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Posts: 1,187
My beloved cat Rufus is at the vet right now. He has what we think is fluid in his abdomen. He has never really been sick - only had IBD about 8 years ago and that is it - and has been healthy as the proverbial horse throughout his life. 

I got Rufus to be a companion to my cat Blackie. That was 14 years ago when I was living in the Washington, DC area. He is a beautiful black short haired Manx and has the most wonderful personality - he loves people and is just the sweetest and friendliest cat you could ever imagine. Rufus has been with me the longest out of all of the cats I've had. He's been with me through several moves, many job changes and he has seen Blackie and then Squeeker and most recently Thomas join our household and then pass away. He's lived with several foster cats and always welcomed them to our family. He's been the lowest maintenance cat I've ever had, and he is always ready with a strong, hearty purr for me and others.

I think Rufus & I are nearing the end of our time together. This is so unfair. This is the world's best cat, and I did everything I knew to ensure he was happy and healthy, especially the healthy side of things. If he does indeed have a heart murmur or some kind of cancer, it will be devastating. Rufus does not deserve to be sick. He deserves to have many more years here on this earth. He is an amazing, sweet, special boy and losing him will be one of the hardest things to go through.

I know I have taken him for granted throughout the years, and I am so sorry I did that. I really hope that this is something as simple as a heart murmur or heart disease. Not that heart murmurs/disease is simple, but it can be treated and cats can live many years with one.

If it is cancer...then I know our time together is very limited and it will break my heart to go through cancer with another one of my cats. When Squeeker was diagnosed with cancer, there was a treatment we could try. But if this is a cancer of the liver or spleen, then there isn't much I can do for him other than supportive care and then release him once he lets me know he is ready to go.

And the hardest part of this is that I am coming up on Squeeker's 3rd RB Day anniversary on May 26. That was when I made the decision to release him from his suffering and let him fly on up to heaven. I really hope I do not have to make the same decision with Rufus any time soon...

So if you would, please keep my precious Rufus in your thoughts as we go through these next few days and weeks...

Thank you

- Kelly
Angel Blackie's mom
Angel Squeeker's mom
Angel and Wonder Cat Thomas' mom


Posts: 1,187
Quick update on Rufus - he has Pancreatitis. He is not doing well. Hasn't eaten since thursday so we are syringe feeding him and giving him a high dose of pain meds (among other meds) to try to encourage him to eat and keep him as comfortable as possible. He is not doing well at all, so I might next need to bring him to the emergency vet...

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers...

Thank you,


Posts: 1,187
Rufus passed away this afternoon. I want to say it was sometime around 1 p.m.

I came home early from work and found him on his side underneath my bed. He had difficulty breathing and when I pulled him out from under the bed I knew something was very, very wrong. I called his vet - she was on her way to my place to check on him - and told her I needed to take him to the emergency vet. the one I wanted to use did not open until 4. The other one I had used with other cats was beyond capacity so they could not take him. I took him to the place we went to on Friday but he was barely with us when I pulled up. My vet took his heartbeat and said it was very faint. I handed him over to the hospital vet and shortly thereafter they came back and said he had passed away.

This was not supposed to happen. Rufus was always the happy, healthy cat. He was supposed to be with me for at least 20 years, if not longer. this is unfair. It happened so quickly. My beautiful, precious, gregarious boy is gone, the victim of pancreatitis and probably something else. He died in pain. He passed away without me by his side. I could not hold him one last time and look into his eyes and tell him how much he meant to me, how good a boy he was, how much I loved and always will love him.

He is gone.

And my home is emptier because of it. 

The month of May is so difficult for me. I lost Squeeker on May 26 3 years ago. Now I have lost Rufus. And all the connections that he held are all gone. He was the last living connection to Blackie. He was the last living connection to my life out east. He was the last living connection the time we lived in the townhouse. He was the last living connection to so many memories. And now he is gone.

My heart is broken. This was not supposed to happen. He was supposed to be with me for much longer, he was not supposed to die, we were supposed to have another spring and summer and fall together exploring the neighborhood on his leash. 

My life will never be the same again now that Rufus is gone.

I will always love and cherish you, my precious boy. I hope you will go find Blackie and Squeeker and maybe even Thomas up in heaven and be reunited with them until it is my turn to come find you. then we will always be together again for eternity and beyond.

RIP, my special one. Know I will always love you for eternity and beyond. Until we meet again...

Rufus Lehr
2/14/2005 (est.)-5/18/2020
Forever loved and cherished


Posts: 1,187
I just gave the cats their dinner. I only had to fill 3 food bowls instead of 2. Rufus wasn't there underfoot the way he always was at mealtime. This is a cat that totally loved food, so whenever I went to the kitchen to feed them, he was right there patiently waiting for his meal.

It was so hard to only pull 3 bowls out of the cupboard instead of 4. And it was incredibly painful to only measure food for 2 cats instead of 3 (one of my other cats gets prescription food).

There will be other changes as well that I am dreading. He always - ALWAYS - greeted me at the door when I came home. He won't be there anymore. He won't try to sneak out the front door or the patio door to go spend some time in my yard, which means I no longer have to keep an eye on the front door whenever anybody comes over. Rufus won't be there to snuggle with as I sit on the sofa in the evening watching TV. I'll never hear or feel his strong, robust purr anymore. He won't be underfoot anymore wherever I go in the house. He just won't be here anymore.

The house is so quiet without him. it is so empty without him. I only have 3 cats now - 1 foster and 2 that are mine. I am not going to get another cat. I've lost 2 cats in the last 2 months and 3 in the last 3 years. This is so hard. I was OK with Thomas' passing and I surprisingly had a relatively easy time with Squeeker's death, probably because I witnessed his gradual decline from cancer over a 2+ month period. But this was so sudden. I had noticed him slowing down over the last couple of months. I chalked it up to old age (he was 15 years young). But then he refused his breakfast on Friday morning, and this is a cat that NEVER missed a meal and often ate my food when I wasn't looking. I took him in to see the vet that afternoon and now he is gone, less than 3 days later.

I am in complete shock at how quickly this happened. I kept asking his vet that knew him for nearly all his life if I missed something or did something wrong. She knows me very well and she knew Rufus really well. She said I am very observant when it comes to my cats, and cats are great at hiding things. So if I did not see anything out of the ordinary, then there was nothing to see. I have to trust she is right because I do not want to go down the what if path. I have to keep reminding myself that Rufus knew he was loved and cherished and I did the very best I could for him.

God this is hard. I miss Rufus so very much. My life will never be the same without him...


Posts: 1,187
It's now Wednesday which means it has been two days since Rufus passed away.

The house has such a different energy without him here. It is quieter, there is less energy without Rufus among us. I keep looking for Rufus, expecting to see him everywhere because he was, well, everywhere in the house. Wherever I was, he was there. He always followed me from room to room. Whenever I taught online lessons, he was in the room with me, either in one of the many kitty beds I have throughout the house or at my feet under my desk. I taught my first online lessons last night since he passed away. It was so incredibly sad to not look around and see him with me. 

I started knitting a memorial blanket for Rufus last night. The yarn is a deep purple, the color of his first collar. Rufus would normally be at my side on the sofa or curled up at my feet or in one of the other kitty beds in the living room as I knitted. He wasn't there last night and it was so sad and painful to not see him as I looked throughout the room at various times last night.

He wasn't there to greet me at the door when I came home from work. He had always greeted me at the door every time I came home for over 14 years. Now he is gone and the house is empty without him.

No more food to make for Rufus. No more kitty to come greet me whenever I was in the bathroom. No more Rufus at all to do anything with me. His absence is so profound after 14 years and I miss him so much.

This really sucks. It is so hard. I miss my boy. I want to give him one more kiss, stroke his beautiful, silky black fur one more time, look into his eyes one more time and tell him I love him. But I can't because he is gone.

I will forever miss and love you, my special boy. I am so sorry I did not know you were so sick. I would have done anything to save you. but I know it was your time to fly on up to heaven. Thank you so much for the 14+ years we were together. I wish I could turn back time and spend more of it with you doing the things you loved to do. If only...

Mom to Angel cats Blackie, Squeeker, Thomas and now Rufus


Posts: 12

Hi Kelly, I just want you to know your post really hit home with me when I saw your baby was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
My own baby I lost 3 weeks ago and I also had no idea how sick he truely was until he wouldn't get out of bed or eat, he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and ketoacidis diabetes and I had to make the tough decision to put him to sleep.
I wanted to tell you this so you get some comfort in knowing that it wasn't our fault that we didn't see this condition, if Rufus was anything like my Dino he was probably full of life and energy and only a few minor things looked different about them until the very last week when we knew something was very poorly. You are not alone in this and now that I've read your post I got some comfort in knowing that my baby was seriously ill and that heaven needed an extra two angels, regardless of if I wanted to let him go or not.

Please take comfort in the fact that mine also had to be put to sleep for the same reason and that we did the very best for them and I don't think if we noticed any sooner any different outcome would have come out of this.

I hope our babies are the best of friends up there, gone but never ever forgotton. 
Just wanted to share as your post gave me a lot of comfort knowing I didn't make the wrong decision in the end. Lots of love and hugs in this difficult time. 


Posts: 1,187
If anybody wants to see what Rufus looked like, I posted some pictures of Rufus in my album...Just click on my name and then go to the pictures and you will see 4 pictures I added to my album...

Posts: 1,187
It has been 8 days since Rufus passed away. 8 long, lonely and sad days. Oh how I miss my precious, special boy...

I finally ordered Rufus' urn. I also ordered a granite memorial stone that I will put next to the memorial shrub I plan on planting for him. I had actually ordered these things from a different company but they screwed up the order so badly that I canceled it and went with a different company. If they had not screwed things up, I would already have Rufus' urn and memorial stone. But I don't, so now I have to wait for probably about 2 weeks before they will arrive.

In the meantime I purchased a lovely Viburnum that will serve as Rufus' memorial shrub. It will go in the front of the house near the front door. It will be underneath my dining room window that has a window perch in it that Rufus used to love to sit on and watch the birds or watch me doing lawn and garden work. It is fitting that the shrub go there, as it will welcome people to my home. Rufus was always the first to welcome anybody to my home, so it is only fitting that this shrub will do the same and be next to the window he so loved to sit in and watch the world go by.

My life is so different without Rufus. The energy in the house is so different - I think things are more low key without him here. It is so odd to only have 3 cats to care for instead of 4. Of course for the first few years after I adopted Rufus there were just two cats in my home. Then I brought home Bud & Red and my kitty family instantly doubled in size. And now we are down to just 3 cats, including my foster Tobie. 

I am slowly starting to get used to coming home and not seeing Rufus greet me at the door. It is hard but I am getting used to it. I'm also getting used to a new routine without Rufus. I only have 3 cats to feed, I don't have to refill the water bowls so often, and Rufus is not here by my side when I sit on the sofa in the evening watching TV or working on a craft project. None of the other cats use any of the many cat beds I have laying throughout the house. I'm thinking of putting them away for now, as it is so hard to look at the beds and not seeing Rufus in them. He absolutely loved cat beds - I think I had something like 5 beds of different sizes and colors. The one he really loved was the brown and black one that I got for Blackie that Rufus claimed as his own after Blackie passed away. No matter where I put that bed, he would find it and sleep in it. I will keep that one as part of Rufus' memorial space inside my house. It is sad, but I think I will take the others and put them away, probably in one of my closets, simply because the other cats do not use them. 

Today is Thomas' Gotcha Day. Three years ago today I brought him home to live with us after his person sadly passed away. Although Thomas and Rufus were not exactly the best of friends, they got along and Rufus welcomed him into our home without and drama. Rufus was so good about welcoming other cats into our home. He accepted them all without any fuss, and he gladly shared his spaces with them. I will miss that about him so very much...

Rufus, I hope you are happy and healthy up in heaven and that you have found Blackie, Squeeker and maybe Thomas and that they have helped you adjust to your new life. Know I will always love and miss you forever and beyond. You were such a special boy, never to be forgotten and always loved. I miss you so much...

Until we meet again...

Mom to Angel cats Blackie, Squeeker, Thomas and now Rufus

Posts: 834
Your post is lovely, such a wonderful tribute to your dear Rufus. When my first dog Chico died we buried her beneath our dining room window. She loved to lay there soaking up the sunshine and keeping us safe by barking at the squirrels and dogs that dared to go by.

Posts: 1,187
I haven't planted Rufus' memorial shrub quite yet. A friend was supposed to come over this weekend to help but we had to delay that until Tuesday. So now, weather permitting, on Tuesday, June 2 we will plant Rufus' memorial shrub under the window he used to love to sit in and watch the world go by. I still catch myself looking up at the window to see if he is there when I pull into my driveway. Of course he isn't there anymore, but now I am starting to see Red, one of my other cats, waiting for me in the window. It is nice to see Red there, but it is also so sad because I know I will never see Rufus' beautiful face looking for me in the window or hear him meow to me when I'm outside working in the yard or when I'm simply outside. 

Oh how I miss my beautiful boy...

Posts: 1,187
It's been a month since Rufus passed away. The house and my life are so very different without him here. He isn't there to greet me at the door. He isn't underfoot when I prepare the cats' meals. He isn't there by my side on the sofa when I watch TV. He isn't in any of the many cat beds I have throughout the house. In fact, nobody is using the cat beds anymore and that is so very sad to see. I am thinking of putting away most of the cat beds since none of my remaining boys use them. I will save Rufus' favorite bed and might use it as part of a memorial for him...

Rufus' memorial Viburnum shrubs have been planted. I finally received the granite stone that will mark the shrubs as a memorial to my beloved boy. I have one for the peony shrubs I planted in Thomas' honor. Now I have one that will go in the garden next to the Viburnum shrubs in Rufus' honor. I have not yet put the stone in the garden - for some reason I am kind of hesitant to do so, but I will take care of it soon. 

I also have not yet taken Rufus' body in to be cremated. I wanted to wait until I had his urn, cremation necklace and granite stone before doing that. Now that those things have all arrived it is time to do what I do not want to do - bring him in to be cremated. The good thing about the place I'll take him for cremation is that they will do it right then and there and it will be a private cremation with only Rufus' ashes. I will get everything back in about 2 hours or so. It is also less than a mile away from the first place Rufus & I lived together when we moved back to Minnesota, so going there will bring back memories of our first few years together. If the weather is decent on the day I make the cremation appointment, I might spend some time walking through the townhouse complex remembering our life together there and the walks we used to take throughout the complex and in the nearby park.

Life is pretty lonely without Rufus. He had such a huge personality and was such a big and important presence in my life. I know I took him for granted, especially towards the end. But I always loved him to the moon and back and I hope he knew that when he passed away...

Miss you, my beautiful, precious boy...


Posts: 1,187
Tomorrow I bring Rufus' body in for cremation. I know it has been over 6 weeks since he died, but I wanted to do this on a day and a weekend when I had some down time and had the time to grieve some more without having to worry about keeping an appointment. So at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 3, I will hand Rufus over to be cremated. It will be the last time I will hold him, see him, feel his beautiful fur, look at his beautiful face and just physically be near him. When I get him back 2 hours later, he will be reduced to a pile of ashes stored in his urn. What used to be a cat that was full of love, curiosity and a very special and precious spirit will be no more. It hurts so much to realize he is gone and tomorrow that reality will hit home like a ton of bricks.

The cremation place is not quite a mile from the place Rufus & I lived when we first moved back to Minnesota. I think I will spend some time there tomorrow while I am waiting to pick up his ashes. I think I will walk the grounds and retrace the paths we used to take when we would go for walks. I'll remember how he used to love to walk on top of the retaining walls, how he used to let the little girls run over to him and pet him. I will remember how he and I would just take our time walking the same path each time. I'll sit on the bench in front of the rental office looking across the driveway at the townhouse we lived in. I used to plant a lot of vegetables in pots and flowers in the flowerboxes that were attached to the balcony railing. Rufus would hang out on the balcony enjoying the fresh air and watching the people and animals go by. One time he was so stealthy that he actually caught a bird that landed on one of my plants and brought it into the house to show me! The bird was not dead - Rufus had a soft mouth so he was simply holding the bird in his mouth. And when he dropped the bird at my feet to show he the prize he'd caught for me, chaos ensued as I tried for over half an hour to get the bird out of the house, LOL!

Oh Rufus, I love and miss you so much. You had such a loving, giving spirit. You were such a sweet boy and I didn't realize until you were gone just how much of a presence you had in my life in so many different ways. I am sorry I took you for granted while you were here, but please know that I loved and cherished you and your passing has left such a huge hole in my heart and in my life. The doctors say you probably had some kind of tumor that you kept hidden from all of us, and we only discovered it on the x-rays 2 days before you passed away. I am so very sorry I did not know about this sooner, and I am sorry you were in pain your last couple of days. I wish I could have done something to help you and I wish your passing could have been more peaceful than it was, with me by your side as you flew on up to heaven. As it is, I hope you are happy and healthy up in heaven. I hope you have found Blackie and Squeeker and even Thomas and maybe your kitty mommy and I hope you are having the time of your life as you wait for us to be reunited. I know I will be so happy once we are together again, never to be separated and always together once more, the way it should be.

Hugs and kisses and scritches to you, my beautiful, precious boy...

Posts: 1,187
Rufus' ashes are back home in his urn. I purchased a flameless candle and a couple of picture frames, including one that says "I loved you at first sight", all of which I have put in his memorial space. I put his urn in his favorite bed, put his collar and tags and a favorite toy in his food bowls and then put the two pictures I framed in the bed as well. It is sitting on top of my dresser. I can easily see everything when I walk into my bedroom and from my bed.

It is so very sad that a cat that was once so vibrant is now simply a collection of ashes.

It's been almost two months since Rufus passed away. I miss my boy so very much and would do anything to bring him back alive. But that is not possible, so now I am trying to move on without him. I think his passing is going to sit with me for a very long time. We were together for a touch over 14 years and it hurts so very much that he is not around to take care of, to love, to see him in the window as I come home, to feed and to simply be with. We won't be able to go for walks or car rides, and when I put his body in my car yesterday to take him to be cremated, I was so very sad as I realized that was our final car rid together...

I miss and love you so very much, Rufus. I hope you are happy up in heaven and I hope you have made some friends to play with. Eat all the food you want - I won't be there to ration your food anymore, so go ahead and eat anything and everything you want to your beautiful heart's content the way you always wanted but were never allowed to do...

Until we meet again, know I will always love you forever and beyond...

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