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Posts: 154
I was last on these boards a couple years ago as I suffered through the aftermath of one of my strays, Mister Weird. That experience was horrific and I needed a very long time and many discussions with the people here to get me to a place where I could accept it and move around it. This place helped me so much. And now I hope to help someone out there with my story about saying goodbye to my in-home kitty, Myer.

Myer was an orange female, a stray, that hung around the office of my last job. She kept getting pregnant and having miscarried litters. When the last one nearly killed her, I decided I had had enough and took her to be spayed. I brought her home afterwards so she could recover...and she never left. Thus began nearly 10 years of companionship. She was never snuggly, never loving. Always angry, feisty, talkative (critical). I'm a redhead, too, and so we fit each other well. She stayed to herself, coming out of cabinets and boxes only to yell at me about food or something else that pissed her off. She was a character, that's for sure. She became a family member in no time. A monumental goliath that shared the house. I actually feel now that it was HER house, and I just paid her rent.

I could tell you story after story about our nearly 10 years together. I'd have you here reading for hours. But I will tell you that she absolutely hated the vets office. It was an outlandish stressor for her. She was dubbed as "violent" in her file and they refused to examine her unless she were sedated.

So. Fast forward to September of 2018. During one of my routine "attempt to love on" sessions with her, I noticed a small and hard lump near one of her nipples. I scheduled an appointment at the vet the next day. They biopsied and examined and it turned out to be a mammary tumor. They removed the lump, said it was small with clean lines, but they referred me to an animal cancer clinic. That doctor scanned and sonogrammed her from stem to stern, found nothing concerning, but he warned me that mammary cancer is insidious and deadly. He gave me the realities. (By then I had already read every article and source that I could and I knew the outlook was sad.) He advised chemotherapy to prolong life, and also surgery to remove the whole chain of mammary glands on one side. But even this option did not guarantee anything. It was simply a *chance* at it. I weighed my options and took into consideration her hatred of vets and exams. I figured that as of then, she was cancer free and looked good. So we went home.

I knew it was the beginning of the end. I think I had already on some level accepted it. But I thought I would have more time with her.

Flash forward to last Thursday. I get home, typical evening, and I notice that my baby Myer is breathing hard. Difficult, strenuous breathing. She had never acted like that before. I couldn't sit and wait for her regular vet to open the next day, couldn't watch her act like that all night, so we loaded up and went to the emergency vet. She was lethargic, limp. Her usual strong meow of anger at being put in the carrier was a sad and strangled mewl. I knew it was bad. The docs came to me and said that there was fluid collapsing her lungs, fluid around her heart, and her liver looked like swiss cheese. The low end cost of treatment was about 4K and the high end cost was 7K. And even if he drained the fluid from her heart and lungs, it could come back in 2 months, 2 days or 2 hours. The fluid was not the concern. What appeared to be lung cancer and liver cancer and lymphoma was the concern. She was already gone.

So fast. It got her so fast. I only had 4 more months with her after the finding of the tumor. I thought I had more time. Maybe not much more, but a little more than 4 months.

I made the decision to take her away before the cancer got her. She was and is mine, and every decision made about her was mine to make. I say when she goes, not cancer. I called my husband to get to the clinic because it was time to say goodbye. They brought her into us, and yet another confirmation of how bad off she was is that she didn't need to be sedated to be examined. She couldn't fight them, she was so weak. She looked dazed and sad. Her eyes, usually bright peridot green, were golden. We spent time with her, loving on her, calling her all the nicknames we've come up with for her over the years. I told her that I was doing everything for her and that she was my love. It was time.

My husband couldn't stay for it, and I do not fault him for that. I never stayed for any of my previous family pets deaths. But I had to stay for her. She hated doctors and vets and hospitals so much that I would be damned if I was going to leave her alone there when it happened. Even though I was terrified at what I might see or hear. The doctor and techs were so gentle to both she and I. They explained everything. I held her. Kissed her. And watched as the propofol went through her IV.

It was the first time in all my years of knowing her that I felt her body truly relax. I lowered her down with my hands under her and rubbed and petted and talked. She was so beautiful. She is so beautiful. I couldn't let my baby die a death of suffocation on the living room floor. I couldn't let my baby die of liver failure or heart failure. But I could give her a peaceful end. One of dignity, one that she deserved.

"Is she gone?" I asked the doctor.
"Yes, her heart has stopped," he said.

I have guilt over stopping that big, beautiful, mean, lovely heart. I know it was necessary. I know it had to be done. But that doesn't stop the guilt.

They left me alone with her, and I wailed for so long and so loud over her body. She was my absolute love, the only love that was in my house. She was the reason I came home every night. My little orange buzzsaw was gone. I made her promises. I told her things. I told her to find me again because I don't think I can exist without her. Then they took her away.

I should receive her cremains, paw print, and a bit of her hair in a week's time. It will be like losing her all over again.

I feel like time with her was stolen. Like I had a lot more to experience with her. I feel cheated.

I walk through the house, the parts of the house I consider hers, and they're like black holes. You can FEEL that she is gone. I am broken. I am so sad. I am bereft. She was my life. I didn't realize how much I loved her. And it pisses me off that cats hide so well their pain they're experiencing. I could have done...I don't know...SOMETHING if I had known sooner. Couldn't I? Made her more comfortable or...I don't know. I just don't know. She was always finicky about her food, so I didn't notice that she wasn't eating. She was always knocking her water dish over, so I couldn't watch the levels. She liked to lay by herself behind the curtain, so I didn't notice changes in her breathing. She hid it from me.

Anyhow. I just wanted to share with you my experience. She was a beautiful and gigantic part of my life and she deserved so much more than what she got in the end. I'm ok. I know I'm ok. I know that I can't fight cancer on a cellular level. I know that. I couldn't do anything to stop the inevitable. I just wish I had had more time with that beautiful cat named Myer.

I miss her so much. I will never be the same.

Posts: 167
Thank you for sharing that beautiful yet sad story. One year after losing my cat to cancer, I still can't read these things without tearing up. I have one cat still with me which sounds very much like your orange tabby. Not loving or snuggly at all and yet I adore her and keep trying to put some lovin on her everyday, just like you did. The thought of losing her some point in the future is unbearable and haunts me. I just hope it is a long way off...

Posts: 10
Tomorrow’s the day. The day that my outside kitty, Oreo, will be laid to rest. It’s that same cruel killer - cancer. He has been suffering long enough and I will be able to stay home for a while with him to tell him that I love him and to say goodbye but mostly to say that I am sorry that I have let him suffer longer than I should have. As some of you here may know, this past Wednesday I ran over my other outside kitty, Elvis, and he died. Oreo has mourned the loss of his best friend since then. Now, it’s time for him to rest easy and be pain free. I will miss my little handsomes and their beautiful tuxedo coats of fluff. After tomorrow I will have no more pets and I do not plan to have any after all of this sadness. It’s almost more than I can bare.
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