Last night, my family lost a beloved member. Casey, our 14 year old, black and white lovebug of a cat went to meet the angels in heaven. He was just about the sweetest cat you could ever imagine. And he loved me like I was his momma, even though I wasn’t in his life until he was 3 years old.
Casey, along with his brother Tiny, was adopted by Jason back in 1994 when he first moved to NY. When I met Jason in 1997, I immediately fell in love with his “boys”. When Casey decided to take a little vacation a couple of years later, it scared the hell out of us. I made “missing cat” posters to hang around the neighborhood. Turns out he’d just been visiting a neighbor down the street who had a nice stash of cat food for him whenever he wanted. But that was the end of his adventuring days – we decided at that point that we could no longer let Casey and Tiny wander around outside.
Casey was a cuddle bug. He would come and lay with just about anyone that would have him (except for Lauren). And when I say cuddle, I really mean that he would lay clear across your neck if you’d let him. But he’d usually settle for getting as close to you as possible, and just purr away. His dislike for Lauren was pretty humorous. He knew when she was coming, and he’d make a run for it. He’d cuddle with me in the mornings, but the minute he’d hear her feet hit the floor upstairs, it was his cue to get under the bed. If he was off his game and didn’t get away quick enough, he’d just hiss at her to make his point. Lauren loved him, even if he’d never let her near him.
This past Saturday afternoon, Casey was curled up on my bed. I went over to give him some love, and I noticed that something wasn’t quite right with him. He was skinnier than he was even a week ago. The beautiful green/yellow color to his eyes wasn’t there – his pupils were so large that you just couldn’t see the color at all. His third eyelids were up. He seemed to have a lot of goo in his eyes, which Jason cleaned out. And there was an odd smell to him. Even so, he was just as snuggly as ever. I made the decision at that point to take him to the vet on Monday. Sunday was more of the same – although he was still walking around, migrating between his favorite spots in the house – up against the radiator in Christopher’s room, the corner by the end table in the living room, anywhere on my bed (especially if there was another warm body there). Sunday night he came up on my bed as I watched TV, and we cuddled for a long time. Normally, if I was going to sleep, I’d move him so I could have my space. But that night, I let him stay as long as he wanted, and just listened to him purr.
Monday morning sent up huge red flags for me. Casey had spent most of the night laying on the couch after he left my bed. Lauren came downstairs – he didn’t move. Lauren went and sat right next to him – and again, he didn’t move. This was very unlike him. I sat and petted him for a while before we left for work/school, took a few pictures.
Finally, Jason and I met at home to pick Casey up for his appointment. He wasn’t very happy to be in that carrier, and he was pretty vocal about it on the way there. The look on Dr. Larry’s face when he laid eyes on Casey did not bode well. The poor little guy was in bad shape. He was severely dehydrated, his kidneys had all but stopped functioning. He felt one, possibly two masses in his abdomen. He basically told us that there isn’t much he can do without putting him through more pain. He could pump him full of fluids, but it would only prolong the inevitable. Casey had reached the end of the road. We made the heartbreaking decision to euthanize him, to end his misery. It was nearly impossible to be in the room, but we had to be. I couldn’t let him be by himself. I needed him to see that we were there for him, that we loved him. It was a longer process than normal, he had next to no blood pressure so they had trouble getting a vein. But once they were in, his pain was ended quickly. We decided to have him cremated privately, and his ashes will be returned to us.
Losing a pet is one of the worst things I’ve ever had to endure in my life. It’s losing a family member. But, as Dr. Larry says, it’s good that we are able to do this for our four-legged friends, when we cannot for our two-legged friends. We have to know that we did the right thing for him. Jason is utterly devastated, having never been down this road before. I’ve never seen him this way, in the entire 12 years that I have known him. He feels guilty and is wondering if we waited too long, if we made the right decision. And Lauren, well, I’m not sure how much she really understands. I explained it to her as best I could, telling her that he was very sick and the angels came to get him. She keeps repeating “Casey died…” but she’s asked a few times when he’s coming back. She got very upset when she saw how upset Jason was. She’s very empathetic, that little girl.
So that’s my Casey’s story. Rest in Peace, Sweet Casey-poo. We love you more than you will ever know. And we will meet you again on that Rainbow Bridge.
Here are some pictures from some happier times...