Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rest In Peace, Sassafras

Late Sunday night, Mary Ann and I made the very difficult choice to have our kitty Sassafras put to sleep. She was 19 years old, and had been dealing with minor health issues on and off for over a year.

Last week she stopped eating and drinking, and developed more severe problems. It was unclear if she was in pain, but she was certainly distressed and not herself. The vet had only theories, which would have potentially required weeks of hospitalization just to keep her alive long enough for a diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Sass was a very sensitive cat. She preferred to remain hidden in her favorite nooks and crannies unless she wanted something. Dropping her into a clinical environment with other animals and IV's, and getting poked and prodded by strangers day after day would have been a torment for her.

I must say that despite my intellectual, practical, and reasoned outlook on life, I was quite unexpectedly shattered by the experience. It's been 2 days, and I can barely go 5 minutes without thinking of her. Sometimes I used to think how nice it would be not to have a cat. Now I would give anything to have her back.

She had lots of favorite spots to hide, to sleep, and to be near us when it suited her. In fact, the entire house was basically hers. When she wasn't using it, she allowed us to sit in her chair. If she wanted food, she never let sleep get in the way...mine that is. The smaller the box the better. Books were for sitting on. Paper was for shredding.

It's amazing how many little things she was a part of. Her presence could be seen in every room. Now everything seems a little more lonely, a little more empty. We will miss you.

Rest in peace, Sassafras.







13 Comments:

At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Mosse said...

My condoleances. She looks gorgeous and from how you describe her she sounds like a real personality.

My older cat is about 17-19 years old himself (he was already old when I took him in), and I dread the day I have to make that tough decision, althoug I pray I will be able to do so.

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger Mario Aguila said...

I have 2 siamese cata, 10 and 8 years old, so I understand you very well.
Animo!

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger Scott said...

I'm very sorry to hear that. I had two cats, both of whom were on Board Games with Scott at various times. They died a few months apart and I was devastated. Like you, I couldn't understand how I was feeling this way; I'm a logical scientist and professor.

Yet even now, over a year later, it still hits me. I've been moving, and as I find bits of fur or a wayward ball, it still brings me to tears.

I never understood how painful the loss of a pet could be until then. I'm very sorry for your loss.

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger matthew.marquand said...

I'm also, very sorry to hear of your loss. Having been through three situations similar to yours (11, 17, & 18 year old cats), I completely understand your pain.

It's an amazing thing how pets become such an integrated part of your life. I still, even after many months, think I can hear Flo in the house, or think I see her backside shoot around a door frame, or think she's nudging the sheets trying to get under the covers to sleep beside me at night.

It's even difficult to write this comment without a rush of emotion.

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger SodakLady said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Jim. She's a beautiful girl--looks very like my Bess.

I know it doesn't take long for them to put a mark on your heart, having lost 2 kittens when I'd had each of them less than 10 days. And that mark is made with indelible ink.

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger Ryan Walberg said...

I had a similar experience myself with a 3-year-old cat with IBS, so I can understand how you're feeling. I'm sorry for your loss.

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Mark Christopher said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jim. I think only other pet owners can truly appreciate the sense of loss you feel.

I had to put a 15 year-old feline friend to sleep a few months ago myself, and there can be few more traumatizing experiences. Sancho was the friendliest cat I've ever known, and both I and my other feline roommate miss him greatly.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

I'm so sorry, Jim.

Knowing that something is the right thing to do doesn't make it easy.

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger Yollege said...

Sorry for you loss.

My family just recently adopted a 3 yr old cat, and I hope she can bring even half as much joy to all of us as Sassafras obviously brought to you.

 
At 4:44 AM, Blogger Seth Jaffee said...

I'm sorry to hear about your cat! A few years ago my cat Kitty (she'd earned the title "Miss Kitty") died. She was about 17 years old. I was crushed when it happened, devastated. I felt a little silly at first, worried people would think I was overreacting or something. After all it's just a cat, right? But no, that's not right. Our pets are a part of our lives. They're there in the morning when we wake up, and they greet us happily when we get home. I was living with my cat longer than any of my friends had known their wives. We love our pets, and though their lifespan is shorter than ours, they are always sorely missed. Sassafras will be missed.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger xandryyte said...

:( Sorry to hear about Sassafras!

Unfortunately I know how you feel. My cat got sick and I had the difficult decision too. I was not myself for a while.

I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Chris Norwood said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I've had to put a cat to sleep before, and I know it's one of the hardest things ever. They really are the next closest thing to children, and love for them is very real and very special.

I wish comfort to you, and you are in my prayers.

 
At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helping a cat no longer healthy to leave is heart wrenching. We've done it a couple of times. The new cats are always great, but they never replace that special one. Keep pictures around -- and enjoy the personality of a new companion. Give it time to develop -- our new kitties are now three years old and are now finally wiggling into our hearts.

 

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