unlocked the bars of the cage and took him in my arms, and that was that. Tuxedo, née Sylvester, was mine, and I was his.
There is some debate in our household regarding whether we adopted Tuxedo in the October of 1994, or April of 1995. Either way, he was born in 1994, and to say we met 20 years ago is sufficiently accurate at this point.
We knew it was a possibility, perhaps even probable. But that didn’t make losing Jasmine at the end of May any easier.
Irene and I both noticed something wrong as soon as we came back from our week-long cruise. Jasmine looked “puffy” around her chest, and seemed somewhat disinterested and dull. After a few days, she seemed to be having problems breathing. An X-Ray showed fluid and a possible mass in her chest cavity. Fluid was drawn, and ultrasound performed. The mass was quite large, 4 cm by 2 cm, and looked like a tumor. The fluid drawn from the chest, which eased Jasmine’s breathing for only a day or so, was also tested: it confirmed the worse.
We had our kitten Harley, barely five months old, euthanized last night. His last ten days of life were full of subcutaneous fluids, forced feedings, several antibiotics, and lots of love. In the end I was faced with a decision I never want to have to repeat. Harley’s immune system was damaged beyond repair by the feline leukaemia virus and, although we had managed to keep him alive for a few extra days, it wasn’t going to get better.
Last weekend we made the decision to have our cat Bilbo euthanized. I’m still dealing with it, and probably will be for several weeks if not months. He was, after all, my friend for the last eighteen years.