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Old 08-16-2014, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Willow Spring and Mocksville
274 posts, read 323,144 times
Reputation: 480

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When I lost the little feral kitten that I tried to rescue two weeks ago, I was very sad. I didn't know that worse was to come.

On this past Thursday night, I came home and went about my usual routine chores and dinner. I cleaned the litter boxes and filled the food bowls for my seven cats. I had rescued one of Angel's siblings last Sunday, who proved to be starving, and I gave him his medicine and nutritional supplements. I didn't go find Yorick, my eight year old orange tabby, because I knew he liked to stay in his hidey-place for some quiet time from the younger cats. And he likes to snooze in the front bedroom in his kitty bed. I asked his sister, Calliope 'Where's your brother?" I knew he would come out at bed time, when we snuggled, brushed, and I always gave him water from a glass. Usually he and his sister and momma stayed in the bedroom with me at night, and the four other cats stayed in the living room.

At about 9PM I suddenly heard his special meow for me: the one that meant he wanted me right now. I found him in the hall in the doorway to the front bedroom. I said "Yorick! He tried to get up up but he couldn't move his back legs. I picked him up and laid him on bed. He didn't seem to be in any pain, and he licked my hand and stared to purr. I felt his limbs and he didn't move or react. I fed him a handful of treats and brushed him for a few minutes. He rolled over for a tummy rub. I brought him water and fed him with a syringe, which he loved.

I called a vet hotline and they said to immediately take him to a vet. I called the 24 hour vet in Cary, NC and they advised me to bring him immediately. When I returned to the bedroom he was nowhere to be found. he had pulled himself off of the bed and crawled under my nightstand. His back legs were cold. The 30 minute trip to the vet seemed to take forever. I cried when they took him.


They took him in the back. A while later the veterinarian came out and talked to me. From the look on her face, I knew the worst, and began crying again. She said he had a blood clot. She told me that he may have had a heart condition that would only been discovered through intensive testing, but if no symptoms occurred there would have been no reason for a vet to have done this. She told me "Do not leave here thinking that anything your fault fault. It wasn't." She must have realized what I was feeling.

She told me that I could ty to have him stabilized, and they would send him to a special center in Chapel Hill. She said there was about a 25 percent chance he would make it, and only a 25 percent change it would not recur in the future. He was already having respiratory difficulties and was in pain so they put on oxygen and gave him a painkiller. She recommended that he be euthanized to spare him more pain. I wanted to bring him home for a few more hours, because I knew he was scared to be in a strange place. She adamantly said that this would be wrong, because he could go into shock suffer a lot of pain before I would be able to bring him back. Reluctantly, I agree to let him go. I held him for a while, talking to him and singing my special songs I had sung to him since he was a kitten. He reached out to touch my face, and turned his chin up so I could scratch it for him.

The vet came back in and began the procedure. Yorick, AKA Mr. Biggums, died quietly in my arms.

I miss him terribly. He was my big, special boy. I will love him forever.

Last edited by Strelnikov; 08-16-2014 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 08-16-2014, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,748 posts, read 11,331,873 times
Reputation: 6481
Somebody was bound to write this...forgive me for maybe coming across as insensitive, but...
"Alas, poor Yorick."

At a former job I had a colleague who was one of those happy-go-lucky types, a highly competent and empathetic individual, funny and outgoing and "just a great guy" all around. By age 46 he was already a grandfather and his youngest child was a college senior. Late on the night of New Year's Day in 1991 he complained of a "nasty headache" to his wife. A minute after that, she heard him hit the bathroom floor: undetected aneurysm in the brain.
Grief-stricken mourners filled the funeral home to the rafters. The cortege was over a mile long. It took four strong men to escort the widow from the grave. With any luck I'll never have to give out hugs to as many ashen-faced people ever again.
All of which is to say, on that terrible January day I had branded into my brain what a sudden death "too soon" feels like to the survivors. My heart goes out to you.
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Old 08-16-2014, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Willow Spring and Mocksville
274 posts, read 323,144 times
Reputation: 480
Thanks. The vet emphatically said that there was nothing I could have done. I don't feel any better though. Yorick and I had a special bond almost from the day he was born. And from the day I took him home when he was 5 months old, everyone who saw him for the first time knew immediately that he considered me to be "his".

He knew when I was depressed or sick. When I had a severe sinus infection, Yorick and his sister sat beside me for two days and only left to eat and use their litter box. When I woke up lonely in the middle of the night because Yorick wasn't beside me, I would call his name and he would always come. Always. But usually I didn't even have to call him. He seemed to "know". If I had a bad dream, I would wake up and he would be there. Just like I had a special way of calling him, he had a special "meow" that meant me wanted me. A friend of mine joked that he was my "dog cat", because of how he was so affectionate.

Yorick was so special that a few friends who did not like cats were completely won over by him. He always made an impression on people. I realize now that Yorick was part of me, and that part is now missing. I dearly love all my cats, especially his sister Calliope and his mommy Arata. But I don't have the kind of deep personal bond with them that I had with Mr. Biggums.

I had some heath concerns about his sister Calliope and his mommy Arata, but Yorick was so healthy and strong. I thought I had many more years with him. I thought we would grow older together. I thought there would always be time for another picture, or another game, or another tummy rub. If I had known that the Wednesday night was his last night on earth, I'd have spent every second with him.

If any of the other cats were to go, I'd be very sad. But Yorick would have been a comfort to me. With Yorick gone I feel sort of adrift in sorrow.

He was the sweetest cat I have ever known. Yorick really was a friend, and I miss him so much.

Thanks again, goyguy.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:56 PM
 
37 posts, read 180,592 times
Reputation: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strelnikov View Post
Thanks. The vet emphatically said that there was nothing I could have done. I don't feel any better though. Yorick and I had a special bond almost from the day he was born. And from the day I took him home when he was 5 months old, everyone who saw him for the first time knew immediately that he considered me to be "his".

He knew when I was depressed or sick. When I had a severe sinus infection, Yorick and his sister sat beside me for two days and only left to eat and use their litter box. When I woke up lonely in the middle of the night because Yorick wasn't beside me, I would call his name and he would always come. Always. But usually I didn't even have to call him. He seemed to "know". If I had a bad dream, I would wake up and he would be there. Just like I had a special way of calling him, he had a special "meow" that meant me wanted me. A friend of mine joked that he was my "dog cat", because of how he was so affectionate.

Yorick was so special that a few friends who did not like cats were completely won over by him. He always made an impression on people. I realize now that Yorick was part of me, and that part is now missing. I dearly love all my cats, especially his sister Calliope and his mommy Arata. But I don't have the kind of deep personal bond with them that I had with Mr. Biggums.

I had some heath concerns about his sister Calliope and his mommy Arata, but Yorick was so healthy and strong. I thought I had many more years with him. I thought we would grow older together. I thought there would always be time for another picture, or another game, or another tummy rub. If I had known that the Wednesday night was his last night on earth, I'd have spent every second with him.

If any of the other cats were to go, I'd be very sad. But Yorick would have been a comfort to me. With Yorick gone I feel sort of adrift in sorrow.

He was the sweetest cat I have ever known. Yorick really was a friend, and I miss him so much.

Thanks again, goyguy.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand the special bond you had as I am also currently grieving for the loss of my soulmate. I truly feel that you honestly couldn't have done more than you did. You can't predict the moment of your pet's death. As much as we love our animals we aren't psychic and I can assure you it is much easier in hindsight to recognise the signs we missed. I feel exactly the same way- that I ignored my intuition when it truly counted but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I also didn't realise it was my dog's last night on Earth and I regret not holding him every moment. When we brought him home he was so tired and weak that we just let him sleep under the bed. We didn't pressure him to be near us- we thought if he could get some sleep and in the morning we could get him some Nutrigel then maybe we could build his strength up. He was so sick though- other than knowing that we wanted him home with us the vet probably shouldn't have let us bring him home (though they said it was ok and as hard as it was I wouldn't trade those few hours).

You were really lucky to have a vet who was completely straight with you. We were constantly being given false hope and really clung to the possibility that he could get better for a little while. The reality unfortunately is that wasn't really true. For whatever reason the medication wasn't working and the last three hours of his life he was poked and prodded by strangers in a vets. He was in respiratory distress and had ataxia. He should have been on intravenous oxygen but wasn't. I believe he went into shock and I know he died painfully. My worst nightmare. The ICU was busy and I think they thought they had stabilised him but maybe weren't paying enough attention. His cause of death was cardiac arrest but whatever led to that... I'll never know. I wish I could have given my dog a kind and peaceful death but they contacted us too late and there was no time to euthanise him before he crashed. You gave Yorick the best death you could. Please believe that you really did do the best thing and that none of what happened was your fault. All the best to you and the rest of your fur family.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Willow Spring and Mocksville
274 posts, read 323,144 times
Reputation: 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by broken_hearted_ View Post

....You were really lucky to have a vet who was completely straight with you. We were constantly being given false hope and really clung to the possibility that he could get better for a little while. The reality unfortunately is that wasn't really true. For whatever reason the medication wasn't working and the last three hours of his life he was poked and prodded by strangers in a vets. He was in respiratory distress and had ataxia. He should have been on intravenous oxygen but wasn't. I believe he went into shock and I know he died painfully. My worst nightmare. The ICU was busy and I think they thought they had stabilised him but maybe weren't paying enough attention. His cause of death was cardiac arrest but whatever led to that... I'll never know. I wish I could have given my dog a kind and peaceful death but they contacted us too late and there was no time to euthanise him before he crashed. You gave Yorick the best death you could. Please believe that you really did do the best thing and that none of what happened was your fault. All the best to you and the rest of your fur family.
It's been nearly a year since my Yorick was put to sleep, and I was just re-reading the very kind reply above. Though the pain of losing Yorick has not diminished, I now fully appreciate broken_hearted's observation about a vet being straight and not offering false hope. While I still have lingering doubts about whether I did the right thing, I realize that there is one thing that would have absolutely awful. This would have been to seen Yorick suffering and in pain while I tried to fruitlessly extend his life. This would have been unbearable. And even if he had responded to treatment, would it have been fair to him to have him live for another month, or six months, and then have to go through it all again, because I selfishly wanted more time with him? I deeply regret that I was so upset that night, and that his last hours were spent listening to my grief as I held him. I should have saved my grief for later, and just concentrated on giving him love in his final moments.

Broken_hearted was quite right: it is far better to have a vet who is brutally honest than one who would give you a sense of unjustified hope.
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