(Victoria, BC, Canada)
When I first got Eddie, as a tiny rescue kitten from the SPCA, he was sick. A tiny redhead, his tail was broken in 2 places, he had ringworm, upper respiratory disease and no fur on his feet, nose, and the tip of his tail. Still...he approached the front of the cage purring and bright eyed, and I knew he was the one for me.
I took him home and nursed him back to health. He became the usual vibrant, crazy, side hopping, wild eyed kitten. He played, he napped, and he loved paper bags the most.
Eddie spent 11.5 very healthy years. In that time, we moved cities, moved homes and went through the usual life's ups and downs. He was always there, listening, watching, being the most faithful and loyal cat - pure unconditional love pouring from his yellow eyes.
Eddie was a 'spooner'. He loved to be scooped up and cuddled like a teddy bear, and one of my favorite times of the week was Saturday and Sunday mornings, when I would make tea, and crawl back into bed with him, napping and purring. It was never an issue to stay home in the evening, because I always had company. I always had that other heartbeat beating in my home.
When Eddie was 12.5 years old, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Not a chubby cat at all, it was a bit of a mystery why he had it, but he did, and we had to deal with it the best we could. I did a ton of research, got him on insulin twice a day, and switched him to a 100% raw diet. Furthermore, he had some dental issues that I was unaware of, and he had some teeth removed to ease him of the pain he was in.
While during this time, my freedom and ability to go away was extremely limited, I wouldn't change a thing. It was my duty as a pet owner to take care of him, and give him a happy and healthy life. And for a whole year, we managed the diabetes, and continued to have a happy life together.
Very suddenly, within a matter of hours, just last weekend, Eddie became very ill. He started throwing up. A horrid white foamy matter, that had me very concerned. He was sick all through the night, and I have a distressing memory in my head of him lying on my bed, white foam around his little furry mouth, eyes wide and scared.
I rushed him into the emergency pet hospital where he was limp and barely responsive. They started him on IV fluids and covered him in blankets and heating pads. Later that day, he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, something for which they didn't know the cause, but they hoped that with antibiotics and fluids, he would return to normal.
The next day, Monday, they did an ultrasound, and the doctor told me that all his organs didn't look 'normal'. That they weren't smooth, but had an odd texture to them. They did a biopsy to rule out cancer, and to let me know what I was dealing with.
This time was extremely stressful. Full of anxiety and fear for my pet. On Monday evening, I went to the hospital to visit, and stayed with him for a couple of hours. He was pretty much unresponsive, but just lay there, red eyed and unable to eat or drink. It was heartbreaking. The doctors hoped that the fluids, and an increase to his potassium would help. I held on to hope.
On Tuesday morning, I went to work. But right before I left, the doctor called, and told me that Eddie hadn't had a good night. That his white blood cells were elevated, and that he would require a blood transfusion. That was it. I wasn't about to put my baby through that. I went to work, but made it less than 2 hours, and had to leave.
I went straight to the hospital to get Eddie and bring him home. I had hoped to have him with me overnight, after which I would return to the hospital to have him euthanized. My heart was breaking.
Sadly, Eddie was at home for only an hour or so, when I realized that he wouldn't make it through the night. He was only on pain medication to keep him comfortable, but he wasn't okay. He was in distress. He couldn't close his eyes. He would lay there, but then get up suddenly and go to a weird place in the house - like the bathtub, or an unusual corner. It was clear to me that he was dying and he wanted to escape. So, I called the mobile veterinarian and asked that they come to the house at 4pm that day.
I had friends and family there with me. They all came by, unplanned, and sat with me as I watched my little guy pass away. He lay on his favorite pillow, on his favorite chair, and became more relaxed than he had been in days, after the doctor gave him the sedative. Shortly afterwards, they gave him 'the shot' and his heart stopped immediately. He was no longer in pain. But he was no longer with me, either. And that hurt more than I can say.
It has now been 6 days. And while I ride the rollercoaster of grief, I know that I will be okay. I am letting my grief wash over me, as hard as it is. He was my best little guy, under my feet for 13 years. It is a very rude awakening to find him gone. He is everywhere in this house. I see him, I smell him, I hear him. I cannot describe the pain of not being able to pet his belly and rub his ears. It is the finality of death. The emptiness. The tiny being that took up so much room in my home and in my heart.
I miss you more than words can say, dear Eddie. I will miss you for a very long time. I am glad you are free. I am glad I found the courage to let you go. But God, do I miss you.