Friday, July 25, 2008

Saying Goodbye to a Furry Friend

Over the years of writing the blog, I'd thought that I'd written about my friend Jill's cats. I remember composing a blog that detailed her five felines and their very different personalities once when I was cat sitting. I even took pictures of each of them to catalog. Each of them gladly complied with my paparazzi photo session, some seemed to even be mugging for me. (I need to find those pictures.)

I just went back through the pages to find it to link to my post for today. Then I realized that I wrote it, but ultimately decided not to publish it, feeling it was up to Jill if she wanted to share the stories of her cats. Now I regret the fact that I censored myself.

While I love pets of all kinds, I am most decidedly a dog fan. In your face animal over indifference or apathy any day, as far as those friends in fur suits are concerned. Couple that with the fact that I'm severely allergic to cats and it probably is a good thing. I seem to handle being in a house with cats fine, as long as I don't sleep there.

When Jill moved to Florida in 2005, I was the friend who lived nearest and was asked to cat sit whenever she traveled. Let's just say she travels far more than I ever do, but not as much as some of my internet friends. It's been an enriching experience, more for me than the cats, I'm sure.

She moved here with five cats with very unique and endearing qualities. The eldest, Shasta, a orange tabby, was the quintessential 'big whoop' cat-but he ADORED attention, the grooming brush and treats and rewarded each of these with the loudest purr on the planet. A mush ball, if ever there was one.

The most ardent cat hater would probably have done a complete 180 if they spent a day with him, because he just had this way of looking at you that conveyed "I understand you and agree 100%." In February 2007, Shasta suffered a brief illness and died at the age of 18 at home.

Last week, Jill IMed me with the news that Simba, her mackerel tabby, wasn't acting normal. She had plans to take him to the vet. The initial report was that he seemed to be running a fever and was dehydrated. He was given some antibiotics and came home.

Simba is the cat in her brood that shows the most dog like tendencies. Many a visit cat sitting involved the grooming brush and Simba leaving copious amounts of gray and white fur on my clothing while purring contentedly at getting bunches of attention. As he's only 13, I figured he had many more years of depositing white fur on my black work clothes to come.

Jill shared an update yesterday. Simba was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which is extremely rare for cats. It was the worst case that the veterinarian had ever seen. He could perform surgery and extend Simba's life up to six months. Without treatment, he'd only live another few weeks. Either scenario meant he would be in pain.

Jill made a difficult and humane decision, that she would put Simba to sleep before he endured the suffering that is to come. She brought him home from the vet to say goodbye last night. In the morning, he will be put to sleep.

Goodbye, Simba. You will be missed, furry friend.

4 People talked back:

ligirl said...

My heart is breaking for her right now. Please accept my most sincere condolences, Jill. I am so sorry for your loss.

Kristy said...

RIP Simba. Many days, our pets are much more of a family to us than humans.

Mike Golch said...

Jill, I have been there many times when each of our babies had to be put to sleed we have had to put to sleep 2 dogs and 4 cats. each one tugged at out hearts.we did not replace them it was just too difficult.so now we are done to just on Baby, Harvey. and when he is gone we said no more we just can not stand to see them suffer and it is just to hard on us.

Kimberly said...

Oh how sad. I'm a huge cat lover (we have 4) so my heart breaks for your friend Jill, but I firmly believe she made the right decision. Better to spare the poor baby pain.

My condolences.