Forever Cat

Sophie - My Forever Cat

Rainbow Bridge

Sophie at Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.

There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly looks up! The nose twitches. The ears are up. The eyes are staring. And this one suddenly runs from the group.

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.

Poems

Lend Me A Cat

I will lend a cat to you
for awhile, God said.
For you to love her while she lives,
and mourn her when she’s dead.
Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
or maybe two or three.
But will you, ’til I call her back,
take care of her for me?
She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
and should her stay be brief,
you’ll always have her memories,
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay,
since all from earth, return.
But there are lessons taught below,
I want this cat to learn.
I’ve looked the whole world over
in search of teachers true.
And from the folk that crowd life’s land,
I have chosen you.
Now will you give her all your love,
nor think the labor vain,
nor hate me when I come to take
my cat back again?
It was then that we said
“Dear Lord, thy will be done.”
For all the joys this cat will bring,
the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
we’ll love her while we may.
And for the happiness we’ve known,
forever grateful stay.
But should you call her back,
much sooner than we’d planned,
we’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
and try to understand.
When our faithful bundle
departs this world of strife,
We’ll have yet another cat,
and love her all her life.

- Unknown

Your friendship makes me feel all warm and fluffy.

The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
and hold me firm and speak to me
until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do:
We’ve been so close — we two — these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

- Unknown

Our Last Night

I started this story the day after Sophie’s passing to Rainbow Bridge, but it took a long time to finish because of the tough subject matter for me. I hope it helps others who have lost their forever furbabies..

September 12, 2002:

I am having much trouble with getting over the crossing of my forever cat Sophie. She left yesterday morning (September 11th) in my arms at the vet. I had to choose to take her suffering away.

I first noticed something was wrong when I heard her gagging from inside her favorite spot, the far side of my closet. I thought it was just a blocked furball at first and got her some fresh kitty grass the next day, along with some furball remedy (which I’ve never bought anything but natural pet care). She ate the furball remedy and some grass. I noticed her starting to lose weight at a rapid rate and her breathing became very strained, as if she was breathing harder. We have two cats and couldn’t tell if Iris was the one eating and pooping all the time. I started watching Sophie closely to see if she was eating and drinking and using the litterbox throughout the day. She wasn’t eating or drinking when I was there. Friday night, September 6th, I was packing to go to my boyfriend’s parents to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I noticed Sophie breathing harder and then starting to wheeze.

At around 11:30 PM that same night, Mom and I decided to take her to the Emergency Animal Hospital, which is fortunately only 3 minutes away. We got there and my poor Sophie was meowing the whole time as she is a very sensitive kitty. The young lady vet there examined her and came out and told us that she was having trouble breathing, but needed x-rays to fully know what was going on with Sophie. We told her to take the x-rays. I couldn’t be with Sophie for any of this, which was very hard on me. We were always together. The x-rays showed that she had fluid around her lungs and that it could be three possible reasons for this: heart disease, cancer or nothing (just a one-time thing). She said that the cancer could be a cancerous mound pushing up against her throat.

I asked if there was any way to make Sophie able to breathe better again. The vet said that she could drain the fluid from around her lungs, so we told her to do it. Draining the fluid took almost an hour and she drained almost a pint of fluid from my little Sophie’s body.

After that, the vet wanted to have more x-rays taken to determine if it was heart disease or cancer or nothing. But she seemed to be lacking hope that it was nothing. I heard Sophie meowing in the other room and wanted her to be taken home. It was 3:30 am when we left and Sophie seemed to be breathing much better and started eating a little again.

I went away for the weekend, but when I came back on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, I noticed Sophie was not doing well at all. Her breathing was strained again and she hadn’t eaten anything I put out for her. I wanted her to be comfortable! I wanted her to be able to eat! I went out and bought her natural canned wet food, she could eat some of it at least.

On Monday, September 9th, I started looking for other resources and came upon www.patmckay.com. This is where I learned the real horror of what goes into our furbabies dry food and that night I decided to go the next morning and buy some raw food for our kitties, hoping that Sophie could eat and begin healing.

Sophie climbed up on me as usual that night and I noticed that she was uncomfortable lying down. She had to sit up and lie down several times. I told Mom that we had to take her to the vet. She said we could, but it would have to wait until Wednesday.

On Tuesday, September 10th, I went to my morning class and then went to pick up a few meals of raw food along with a natural supplement to boost the immune system. I came home and waited for it to thaw. As I waited, I put out some wet food, along with the supplement and some egg yolk. When I clinked their food dishes, both of them came bopping out of the closet, but Sophie just sat there. She wouldn’t eat. I knew she wanted to, but she literally couldn’t. The cancer had grown and was pushing too much on her throat. She would only drink out of tall glasses that I had taken a drink out of first.

Tuesday night, I was worried. I had trouble falling asleep. I finally did and woke up when Sophie, sitting on her new favorite spot, a new soft black cotton/nylon suitcase, meowed at me. She’s not a talky kitty at all. She speaks with her eyes. I was so worried. What was she trying to tell me? I went over to make sure she was okay and she seemed to the same, still breathing hard, and in discomfort. I woke Mom up to tell her, but she said to try and get some sleep.

I woke up early the next morning, September 11th, and got ready to make sure I could get her there early. This vet is less than a minute away, but there are two stop lights in between and I felt that those lights took forever. Mom and I got her there and made it known that this was an emergency case, not one that was just a regular checkup. They took her in right away and I was able to stay in the room with her.

I had a t-shirt with my scent on it and I put it in the carrier with her, along with a towel. The nurse took the t-shirt out and laid it on the examining table, saying that Sophie would like that. I made sure to tell the nurse that Sophie is having trouble breathing and to be gentle with her when she lifts her up. She was very nice and cradled her. They only had to pick her up once. The nurse put her back down on the t-shirt and took her temperature, along with listening to her heart. She said right away “You guys know that there is something wrong with her heart?”. Mom and I just looked at each other and I went back to soothing and cuddling Sophie.

This is the tough part for me…

We brought the x-rays for the vet to see. He came and looked at them, along with taking a listen at her heart and feeling her abdomen, along with checking for dehydration. I told him that she was dehydrated while he was checking and he agreed.

After looking at the x-rays, he pointed to it while telling us that most certainly there was a mass there and the only way to find out for sure is an expensive ultrasound. I asked when he would be able to do it, but they don’t do that procedure there, we would have to take her back to the Animal Hospital which we had taken her the Friday before.

After telling us what was wrong, he said that without the ultrasound, he could tell it wasn’t good and that she would probably have to have chemotherapy to get rid of it and that it wasn’t even foolproof.

Then he mentioned euthanasia. My heart stopped. My forever cat couldn’t leave.

No.. She’s too young I said. Is there anything else? He said that even with treatment, it would be hard for her because of the side effects and there is no chance that she would even survive the tax on her system.

She was breathing really hard through her mouth because of the stress of the visit. The nurse, the doctor and my mother all looked at me with such sad eyes.. I couldn’t take it and started to tear up. Behind blurred eyes and with a shaky voice I asked if there was anything else that could be done. I looked to Mom for some sort of miracle answer, but she wasn’t looking at me, she hates to see me cry. She came over and just hugged me.

The nurse left and the vet told me in a soft voice that if I haven’t considered that option, I should now, because Sophie was suffering and it would only get worse. Any treatment would be taxing, uncomfortable, costly and not even close to guarantee her to live. I just sat there, petting Sophie and started to cry. I couldn’t even look at him. All I could do was be near her and try and comfort her.

He said he would be back in a few minutes to find out my decision, whether he should write out a treatment or…not.

Mom almost started crying herself, but I told her that I needed her to be strong for me because I was already loosing it at that point. She straightened up and told me she’d leave me with Sophie for a few minutes and went outside.

I just petted her and cooed at her. I cuddled and smelled her and scratched under her chin and around her ears like she liked it. She was a part of me and we understood each other on a deeper level. If you have ever found your forever animal, you understand that bond.

The tears just wouldn’t stop falling.. I tried so hard to stop, but silently they just kept falling. There was no hysterics or drama, just unbelievable sadness and loss. I kept going over the alternatives in my head while I softly petted Sophie. And then she meowed again and I knew… Her eyes, her gorgeous loving green eyes, told me too. She was ready. Animals know.

I cuddled and cooed with her for what could never be long enough and then I cracked open the door and ask the nurse to call back the vet. He came in and I said, “She needs to sleep.” and he started making the preparations. The nurse came in and gave her a small shot to relax her and as I was rocking her in my arms, they gave her the last shot.

She laid her head down on my arm and fell asleep. Her eyes, full of love, closed forever and she was released from her physical body, along with the suffering that came with it.

A piece of me died that moment.. and will forever be with her. My forever cat, so full of love, was gone.

They both told me how sorry they were, and at the time, I was so angry at hearing them say that. As if they had no idea how much I loved her and “Sorry” wasn’t enough. They both gave me a small squeeze on the arm and left the room. I held her for quite a while, I don’t know how long, still wrapped in my t-shirt. I loved how peaceful she looked and how I knew she wasn’t hurting anymore. But, oh, it hurts so much. It still hurts..

I know the hurt won’t ever go away, but the immense sorrow does lessen, at least…a little.

Memories

Victorian Sophie

Her Favorite Thing to Play With

I remember her favorite thing to play with was my arm, covered with two thick tube socks which were rubbed with fresh catnip. She would crouch down with her ears back when she saw me pulling the socks out of my drawer. She knew which socks were the “bad” ones. We would wrestle, her clawed around my protected arm, all the while hissing and kicking her back feet! She loved eating the fresh catnip off the socks and licking it off her fur. Sophie, being such a quiet and shy kitty surprised those rare people who were able to see her so frenzied over wrestling with the “sock monster”.

Her Favorite Spots to Sleep

In order of preference was my closet, in the far back corner. It was quiet, dark and cool back there. She ran back there when a vacuum went on, a stranger was at the door or in the house or just when she felt like being alone to sleep. Next, was my own bed. She slept with me at night as I would fall asleep with her sprawled out on my legs or chest. She also loved my desk chair and hated it when I was working on my laptop. She used to bump up or jump, flailing her front paws, using her hind legs to jump up to get my attention if I was working too intently on my laptop. It was so adorable and it worked.. I would turn around and she would jump up again and mock attack me with her two front paws. She was such a silly kitty!

The Most Gentle Kitten

When we would play with strings and toys or mock wrestle, she never, ever, ever used her claws or teeth if I didn’t have protection on. We would still mock play, but she never opened her claws and I never had a scratch on me after playing with her! Amazing, isn’t it? She seemed to know that it would hurt me, so she was cautious never to use her claws. Also, she would only climb on my lap if I had a blanket or a piece of clothing on me first. She loved kneading with her front paws, back and forth, purring all the while, but knew that if I didn’t have something on my lap first or I wasn’t wearing jeans that her claws would pierce me. Even if she wanted to, she would wait until I would put something on my lap. She especially loved when I wore jeans – that meant she could climb on my lap anytime she wanted without waiting!

Photos and Pet Loss Links

Below are a few of the books I bought after Sophie passed on to Rainbow Bridge. The ones I’ve listed below helped me the most in dealing with her passing. If you are finding it difficult to deal with the passing of your furbaby, I urge you to seek comfort with a trusted friend and to read these books. They won’t take away the pain, but they will ease your guilt and heartache.

For Every Cat an Angel For Every Cat an Angel

Cat Heaven Cat Heaven

Angel Whiskers Angel Whiskers

The book, Surviving the Heartbreak of Choosing Death for Your Pet, is comforting for those of you who had to choose to put your furbaby to sleep – like I did. It helps you understand what you’re going through and explains that all the emotions you are feeling are normal, even though you feel your life is anything but normal.

It really did help me with everything and I didn’t (and still aren’t to some extent) deal with Sophie’s passing well at all. If you would like to see more pictures of Sophie, visit my Photos (down for repair) page. For a more extensive list of pet loss links on the web, visit my Animal Resources (down for repair) page.

Angel Kitten

Warm & Fluffy adopted from Chandra's Adoption Shoppe

Victorian Sophie: Luv4Country

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