Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This past Monday, we had to put our cat to sleep. If you've never had to do it, consider yourself incredibly lucky. It was one of the hardest, most painfully sad things I've done in my life, and still, two days later, I'm positively distraught over it. I feel destroyed by losing him, especially in such a quick amount of time. I thought we had so much more time left.

My cat, Spencer, was fine, and then, very suddenly, he was very, very sick. He was only 10, but he started throwing up last Tuesday night. Initially I wasn't too concerned - cats throw up sometimes - but then he stopped eating and continued to throw up bile, so on Thursday morning, I took him to the vet. They took blood and urine samples, and mentioned there was some blood in his urine and that was likely causing the issues, and gave him a shot of antibiotics, expecting him to improve. 

The next morning, the vet called with very sad news. Spencer had FIV, which is essentially Feline AIDS, and given the absence of an obvious incidence of transmission, think he may have gotten from his mother, since he's been a strictly indoor cat for eight years. Despite the antibiotics, he had yet to resume eating, and when he would drink, he would later vomit quite violently, almost screaming at times. Though they gave us the option to do an ultrasound and look for a mass - lymphoma is common in cats with FIV - and then do surgery and hope to prolong his life, Spencer was a sensitive cat with a major fear of the vet, and it will only give us more time, not cure him. The vet also expressly said he did not feel confident that the ultrasound would reveal anything.

It is a miracle that he survived the weekend. He was increasingly weak and was starting to appear in pain when he walked, and he's climbed into the bathtub multiple times. I can't tell you how many times I said goodbye to him before leaving the house or going to bed. 

Still, I had such a hard time deciding on whether I should have him put to sleep. I didn't want him to suffer. I love him SO much. He had been my constant for over a decade - through it all with me. In NYC, when I was essentially alone, he was there. When I had my babies, he loved them, despite it going against his personality. I am devastated at having lost him, especially after he'd hung on all weekend, giving me hope. 

In case saying goodbye to such an integral part of our family wasn't awful enough, Ava was hit with the full weight of it as I prepared her to say goodbye. While her initial response when I told her over the weekend I was concerned he wouldn't get better was, "Well, we can get a new kitty!", when the truth of what was really about to happen sunk in, she was inconsolable. She nearly vomited numerous times from being unable to calm down, and David had to hold her as I pulled out of the driveway. It was the saddest thing I've ever been through, and certainly the most intense grief she's felt in her life thus far. 

I, too, am experiencing some intense grief. He was so ingrained into our lives here that every little thing makes me think of him. I keep stepping onto the laundry room floor on my tiptoes, only to find that no new litter has spilled from the box onto the floor. Every time I set my coffee onto the stair bannister, I go to move it so you won't bump it jumping up, and then remember that you aren't here. Last night, when I got home from work, I crumbled and sobbed at the realization that you won't greet me at the door after those long days anymore. God, I miss you so much already. Today, when Ava was picking flowers, she picked one for each of our family members, including you, before remembering. I am going to let her put it on your grave tomorrow. We buried you outside of your favorite window where you would always sit and look out - I know how much you loved being outside.

I know Spencer is at peace now, but having to say goodbye was so hard. So, so hard. Holding his kitty body as the medicine pulled him from consciousness and as he took his last breath was both horrific, and yet comforting - knowing he wasn't alone in the end.

Spencer, you were my best friend, and I'm so incredibly honored that you managed to find me, of all the people in the world, to love. Rest in peace, sweet friend. I love you.

Spencer James 
April 1, 2004 - October 13, 2014

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