Today, I Lost a Part of Me

This is a hard post to write, but one I have been thinking about for the past week. I guess I just had a feeling that a chapter in my life was about to come to an end.

Tonight at 8:40pm, I held my cat (Oreo) in my arms as she quietly fell asleep, then passed away.

My cat has been an important part of my life for 20 years which is more than half of my own lifetime. She has been with me when I was young and stupid, to when I was still young and a little less stupid. She was always right beside me through tough times, heart ache, good times and everything in between. A silent shoulder that I leaned on and relied on.

I have been crying now for the past four hours, and I’m sure that the coming days will bring more tears.

Over the past six months, she has been very slowly losing weight, and in the past couple of days, her back legs just don’t seem to move properly. I have been afraid to take her in to the vet because, as my husband put it, at 20 years old, what isn’t wrong with her. I turned to the internet and looked up everything from cancer to articles about diabetes in older cats. Then I decided that since it looked as though I was going to lose her; the least I could do was fight for her and look her monster straight in the face. If she was hurting, or dying, I needed to know why. If I woke up one morning and she was gone, I would forever wonder if there was something I could have done.

So today, I took her in. I cried the whole way there. I knew she wasn’t coming home. Somewhere inside, I knew I was saying goodbye. I had moments where I thought she might be fine. Maybe it was an easy problem that had an even easier solution.

The truth is, after speaking to the vet, there really wasn’t much wrong. She was actually a very healthy cat for her age. But what was wrong was a biggie, and there was no running from it. Everything else came back fine, except for her kidneys. She had kidney disease, and it was progressing to the point where she was starting to suffer some serious complications.

Then came the options, and the guilt with the possibility of choosing the wrong option. It took me a long time to decide, but in the end, I chose to euthanize her. I won’t post any justifications for my decision here. We all need to make our own decisions and be good with them on our own. I will say that it is the hardest decision I have had to make in my life so far and one I will think about every day.

I sat with her for a while before making the decision, then I sat with her for a short time before it happened. I told her everything I wanted to say to her. Then the vet came in and sat beside me. I held her in my arms, kissed her head and told her I loved her, then she was gone.

After, I sat with her for about 20 minutes and held her in my arms. I talked to her a little bit more, then I let her go. She will be cremated with a blanket I made for her years ago, and will come home with us soon.

I had 20 wonderful years with her and I still found myself wanting more time. No matter how much time we have here, it is never enough. I had to remind myself about when she was 17 and winter set in. I remember wishing that she would see another summer, and she got to see two more. I need to count my blessings, but it is hard to not want more time.

I will miss you every day Oreo. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Sheri Landry
Sheri publishes, and writes at This Bird’s Day where she shares all of the thoughts in her head without the voices. Sticking mainly with content for Canadians, Sheri shares family stories, product information and anything that fits into her (and her family’s) daily activities.
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15 comments… add one
  • Eileen Mar 12, 2012, 1:51 pm

    I’m so so sorry you had to let your beloved cat go…it does sound like the disease was getting the best of her and we all know that a painful ending to what sounds like a wonderful life with you is not honorable or fun for any animal. I would have done the same Sheri.

    In fact, we have a 10 year old dog who has been through the worst of times with me (with illness and sadness and loneliness in giving up things like a career and most activity), and the BEST of times in growing up with our kids. My youngest is 12 and does not remember a day without her. She is full of tumors and some arthritis hits her on bad days, but for the most part she plays and runs and acts like a puppy a lot yet. I do know that she will succumb to what ails her someday, but for now we talk about her possibly getting two years or so of life. I hope and pray it is quality life and she will not suffer. Animals are the friends who offer unconditional love, are the one we can cuddle with when we are happy or sad, and the ones who only wish to please…taking so little. I was “talking to” Liberty (Libby) the other day as I gave her a bath and haircut and she was pained sometimes when I touched certain areas that are tender. I just want her to know how much she means to me, and some find that silly to talk to a pet, but I do believe they understand…even in the WAY we talk to them…gently, softly and wholeheartedly. I am sure Oreo know how you felt.

  • Heather Mar 6, 2012, 9:15 pm

    :( We lost a cat to kidney failure too and it was a horrible thing to see – he was only 10 but we also chose to put him down because a ‘natural’ death from failing kidneys would be pretty horrible. You did the best for your friend Sheri. ((HUGS))

  • Jackie Mar 2, 2012, 11:01 am

    I have had pet rabbits my whole life and not everyone realizes what great pets they can be – I had two of my own, Peewee and Chloe, living with me in Manhattan. They were a bonded pair, very much in love. Four years ago, Peewee was infected by a parasite that affects the nervous system (its basically like a stroke) which they don’t always recover from, and Peewee did not. He pulled through and adapted to his condition and lived happily with the love of Chloe. We think she kept him going as long as he did. Last Tuesday at 1am, I heard a lot of noise which is not unusual since they are nocturnal, but something was strange and I got up to see what was going on and Peewee was on his back, having a seizure. When I went to get him, he bit me (which he has NEVER done) and I knew something was terribly wrong. I went to the vet first thing in the morning after being up all night with him, knowing that the outcome was not going to be positive. I had to make that tough decision that day and have been heartbroken since.
    Pets truly do bring so much love and happiness into our lives and you’re right – no matter how much time we are lucky to have with them, it is never long enough.
    From one animal lover to another, I am so sorry for your loss and my heart is with you. I hope Peewee and Oreo are on a sunny beach somewhere, hanging out together :)

  • Sheri Landry Sheri Feb 29, 2012, 9:15 pm

    Thank you so much everyone for your supportive words. I am touched by your support. I have my moments and I need time to mourn and process everything. You are all so wonderful to take the time to post a comment.

    Also a big thank you to everyone else who took the time to message me or email me. It was greatly appreciated.

  • Kristi Feb 28, 2012, 11:42 am

    Sorry to hear about Oreo. I had a cat once named Pickles a Himalayan, full of personality, just like yours. One night he went out and never came back. We believe the coyotes got him. Your post is a nice tribute.

  • Jennifer Feb 28, 2012, 11:13 am

    So sorry to hear the news about oreo. I like to think that as we let one soul go it makes room for another. Kind of like opening the door. Thinking of oreo today!

  • Mom & Dad Fuller Feb 28, 2012, 10:25 am

    We are so sorry to hear about Oreo. She has had a good long life. We have so many good memories of her, one in particular, Dad will always remember having to hold up a lawn chair to the roof of the garage to let Oreo jump on it so she can come down. Boy did she have him trained! We will miss her.

    Hug & kisses.

  • Orangeheromama Feb 28, 2012, 9:28 am

    awwww Sheri. I am so sorry :(
    (((hugs)))

  • silvia Feb 28, 2012, 8:44 am

    I have had the joy of having had a couple of cats in my life and also the sadness of seeing them go as well. It is a hard thing to go through but it does get easier with time. My thoughts are with you.

  • Frank Landry Frank Feb 28, 2012, 8:08 am

    This is a wondersful, heartfelt post. Oreo will be deeply missed.

  • Cheryl Feb 28, 2012, 8:02 am

    Oh honey, I’m so so sorry. Our cat is very much our family as well and although she’s only 2, I worry about the day we have to make a similar decision. ((HUGS))

  • Soozle Feb 28, 2012, 7:40 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Oreo!

    Reading your post honestly brought tears to my eyes – I experienced the loss of my dog (that I had from my teen years) a few years back and know how painful the experience is. No matter what anyone may say, pets become a member of your family, and that loss is tremendous.

    <>

  • nancy Feb 28, 2012, 7:18 am

    I feel your pain. I am sorry for your loss.

  • Nichol Feb 28, 2012, 5:15 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Just know she had a long healthy life with all of you. Big hugs to all of you.

  • Michelle jadaa Feb 28, 2012, 4:09 am

    Im so so sorry for your loss.We have 3 cats and a dog,i call it my house full of love.Those that dont have animals dont realise that each furbaby has their own personalities and are full fledged members of our family……Gentle hugzzz….Michelle J

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