Tuesday, February 9, 2010

that big litter box in the sky

official list of things that totally suck:

1. watching your cat die.

a short list, i know.
kitty (her unofficial name) had not been doing well for a while, but it was like she had no idea she was sick. she was still purring and playing and meowing (lots and lots of meowing - - she was known for her meow) and eating (man that cat could eat). i kept telling her, "kitty it's ok to die now. you can go to sleep and just not wake up. it's totally ok." but man this cat was stubborn and she just wouldn't listen. this weekend she started to fade a bit. i would just find her standing in front of a wall just staring at it. oh, and she started peeing everywhere. one of her favorite places was the heater. we have one of those heaters that is basically a big whole in the floor (very effective, by the way) and she had started to hang out on the grates all the time. the warmth must have made her feel good. then came the pee. of course you didn't know she had peed until you turned on the heater, and then it was too late. hot cat piss would go on the official list of things that smell so bad you either want to vomit or remove your entire olfactory system. she was doing it so much that we finally got to the point that we would rather be cold than risk the smell. it was at this point that most people would probably just pull the trigger and put the cat to sleep. i just couldn't do it. she still seemed content and i felt like i shouldn't be the one to decide when kitty should die. i thought i would let kitty decide for herself, still thinking that she would just die in her sleep. unfortunately that is not how it played out. yesterday morning kitty was definitely not looking good. she was listless and weak, but still purring and meowing. i told andrew he could schedule the appointment to have the doctor come to the house to put kitty to sleep on thursday. i figured that might give here some time to die naturally, which she did. the only problem was it was a very painful process for the both of us. when we got home from dinner last night she was pretty out of it. no more meowing or purring, not even and interest in ice cream (her favorite) or mint (her other favorite). i picked her up to hold her in my arms and she was in a puddle of blood. that's when i was overcome with guilt (growing up as a jew, guilt is by now means a foreign emotion). i should have just put her to sleep when she was still happy, but i was selfish. i didn't want the pain that went along with essentially killing your cat. i assure you, this guilt is much worse. i stayed with kitty as she struggled for breath for hours. she has always been such a tough cat and stubborn and she just wouldn't die. i could tell she was uncomfortable, even though andrew assured me that cats are different then humans and it probably looked much worse than it was. ***side note. um, wow . . . and also, sorry. i just looked back and i have been droning on for a while. i'll wrap it up.
she suffered, i suffered and at about 12:30 i had to go to sleep knowing that kitty would be gone in the morning. and 2:15 i woke up and she had left and gone to that big litter box in the sky. which, by the way, i hope has a ton of litter cause this cat poops and pees a lot!! big human size poo, not little cat poo. grosssssssss. andrew was up with me and kept telling me to just cover her up. we had made a really fluffy, comfy death bed for her (depressing, but if your dying, you should at least do it in a place that is fluffy and comfy). i didn't want to because for some reason that seemed mean to me. a decision i kind of regretted this morning when i woke up an the damn cats eyes were still open and i couldn't close them cause she was completely stiff (yuck!).
well, andrew is gonna take care of the hard stuff for me today, i.e., taking completely stiff cat to get cremated, disposing of litter box, kitty food, etc. oh and also scrubbing the heater so we can have heat. so i'll leave you today with a little note to kitty.

kitty, i met you when you were 3 weeks old and you had to be the cutest thing i had ever seen. even cuter than surprise kitty on youtube. you were also a terror and totally annoying, but also totally awesome. i taught you how to talk (well, meow back and forth with me is more like it) a decision i would often regret when i just wanted some peace and quiet at 2 in the morning. you threw up a lot, peed a lot, pooed a lot, but i didn't mind, cause you were my kitty. you chilled out with me under the covers when i was depressed and shared my food with me (especially tortilla chips, ice cream and milk from the bottom of my cereal bowl). you lived a good life, 15 years, and although i always knew that you would most likely kick the bucket before me . . . it doesn't make today any easier.

ps. next time you decide to die, can you please close your eyes.

and a ps. to you. i apologize for any typos, etc. i am not rereading this, because i need to pull myself together and get on a conference call shortly. and then i'm gonna eat french fries and chocolate all day long . . . take that, diet!


jennifer said...

ugh, i recently had a similar experience with my beloved 17 year old labrador. he was my world and i'm so grateful that he died naturally, over the course of 48 hours, at home with me. i begged him not to make me have to choose to put him to sleep and he totally let me off the hook. 5 months later, it still sucks. i feel for you.

Ania said...

I'm so sorry. I went through pretty much the same stuff three weeks ago, it tears you to pieces. There's no difference between losing a pet or a close person.

vanessa joie said...

Two weeks ago I had to put my dog of 15 years to sleep. It was awful. I had her put to sleep and there was a LOT of guilt involved. Who am I to decide to end other life? Okay, I can't type more because I will start to cry. And now I need chocolate. And frenchie fries.

Emily said...

I'm so sorry. I've lost pets, too, and it's just shattering. I'm so sorry.

ingrid o said...

it's one of the absolute worst things to have to go through. i'm so sorry, jen. may you always remember kitty's purr and meow convos.

Lori said...

So sorry to hear about kitty. It's such a difficult thing to go through.

chelsea said...

Oh no! I am so sorry!!

Janelle said...

I am so sorry. Losing a pet is so hard. I hope in time you're able to find peace and comfort in the memories.

bri. said...

im so sorry for your loss jen. i love kitties & that must have been really horrible for you. i hope you eat all of the chocolate in the greater los angeles area and love every minute of it.

also, i apologize for my absence. finally today, i slept till 12 and caught up with my life again, and im in my own home, rested and ready. well, almost ready for the world to start throwing stuff at me again. i will see you tomorrow night for the partay.

i hope you have a fabulous day and drink lots of pink champagne and get lots of compliments.

here is a compliment from me:
you are really pretty & funny ( a known fact) and i totally look up to you.

keep your spirits up my dear.



Anonymous said...

Oh, I had the same experience exactly 4 weeks ago today... she too was 15 and I got her at 7 weeks old. We made her a nice death bed too... we buried her in our backyard, so she is always with us... my thoughts are with you right now... it will get easier....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Meg said...

Oh my, I am so sorry, so sorry for your loss. Much love xoxo and may sweet memory be with you.

Frau Haselmayer said...

been there, too. it's so damn hard. hugs.

Saltina said...

I'm really sorry for the loss of kitty. I hope the chocolate and fries offer some solace.

kerri said...

i hope ur ok. big love x

Amanda Waltman - Art of Subtlety Photography said...

i'm so sorry for your loss. it's never easy losing a pet since they're such a big part of your family (and you usually like them more than most members of your family). i feel your pain as i've lost 4 cats within the last couple years. my warm thoughts are with you.

Serena said...

That was a very powerful post. I can relate to losing a beloved animal. It's always hard. I don't know if I would be able to do the 'hard' stuff myself (moving let alone touching the body etc)
You seemed to handle everything very well, with dignity and calm...and so did kitty. <3 RIP

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

She will forever live in your heart...
Good luck going through this - make things that cheer you up...

Lindsey said...

i had a similar experience, as well-only mine resulted in a coyote fight:(... luckily my lab scared the coyotes off, only to leave my kitty behind... still haunts me today bc she passed away in my lap ... im sure they're in kitty heaven, though, playing with a million mice and talking everyone's ears off:)... hang in there

Kristi W. said...

so so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry!! We all share in your sadness of losing your friend Kitty; you gave her such a great life! I laughed and cried during this whole post, and this was an excellent way to honor little Kitty.

Andrea Krummel said...

i'm so sorry about your cat *hugs*

andree said...

so sorry about kitty! i just lost mine 2 weeks ago - she was a cereal milk and ice cream lover too! this quote has been comforting me:

"until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened."
-anatole france

love your blog, best to you :)

kiki said...

God. I so understand all this. i've been throught a smiliar situation.
It's painfull. So painfull.
Such a hug (even if I do not know you..)..
but watching your blog is knowing you a little though...


gary said...


Anonymous said...

Your story breaks my heart-because I suffered through my kitty's death and even though it's been four years I still cry over my beloved little fur ball. I cried the whole week before we took her to the vet to put her to sleep. I held her little paw and cried as she "went to sleep". It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do but to see her in so much pain (kidney failure) was also so hard. I had her for 19 years.

It will get better but I know how you feel.

donni said...

what a sweet kitty. i'm so sorry. i know it's heartbreaking. :-(

C T said...

I'm so sorry to read about your cat.I remember the morning that I found my poor, sickly kitty had died during the night, I was devastated. Perhaps they will frolic together in the big litter box in the sky... he was Jimmy, short for James Dean.

Actually, when i consider the name, it seems a little like fate.

Olga Fabila said...

Thanks! Got the notice yesterday of my new cat being really ill, reading your experience made me think of the way I should prepare myself through the experience I'm going to be living.
A big thankful hug to you-

Me said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. You were a good kitty mommy to take such good care of her and give her so much respect. She was a lucky kitty. I lost one of my older cats this summer. Held him while the vet gave him the meds. I have his "sister" who is elderly,too. Sometimes I wonder why we give our hearts to these dear little things that will surely cause us grief by virtue of their short lifespans. Maybe we don't so much give them our hearts. It's more like they go "Surprise! I've got your heart!"

Anonymous said...

Nothing hurts more than losing someone you love.

A few years ago we had to make the decision to have our dog put to sleep... He had been in our family for over 15 years - my sister & I had grown up with him. He really was a part of the family.

His health deteriorated dramatically over a few weeks, he was in such pain and eventually we had to make the tough decision. We all took him to the vet together - mum, dad, my sister and I, and we all cuddled him, patted him & talked to him while he was put to sleep.

It was awful having to say goodbye. I can't remember a time when I cried more than I did that day.

daryn said...

First time visitor to your blog and had to write to send you my condolences on the loss of your sweet kitty. I've been there and I understand the pain that comes with losing such a wonderful friend and pet. Heck, you had me crying over my keyboard! Just know the pain does lessen, and I am keeping you in my thoughts...

RobbieLee at Chickiedee said...

I'm terribly sorry for your loss! I lost my cat of 18 years a few years ago and just had to relive it with my husband losing his dog of 16 years. Its such a difficult time, but remember the good times and remember that you gave kitty a good life to live... with you! Chin up my dear, kitty is pain-free now... :) I wish you my best.

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry about kitty, but you know that she knew that you loved her and that is all that matters.
My sweet (and bitchy ;-))baby cat girl, Andi, was almost 17 1/2 when she passed away the night before St Patricks day in 2005. The last few months of her life, she and I spent almost every evening sitting in my great-grandmothers chair, watching TV and curled up together. She had some health issues but was still happy and just wanted to stay with me. Some nights she slept in my bed, others in the chair - that night she slept in the chair. When I came out in the morning, I knew she was gone, but I knew that she had been happy and very very loved.
When it comes down to it, that is all that matters.

Megan Hahn said...

My kitten, well he was about 6 months old, died in my arms and it was one of the most painful times in my life. I have been there and I am so sorry that you've had to go trough it too.

rohze said...

I follow your blog and its lovely. after reading everyone's comments, everyone has pretty much summed up everything I wanted to say, like how my little cat, peppers, died last month, and I cried, and how it's strangely and incredibly sad. So I'll just hope you happiness and good memories. wishing a great week for you.

Tammy Gordon said...

i both snorted and cried when i read: "next time, please close your eyes." xoxo miss you.

Anonymous said...

i love ur writing. i can connect to it emotionally.

Unknown said...

My BFF called me and asked to check out this web (your) web site. What made my fingers navigate to the blog about Kitty dying?? IDK! My "Deek" looks exactly, I mean exactly, like Kitty. Except he has no eyeballs. (Don't ask.) So now I know how my Deek would look if he had eyes from your photo. Thank you for that. BTW, the single-most awful thing about pet ownership is their passing. But I'll never let that stop me from loving my kitties! Hope things are looking up! Get off the couch and get a kitten.

Nishant said...

So sorry to hear about kitty. It's such a difficult thing to go through.
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Amy said...

My kitten had to be put down this past January. It was the unfortunate decision we had to make because he was just in so much more pain in suffering (he was dragging his behind with his weak front legs). Thinking about it still makes me cry...

Anyways, I watched him until he was gone (in kitty heaven, I like to believe). It was like night and day watching him go from loved to expressionless, of course his eyes didn't close.

It stinks losing your babies. I'm sorry you lost yours. Hopefully you are able to sleep in your bedroom again!

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Kathi Fly said...

So sorry for your loss! I just had to put my 16 1/2 yr old jack russell to sleep 3 days ago. I enjoyed reading your story. I hated putting mine to sleep and kept putting it off until I gave her a bath Sat. morning and found a huge lump. I knew it was time. As I was holding her and after the Vet had left I looked up into the sky and actually saw the clouds had opened up a little and made a heart shape and one paw!!! I knew she was jumping again in doggy heaven.

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Allison said...

how sad that you would let your kitty suffer and die a very slow and obviously very painful death, to spare your own suffering! the ultimate in selfishness, i am truly shocked.

i've read your blog and generally love your point of view, but his is beyond the pale. as a pet owner, i could not imagine putting my own comfort above that of my dying animal. you should be deeply regretful and hopefully will not do the same with your new dog.

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Unknown said...

I just found this blog. The post on kitty made me very sad. My cat Lennon died 2 yrs ago from cancer and I prayed every night towards the end that she would close her eyes and go peacefully in her sleep. I finally had to put her to sleep as she was suffering so much.
I feel your pain.
N x

Kathrine said...

My poor Stella looked exactly like your Kitty and who also passed away about 2 months ago. I am still crying about her. I am so sorry for your loss.

Take care.

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The Velvet Bow said...

That was so sad. I had to stop reading as I was about to cry. Hope you are ok.

Melissa said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate to your story with my own cats and dogs who have passed away. Loving a living creature so much makes it so much harder to let go, but giving and receiving love from them is so worth it (even though it hurts like h*ll to let them go). I know I always struggle with putting my animals to sleep or letting them pass naturally, too. I feel for you and I never comment on "strangers'" blogs, but I just had to here because this blog moved me to tears, literally.

Alice Olive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna Schmidt said...


sorry you lost your kitty. My kitty is next

Anonymous said...

Just came upon this post, very sad. The saddest part is that kitty probably had renal disease and/or thyroid and I was wondering if the vet confirmed this when she started peeing everywhere. I haven't read all of your blog, so you may have been through that for a few years, as we had with our beloved girl -- giving extra fluids and such . But I just wanted to post in case anyone else like me, finds this after the fact, and their cat is peeing and meowing. Those are often signs of those two illnesses and there are things vets can do to really help and make the quality of life good for kitties at that point. People don't have to put their cats to sleep when they get kidney disease and pee. They're just trying to tell you something about how they're feeling. Cats usually pee outside the box when they have a medical issue that needs addressing.

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Natalia Galbetti said...

Hey there, I just found your blog and I couldn't help but comment on this post. I just recently lost my kittie cat and you're right, it does suck. It's been a week now and it still sucks, but that initial pain goes away a little bit. So without trying to be totally cliche, I just wanted to tell you it gets better with time. I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you feel better soon :)

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