AS I sit here at almost 1 am and write this I can feel my tears to start running down my face again. My cat Boo Boo was 14 years old when he passed Oct 16, 2022. It’s been almost 3 months and I still feel like I will see him again. He was the first cat I truly loved that passed away. He left his sister behind that had a few crying spells in the middle of the night after he passed.
Boo Boo was very friendly. He loved everybody. No matter who came over he would greet them hello and demand to be petted. He let strangers pet him.
He was very smart. One day I came home and my apartment had a pipe that burst and water was everywhere. I knew something was wrong when I walked in the door and seen him walking in circles and meowing in a very high pitched tone then running toward the water to show me something was wrong.
He was a protector. Whenever someone came inside the home he didn’t know , he would sit very close to me and watch them. One day he started to growl and hiss at one of the apartment maintenance men and I later found out that guy hated cats. No joke , my cat sensed it !
Boo boo had all kinds of health problems from the day I adopted him. He had chronic ear infections , had to get two barium enemas , got his eye scratched playing with his sister , ran outside and got into a cat fight that left a giant hole near his butt that had to be glued shut. Had a few UTI’s then one time had an actual urinary blockage. The doctor wasn’t sure he would make it but he did.
Boo Boo also had a terrible reaction to the rabies shot. He ended up in the emergency room with difficulty breathing and had to stay the night.
Boo Boo was a fighter. He was pushing through his 9 lives to quickly.
Then beginning of April 2022 he had his annual follow up appointment where the doctor said his heart marker labs were off the charts but she had no idea why because she did not hear a heart murmur. I asked her if I should take him to a cardiologist and she said it wouldn’t hurt.
There were no animal cardiologist near me except one. They were booked out for 6 months. So I began to call the next cities around. The closest one was over two hours away and I could get him in to be seen in less then 2 weeks. Great ! I took him in thinking it wouldn’t be much going on with his heart because he didn’t have any symptoms. He was still very active , eating and drinking normally , using the litterbox normally etc.
The doctor who completed his cardiology workup that included , ECG, X-Ray , Ultrasound of the heart and blood pressure walked into the room and quickly said “ there are three parts of his heart that are of great concern , I give him 3 months “.
I remember sitting in the chair staring at him wondering if I heard correctly. Then the doctor took out a diagram of the heart and proceeded to tell me about the chambers of the heart and the thickening of his heart muscle etc.
Boo Boo’s prognosis was not good. Studies have shown that cats with similar diagnosis average time frame to live was 6 months to a year on medication.
I sat there trying to take it all in because I haven’t noticed any symptoms ! He was placed on 3 medications for life and the supplement taurine.
I remember telling the doctor I was about to work out of town soon and he warned me to look up the nearest emergency room as soon as I got there. This wasn’t good I thought.
My cat is terrible at taking pills. I have tried before and it was like having a wrestling match. He would spit it out , vomit it up , scratch and bite and growl and it always ended up both of us being pissed. So I would always opt for liquid medication with him that I could easily get down.
However , all of his medication was prescribed as a pill. I tried everything from mashing it in food ( he wouldn’t eat it ), placing the pill in a pill pocket ( he wouldn’t eat it ), mashing it in a syringe with water to squirt it down ( he would gag , foam it out or vomit it up )
How was I going to do this every 12 hours for the rest of his life ?
I decided to try to find a compounding pharmacy. I finally found one that would add chicken flavor ! Jackpot I thought …. Until I found out one of the medications was very bitter and was told cats do not do well with the liquid form of that medication. I gave it my best try and he vomited it up every single time. I was also told that particular medication had to be given every 6 hours or it was ineffective. With my work hours , there was no way I could administer that every 6 hours.
I was told to try baby aspirin in its place. Well that gave my cat bloody stool. I just sat there thinking to myself “ I can’t win “.
My poor cat went into heart failure two weeks after his diagnosis. He had to stay in the hospital for several days . Some of his medications were changed and he seemed to do pretty well with it. I took him to his follow up appointments to his primary care doctor , drove him over two hours to see his cardiologist who said everything looks great ! Bring him back in couple months for BP and chest X-ray. Even though his ER doctor said in a report it was highly unlikely Boo Boo would be alive in 6 months he seemed to be doing ok at the time. I thought he beat the odds. I thought I was going to have him here one last Christmas.
The last night I seen him he seemed to be doing very well. He was eating well , playing the same etc. I didn’t see any changes in his behavior that made me think this would be his last night. We had spa time together where I would turn on my face steamer and he would sit next to me with his chin up enjoying the steam. He followed me downstairs that early morning at 5 am as I got ready for work. As I walked out the door I told him I loved him and I left out to go to work. I didn’t return until the next day . The pet sitter had seen him that night and said he looked and seemed fine.
However , when I opened the door at 8 pm and didn’t see him at the door I felt a very hard breath come out of me. I knew something was wrong. Boo boo had passed away sometime that day before I got home . He was curled up on the couch by the window where he often would wait for me.
I wi never forget that terrible feeling of thinking If maybe I didn’t work 12 hours that day. Was it because I was a little late with his dose of medication . The list goes on of how I would replay everything from the last few days he was with me and how he vomited the other day and maybe that was a sign.
He lived 6 months after his diagnosis. The medication just gave me time. Time to spend a little more time with him. Time to maybe prepare the inevitable. But I wasn’t prepared. For any of this. I cried as my sister came to my house to drive him to the hospital that would take his body to be cremated. As I stared at the rainbow bridge and looked in his carrier I thought it’s not fair. He was suppose to be home. Happy. In his window perch.
I wasn’t prepared for how much pain I would feel. I called off of work the next day. As I slept the night I had to hand over his body to the hospital , the feeder went off and called his name. I had forgotten to turn off the food feeders that would sound off at 6 am that would call out both of the cats names to come get their food. I remember waking up and staring at the feeder expecting him to see him run toward it like he would every morning. But he didn’t.
One of the most painful things I felt was heating his sister get up in the middle of the night and cry. She did it twice after the second night he wasn’t there. I had to call her name and pet her and tell her I was sorry. I did show his body to her before taking him away so she could see that he had passed. I think she knew. I think she was very sad as well.
Another painful thing I noticed is the emptiness the house feels. Every time I would walk through the door it felt strange. Lonely. My home doesn’t feel like home anymore.
I am now traveling quite a bit for work and my other cat comes along. She seems to be doing ok right now. I think it took her some time to heal just like it’s taking me. I often wonder if I should adopt another cat to give her another fur friend. I often wonder if she is lonely. I have been watching YouTube videos and reading articles on what to do with pet loss grief. I am reading it for her and myself.
For those of you who lost a pet I feel ya. It is incredibly hard as so many things remind me of him. I know he is at peace now. No longer in pain. I just wish I had more time with him.