Last Saturday we lost our big lovable Bombay, Ricky. There’s this huge hole in our hearts and our house where a 19lb timid panther used to live. The sadness is indescribable and deep.
We adopted Rick almost seven years ago from the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter. He was a cute, albeit large kitten who instantly won the hearts of both the feline and human members of the house. He grew to be the wonderfully curmudgeon member of the feline group, who tolerated his younger sister and adored the older feline “mom cat”, Lucy. He loved to play with hair ties and be brushed. He had my husband so well trained in the grooming routine, that Ricky would get his daily brushing even before the coffee was made in the morning. At night, when I couldn’t sleep, he was my 2 am companion on the couch, getting under the afghan and cuddling next to me, while I read or cruised the internet. When the weather was nice, he’d go out on our upstairs porch and have extended conversations with our local ravens.
Last week he started to show signs of being ill–vomiting and just not being his usual self. We took him to the vets and thought it was just one of those stomach things. It turned out he had a raging staph infection, one that antibiotics and all the fluids in the world could not control. In the end his liver gave out and we had to make “the decision” to release him from his suffering.
Saturday my son and I went to the vets where Ricky had spent the last four days. They brought him into the room so we could spend some time with him. Ricky was disoriented and confused, and having psychotic episodes due to the large doses of antibiotics in his system. We stroked him and told him we loved him and what a wonderful cat he was. I told him we wished he never had to go through this pain and suffering and that we would be there now, for him. We reminded him (and ourselves) of all the wonderful things he had done and the love we all shared.
The doctor asked me if I wanted to stay through the end and I agreed. I couldn’t make the decision to euthanize an animal and not be there for them as they passed. Ricky went so quickly, one moment he was there in confusion and pain; the next he was gone. He flew to the beyond as fast the upward flight of the ravens he loved so much. As with my other cats, it was a profound moment but the loss and pain are heavy and severe. And the guilt remains, even though the decision was by everyone’s measure, the right one.
He was too young to pass to the next world and the visit as a member of the clan was far too brief. I wish him peace and release from his final suffering and hope that where ever his spirit is, there are lots of hair ties to play with, and someone who knows how much a 19 lb cat loves to get a morning grooming.