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unbridled

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Posts: 4
 #1 

Hellooo, I'm new here. This is pretty much just a way to cope for me. Writing this has really made me a little more at ease. Trying to remember and share the good times as well as the bad. Hopefully the good parts will make you laugh as much as I have. My goofy girl had such a sense of humor and really brightened my life. (Sorry, I didn't realize this would be so long! But it was sooo therapeutic to just write. Thank you. =X)


 
        Monday morning, the 13th of September 2010, I had to make the hardest decision of my life. My 13yr old cat Tiger, affectionately known as "Poots", has been in poor health for a couple weeks. She had always been a very small cat, and over the past couple years had been very skinny. But over the weekend, she stopped eating all together, refusing (politely, as was her way) every one of her usual favorite treats.
         She lay under my bed, only rousing when I knelt down and lifted the bed skirts to check on her. She would give me a "Yeah, Yeah, Ma. I'm fine. Don't worry about it." look, then lie back down. Once this general lethargy and disinterest in everything started, I started to really worry. I just had a feeling that it was nearing the end, so I vowed to myself that I'd take her to the vet first thing Monday morning.
         Sunday night, I was a mess. I knew in my gut what I had to decide, and what was going to transpire on the vet visit. I sat with her in short intervals as she'd let me (if I sat too long, she'd look at me and complain, she always was very particular about her alone time), as she had migrated to the family room where it was cooler and darker. It was around 3am, and I was just talking to her, discussing previous cat adventures and funny moments we had shared. I have ALWAYS heard, "When it's time, they'll let you know." I looked at Poots, kissed her on the head and said "I just hope I am doing the right thing by you." She looked at me with her 'Oh, you're so dumb, ma! But it's ok, because you're cute and I adore you.' look, and readjusted herself to put rest paw on my leg. We just sat there for a while, until she decided it was good enough, and rolled over with a groan.
        That morning, I held her in my arms wrapped in her favorite blanket as we drove to the animal clinic. She was so frail. I was trying to hard to stay steady, stay strong, so she wouldn't get any more upset. Tiger was always very upset about leaving the house. She was definitely a one-person-cat, she was comfortable with me, tolerated my parents when they had food, and pretty much hated everything and everyone else. It was always disappointing to me that none of my friends or girlfriends could understand or appreciate just how and why I loved "demon cat" (as they called her) so, so much. I let out a couple muffled sobs, and Tiger in her ever-mothering way just looked up at me from my arms with that adoring look in her poor, frail sunken-in eyes. She was so sick, so uncomfortable, but she still was trying to comfort me.
       The vet didn't tell me anything I didn't know. End stage kidney failure, only real option was to flush her system out with fluids and maybe give her another week before things got back to the same or worse. He was nice enough, sympathetic and you could tell he loved the animals, but there was a certain dis-attachment with the way he did things. The type of dis-attachment I suppose you have to develop in a job like that. (Even sitting in that sterile-smelling room with the cold fluorescent lighting, my cat brightened it up and made me smile. Unable to even sit up on her own, Tiger, in true Tiger fashion, wouldn't stop growling at the vet's assistant.)
        Tiger was my first real pet. The first pet who I could say without a doubt was MINE, heart and soul. Oh, I loved her, and she loved me back just as unconditionally. Everyone who was close to me, at one time or another, commented on the fact that "Tiger really loves you. You can tell by the way she looks at you." I suppose that's true for any pet, though. All you pet owners know 'that look'. I never imagined I could be that close to another living soul, I had no idea I had the capacity for that intense, heart-wrenching, mind-blowing kind of love. If anything, I really have to thank her for that.
        I made the decision without really realizing I made a decision at all. My cat was hurting. My poor, sweet, loving feline soul-mate was suffering and had all but given up herself. I had the power to put her at ease, so I did. As hard as it was to decide to end her life, it was even harder seeing her suffer.
(And please, anyone who's had to do that before-- Do you think they know what's happening? And please tell me it doesn't hurt them past the needle sting. She looked up, confused look on her face, as the doctor put the needle in her arm and that look haunts me every waking second.)
       We buried her right outside my window, in what used to be a little garden. I think in the spring I'm going to plant some pretty flowers, something that will come back every year. That'd be nice to look at, Tiger's flowers. I talk to her, looking at her grave. My father told me, "It's just a grave. Just a body. She's not there anymore, she's in a better place." and told me the Rainbow Bridge poem. That's how I found this place, actually. So I have my dad to thank for that. I really wish he had found this place when he lost his dog last year, I think I'll show him anyway.
       Tiger was a feral kitten and you could always tell. She was born in a barn on my grandpa's farm, and he caught 3 kittens in a raccoon trap for myself and my two sisters. I happened to pick the smallest, most vicious one of the bunch-- a tiny little pumpkin colored tabby cat with bright green eyes that were almost too big for her face. She had little freckles on her nose, and that little kitten lived under a counter in our kitchen for about a month until she warmed up to me. We used to call her a rattlesnake because whenever any of us got within 10ft of her, she'd start shaking her tail and hissing like a demon. (The tail-shaking was something she kept all her life, whenever she was excited her tail would shake uncontrollably, I always loved that.) Her purr was like a car with a belt loose, some whiskers were curled and her ears were a little too big for her head. She had the most gorgeous fur I've ever seen on a cat. Technically a short hair, but longer and luxurious-- she always paid such great attention to grooming herself. She was just as proud of her good looks as I was. Everyone always said she was a beautiful cat, but I knew she was inside and out.
        Once she warmed up to me, the bond was there and it was set in stone. She was mine and I was hers mind body and soul completely and totally and wild horses couldn't drag us away from each other. When she was small, she would ride around on my shoulders like a little bird. She got too big for that, obviously, so she settled on being toted around on my hip like a toddler; always wrapping her little arms around my neck and burying her face in my hair. She would sleep with me every night, sometimes at my feet, sometimes wrapped around my head. There was a point once we moved that she woke me up every night to escort her to her litter box, presumably because she forgot where it was (but part of me thinks just to pester me. my cat, like most, had a wild sense of humor.)
         Due to my weird work hours, she and I kept the same odd schedule-- we were nocturnal creatures most definitely. She sat with me at my computer every night, back half of her on the computer tower, front half in my lap. She would escort me to the kitchen, always helping or trying to convince me to feed her whatever I was eating. "People food is SO much better than cat food, Ma!" I do regret not sharing more with her, I always refrained from overfeeding her. If I had known I had such a short time with her on this earth, I'd have given her as much as her little belly could hold.
        She was with me always. Through the good and the bad. She comforted me when I was sad over break-ups or fights with significant others, over family issues, when I had my feelings hurt, etc... and never complained or had better things to do. She just listened, in her own cat way, and would lie with me until I calmed down sufficiently. I did my best to do the same for her. Once my grandmother put dog flea medication on her (and oh, she felt so guilty. but it was an accident, and she didn't know it could be so harmful.) After an emergency trip to the vet and two injections in her arms, poor Poots was madder than a hornet and her little arms hurt. She cried and cried, and I stayed up the entire night with her, massaging her shoulders to ease the pain. (School the next morning was a nightmare! But at least Tiger felt better. She would have done the same for me.)
      That cat shared so much with me in the 13 years we had together. Laughter, tears, good times, bad times, and worse times. We fought sometimes, got annoyed with each other, sometimes on purpose out of mischief or meanness. I miss her so terribly, and it's only been a day. I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye or hearing phantom purrs and scritches at my door. She showed me an unconditional love that I never knew existed, a love that I could not begin to deserve in a thousand lifetimes. Tiger taught me more about love and forgiveness than any book or pastor ever could hope to. I hope she felt at least one ounce of the love and devotion I had for her. I refuse to sit and regret things left undone or unsaid. All that matters is what WAS done and what WAS said. We had a wonderful life together, and even though it was short, I will always cherish that fact. These memories are all I have left now, and I swear to remember them always.
      I just worry I'll never love another soul as much as I love and have loved her.  Part of me, the part with a flair for the dramatic, wants to say "No, never! There will never be another Tiger, I'll never love again!" The realistic part of me says, "No, there won't ever be another Poots. But that's the funny thing about love, it always comes back to you in one shape or another. You can't live without Love. This shattered heart and soul will heal." Love is funny that way. You can love something with all your heart, but nothing is permanent. No matter how much we will it to be so in those complicated human brains of ours. We focus so much on our own mortality that we forget to live. Cherish life, eat, drink, and (most importantly) love like you'll die tomorrow. Our animal friends figured that out a long time ago, they're just waiting for us to be so enlightened.
      But you know, I see her everywhere I look. I saw her little excitable shaky tail in tree leaves gyrating in the autumn wind. I saw that lazy grace, as only a cat can have, in the slow soft dance of puffy clouds in the sky. Are those the good-natured comforts of a best friend in another plane, is that her way of saying 'Hey doofus, I'm still here! You can't get rid of me that easy'? I'd like to think so.

There will forever be little Tiger-sized paw-prints on my heart. I love you, Poots.
      

judesmom

Registered:
Posts: 1,901
 #2 
wow-what an amazing tribute to your darling poots.    thank you so much for sharing and thank you for taking in that little furry rattle snake that day and giving her a loving home!   i do believe that she was/is your heart kitty and your soul mate.    even though we animals lovers may have many pets in our life times and love them all, every once in awhile we are blessed with one of those extra special beings.    tiger was one of those for you.     she taught you many lessons and it seems you were astute enough to pay attention to all of that.   and i do agree with you..........there will never be another one like poots for you.    but that is not to say that you won't love another kitty or pet again one day with all of your heart.   it's just that poots will always be that 'extra special' kitty for you.       when you're up to it please post a picture or 2.  we always love to see other people's furbabies.

please come back as often as you wish and talk to all the folks here.    everyone understands completely what you are thinking and feeling.   it does us all an enormous amount of good to share our babies with others who are of a like mind.     cry with us when you feel like it and laugh with us when you feel like it.    it will help your days and your heart to be a bit brighter.

now............i wonder if poots is as feisty at the rainbow bridge as she was here on earth????  
bartinmi

Registered:
Posts: 32
 #3 
Thanks for writing down your wonderful story of Tiger.  It sounds very similar to my own.  My cat, Boog passed away in January.  I wrote most of her life story shortly after her passing, but cannot bring myself to finish it.  You were very lucky to have each other. 

You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your freind.


unbridled

Registered:
Posts: 4
 #4 
thank you both =) this is such a wonderful, supportive place!

I attached my favorite photo of her at the top of the story. It captures her personality pretty well, lol! She was a big ham for the camera.

I'd like to think she's being her usual, grumpy self, sitting and napping and doing as little as her heart desires!


River

Registered:
Posts: 262
 #5 
How beautifully written. I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. Barn cats have a special 'spunk' don't they?! I remember a tom at my parents in the country. His name was Sandy and he was a lazy cuddlebug by day and a fearless warrior by night. He would drag himself home in the morning, and we would wait to see what sort of battle wounds we would have to deal with that day. We all loved him so much. You might really enjoy reading Animals and the Afterlife by Kim Sheridan. Writing is therapeutic, and you do it so well. I hope you'll write more about Poots and I'd love to see a picture too.
nanangel

Registered:
Posts: 1,040
 #6 

{{{{POOTS and "furmommy"}}}}

                     How eloquently you have shared your words of love about your precious  Poots!!!!  Isn't it amazing how much we learn from these furbabies???  As hard as the "pain" is.....it's part of the loving.....and ohhhhhhh how much love there was between the "two of you....."

                        You are in my thoughts and prayers as you mourn your beloved Poots.

Love and {{{HUGS}}} BlakeGirl's  mommy  (Chris)


mimiluv

Registered:
Posts: 100
 #7 

 i can so understand how u are feeling! i had to make that decision to and its sooo hard... my vet told me after he gave my surfer that first shoot she was out of pain. im guesing it makes them high feeling. i was able to spend some time with her before it was time for the final injection... i will never forget watching her take her last breath but it was almost like a sigh of relief that she was out of pain. you said something about planting flowers.... how about tigger lillys! they come up every year and are orange too! hope you feel beter soon about your loss and you made a good decision... wether you believe it or not tigger asked you to being he couldnt go on his own....

judesmom

Registered:
Posts: 1,901
 #8 
that picture says it all........................

bliss...............true bliss.................
unbridled

Registered:
Posts: 4
 #9 
hello again =) i've been MIA for a bit, work with the World Equestrian Games and internet problems have kept me busy and off the internet!

I have heard that grief "comes in waves", and I guess I'm having one of those times now. I've been pretty good, but tonight for some reason i just broke down for no reason. I miss Tiger so terribly.

Much to my chagrin, last weekend my father called me about a kitten he and my mother found. I drove to my parent's house after work swearing up and down that I was NOT going to take it home like he wanted me to. I just wasn't ready. Well, needless to say I have a kitten now (It just didn't sit well with me, the idea of sending him to the shelter when i was perfectly capable of caring for him). He's tiny, energetic, and about to drive me up the wall. He's grown on me and I daresay i might even love him. But it just feels so different than it did with Poots. I understand, obviously, that I'll probably never feel the way I did with Poots with any other animal, but it's just strange to get accustomed to. I named him Tank (because he is going to be enormous when he's older, he's dark gunmetal grey and striped). He certainly keeps me company, but it doesn't really ease the feeling of emptiness I'm still holding on to. But time, I'm hoping, will change that.

I hope you're all doing well, everyone here means a lot to me and I think about you every day. =)
Mare

Registered:
Posts: 11,059
 #10 
I just read your story today and am very sorry for the loss of your precious cat, Tiger.  He had a wonderful life with you and I know how hard it was making the decision to send him to the rainbow bridge.  Saying goodbye to a precious little one takes every ounce of courage that we have inside. 

I was happy to read that you have a new kitten in your home.  A big welcome to the new kid on the block, Tank!!  What a name and you do say he will live up to it!!  You must keep us updated with photos.  Best of luck to you!!

Mare
precious Christoph ~ 2 years at the bridge ~

Darian

Registered:
Posts: 282
 #11 

Wow, I absolutely loved every word of your tribute to Poots.  I laughed out loud when you said  "Tiger, in true Tiger fashion, wouldn't stop growling at the vet's assistant".    Giver hell, Poots.   I also used to feel hurt when my friends didn't like my little guy. Captain had no tolerance for strangers or infrequent visitors.  It hurts when your friends don't take the time to realize that their unfriendliness is just a bit of fear and uneasiness.   Tiger had a fantastic life.  And to answer your question,  no they don't feel a thing after the needle sting. I've heard many vets say it is absolutely quick and painless.  The two of you shared an amazing bond that can never be broken. That's why you're seeing her everywhere.  She's still with you.

Berta

Registered:
Posts: 541
 #12 
What a beautiful and loving tribute to your kitty, Tiger. Your story is so heartfelt and touching. Your love for him just pours out in your words. It is obvious that you and Poots share a special bond and it extends the barriers of this life. I have no doubt that he is right there with you, still.

I am happy that you brought little Tank home. Of course it will be different, but having a new furbaby in your life has a way of filling a void and helping to heal a shattered heart. I wish you and Tank many years of happiness together. Keep us updated!
River

Registered:
Posts: 262
 #13 
I think you'll be very surprised that in short order you will feel every bit as much love for Tank (just love that name) as you did for Poots. Everyone who comes here has the capacity, when and how it comes about that we welcome a new baby into our hearts is just a little different for all of us. May your heart continue to heal with Tank's help.
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