It has been a hell of a day. Late last night, or early this morning in all actuality, Smoky died in my arms. He was twelve years old.
Geoff and I had spent the better part of Friday nursing him back to health after he’d taken a turn for the worse. Saturday he seemed better. A lot better. So much so that I called the vet and left a message telling them that I didn’t think the end was nigh and that we could cancel the 3:30pm appointment I’d made on Friday afternoon. That appointment was to be Smoky’s last.
As it turns out he wouldn’t have made it to that appointment.
Last night as it grew later it became obvious that he had stopped eating again and that he had no interest in taking his fishy noms (medication). His breathing had also become labored and his ribcage was very swollen. Shortly after midnight Geoff and I decided that we needed to get some of his medication into him. We loaded up the two syringes with his liquid meds and a pill popper with lasix tabs in the hope that something would get into him.
In the process of medicating him he had a heart attack and died.
Was he in the arms of his parents and at home when he went? Yes. Was he probably upset at us for trying to pill him? Yes. Did he go quickly? Yes. Did my heart still break in tiny little pieces? Yes.
I carried him down the hall to the bathroom and tried CPR. (Yes, I know pet CPR and if you have a cat or dog, so should you.) Nothing, he was well and truly gone. It was like a candle that had guttered out in two quick bursts. The light in his eyes was gone and it was then that I knew my baby was dead.
Smoky had been with me since he was six weeks old. He had been mischievous, a downright pain, skittish, and difficult. But he was my baby, my little fuzzball who at first fit in the palm of my hand. My first kitten. My tuxedo cat and my crazy darling and I loved him. I still do.
He moved through six different apartments with me. He was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when he was 3. I was told at that point that he could simply drop dead at any time. A couple years later he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We controlled that with medication for a long time, but eventually that made his heart worse and then caused congestive heart failure. He had a Thyroid Storm about 6 months ago that should have killed him but didn’t. He survived it and his thyroid ablation and was the happiest in the last 6 months that he’d been in a long time. He turned into a lap cat and got even more cuddly and social in his old age. He beat the odds by 9 years.
Geoff took Smoky’s body to the vet this afternoon. His body will be cremated and will be returned to us in a little wooden box and he’ll take his place up on the shelf next to Geoff’s dachshund, Lucy. We just found out that it will cost about $150
and we don’t know how we’ll pay for it, but we will find a way and my Dad has offered to cover the cost. Thanks, Dad. I know that his spirit is elsewhere and that he’s finally free of his sick and malfunctioning body and I’m happy for him in a way. But the gut wrenching realization as he lay in my arms last night… that will stick with me for a long time.
The other animals all had a chance to sniff him before we tucked him away in the box in which he’d take his final journey. Rerun, interestingly, had the most trouble with it. All of the others understood. Bucky did not, per usual, call for Smoky last night after we’d gone to bed like he usually does. He simply retired and went to sleep.
Donations in Smoky’s memory can be made to the Angell Animal Medical Center where he received such stellar treatment from the I-131 staff.
Thank you to all of you who were there for us through this last year with him. Thank you for your good wishes and your love and support. Geoff and I cried ourselves to sleep last night and we will probably do the same tonight, but we know that he’s not uncomfortable anymore and that somewhere he’s eating his fill of tuna fish and drinking a bowl of milk.
~Kelly, Geoff & the kids