Well it’s been a while. I haven’t updated since before Christmas since I’ve had so much on my mind. I try and be fairly honest about what’s happening in our lives with this blog and I felt like I couldn’t write a little fluff piece at the time. About two weeks before Christmas, our cat Atticus was having bladder issues. He’s had this before. In 2009, he had crystals that required emergency surgery at the after hours vet. Ever since then, he’s been on a special since then to prevent it. So when he started displaying signs of another bladder problem, I brought him to the vet and they gave him a pain reliever and some antibiotics saying it was a UTI. I was so relieved that it wasn’t crystals again since Chris and I had discussed that we wouldn’t put him through that ordeal again. I took him home and started giving him the drugs. After about 3 days he started howling in pain again (about when the pain reliever shot he had received wore off) so I brought him back to the vet and they gave him more pain relief and some anti inflammatory drugs to take alongside his antibiotics in order to help with the pain. Well once the antibiotics were over, he was still going to the littler more often than normal and there was still blood in his urine. I called the vet and they said the next step would be ultrasound to make sure there’s no kidney stone problems. So on December 18th, the day of his ultrasound, the vet called and told us that they discovered a mass in his bladder consisted with cancer. I was just on my way to Henry’s daycare Christmas party when they called and I was devastated. They told us that they could refer him for surgery but that it would be very invasive, costly and probably wouldn’t do anything. They told me that some cats, if they’re on anti inflammatories, could live for up to 8 months with this type of cancer. I wasn’t ready to make a decision right then and there. I know that was selfish of me, but Christmas was right around the corner and aside from his frequent peeing, he was still his normal, slightly angry, miserable and constantly hungry self. So we decided to keep giving him the drugs and play it by ear.
Well after Christmas, we realized he had been peeing on the front hall mat like he couldn’t control himself. We knew we couldn’t have him doing this with two kids running around, especially with Freddy who’s crawling around like crazy so we made an appointment to have him put down on December 30th (this was on the 28th). Well by some miracle, he started getting better, so on the morning of the 30th, I made the decision to cancel the appointment. We had a good week but then last weekend he started fading again. Atticus was always consistent in giving us a 2 hour warning window for his dinner time. He’d always start bugging us around 4pm until his 6pm dinner time, often making us trip over him and howling for food. Well he didn’t do that on Sunday. When I looked at him, he just looked exhausted. His fur was getting a bit matted as well, like if he hadn’t been cleaning himself as much as he usually did. I picked him up and realized he had lost a lot of weight in the past 3-4 weeks. Still I kept hoping for the best. The next morning though, he started trying to pee on our winter boots. Chris brought him down to the litter and while he was emptying the litter box, Atticus tried to go and basically was peeing blood. We decided then that it was time. Poor little guy. We called the vet and they were able to give us an appointment that very morning. Had they told us it would be a few days, I would have probably wavered again like I did on the 30th. It’s such a heartbreaking decision to make. I had read an article online that a vet wrote about euthanizing your pet. He said that people often ask him “is it too soon? Should I have waited a bit longer?” His answer, which really resonated with me was “It’s better to do this a week to early rather than an hour too late”. And it’s true. I don’t know what I would have done had we come home one day to find Atticus writhing in pain, or worse, dead in the house due to my lack of courage.
I know some of you reading this might think “it’s only a cat”. Well that cat was a part of my family. He was the first being I was responsible for taking care of once I moved out and started living on my own. He was there during some rough times and happy times. He would cuddle with us while we slept and purr so loudly that it was like we had a living, breathing sound machine to lull us to sleep. He was hilarious. He would run around in the middle of the night and yell out what sounded like “HELLO???” He would shove his head deep into people’s shoes when they came to our homes, and just stay there, like it was the best thing ever. Also, when people would come visit, he would insist on smelling their breath. He’d come right up to them and lift himself up on his hind legs to get closer to your mouth. I’m convinced this was a measure to ensure everyone who visited us had a soul. God help the person who failed whatever test he was giving them with that breath test. He loved fresh air. He would open the screen door and then just go lie on the back patio, soaking up the sun and getting his fur all nice and warm to cuddle with. He was incredibly patient with the boys despite my fears that he wasn’t. He was a terrible second in command according to his sister Purrl but she can be a tad extreme. All these memories bring back a mixture of happiness and sadness at the same time. He was only 8 years old. Theoretically he could have had another 10-12 years but his time was cut short. He was memorable and he was mine. He was family. I miss him tremendously, I always will.