Connie Ho Blog, Montreal Canada

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Cat Loss, Pet Death: Trauma, Experience, Truth, Memory

Cat Loss: Traumatic Experience of Death

Cat loss is the most traumatic experience for pet owners. The death of your beloved pet means losing your soul. I never thought this would happen to me so suddenly, so fast, it did. Cancer is the culprit. The trauma of letting my pet die has revealed some truth about life. My lovely little cat Dow Dow (in Chinese it means “little beans” 小豆豆 ) is 12 year old. I gave him this name for his bubbly, jumpy and personable character. He has been in good health ever since. He has a captivating quality that draws everyone to him. Recently, we discovered something unusual about the cat. There is blood in the litter box. What is most worrisome is that his stool is getting smaller and smaller. Also, he has lost some weight. However, I never thought this would be serious. Dow Dow’s problem must be constipation, I assumed. Cat loss is but a remote thought.

Cat Loss, Pet Death: Diagnosis

Cat loss is not real. Death occurs only to inactive cats. I am fatally wrong……I took the cat to the vet where he stayed overnight for examination. The next day the vet called me to deliver the most horrific news that any pet owner dreads, “your cat has cancer”. I rushed to the pet clinic instantly with my family. The X ray showed that stool is blocked from exit because of a destructive mass or bad lump. I asked the vet if it means a “malignant tumour”. She said in a sombre tone “Yes, it is cancer”. We broke out in tears in utter disbelief. This is the youngest of our three cats. How can this happen? The vet declined to do surgery for Dow Dow because it is advance stage cancer. Surgery of this type is risky. She referred us to consult the oncology specialist in the animal hospital. Finally, the vet admitted her fear that Dow Dow may not survive the painful yet complicated operation. Even if he does, it may only extend his lifespan by 2 to 3 months……

Cat Loss, Pet Death: Reaction, Agitation

My heart was torn into a zillion pieces with the announcement of cat loss. I asked the vet “What is the most feasible course of action for my pet?” She unequivocally answered “Put him to sleep”. This is the most heart shattering moment for us. We were thrown into a state of agitation, hysteria and disarray, fervently arguing what and when to do with our beloved cat. The vet said she can even put Dow Dow to sleep tonight NOW. At that moment, we rejected death fiercely. It is unthinkable to end a treasured life in a split second. After some furious debate we agreed that the longer we wait, the more Dow Dow will suffer. We will let the cat die in 2 days by way of euthanasia, what a gruesome word!

Cat Death: Good Memory, Joy Despite Loss

Death is unbearable for pet owners. Counting the number of days for your beloved cat to die is an excruciating loss. However, we need to focus on his good memories and joy he brought us throughout his 12 years of life. He is an adorable Himalayan cat that looks much younger than he actually is. His long smooth velvety hair in cappuccino colour makes him appear like a kitten than a full grown adult feline. I must admit, my cat Dow Dow has had a good life despite his tragic illness. The best healing for feline death is to re-visit his entire life.

Favourite Memory of My Cat “Dow Dow”

  1. Crowd Pleaser: My cat has an outgoing character. Whenever friends visit, Dow Dow will come smell people out in a friendly manner. He checks out who and when entered the residence. At times, we call him “Snoppy” because he is nosy. This little cat likes to conduct CSI investigation on everyone. Each visitor is amused by his comical behaviour.
  2. Chinese Bamboo: Although Dow Dow eats his standard cat food, he also has a penchant for Chinese bamboo. He regularly snacks the big bamboo in the pot. My mum has to chase him off so he won’t eat up our plant. His peculiar preference led us to wonder if Dow Dow has been a panda in his previous life?
  3. Chinese Television: Grandma is not the only person fond of Chinese television program, my cat enjoys watching this too. Dow Dow has always been a healthy cat 98% of his life. Everyday he roams around the house, jumping from sofa to table, meowing when he gets bored or needs attention. When the sun is out, he spends time sunbathing. Dow Dow truly knows how to live a joyful cat life without worry. When he gets tired, he would hunker down to watch Chinese language programs with grandma, wagging his tail anxiously when the kung fu master beats up the scoundrels. Wow, how amazing feline intuition Dow Dow has!
  4. Chinese Calligraphy: Mum likes to practice traditional Chinese calligraphy. As soon as she dips the brush onto the rice paper, Dow Dow observes in awe. When it is big size Chinese writing, mum uses broad brush strokes and strong techniques. The movement is graceful and captivating. Often my cat is so charmed that he would lurch forward and attempt to grap mum’s Chinese paint brush with his soft furry paws. This is the moment where there is an outburst of laughter in the studio. It is incredibly entertaining to watch Dow Dow.

Despite these beautiful memories, it does not change the ugly truth that my cat has acute cancer. The tumour at the rectal area is growing progressively. This punishable demon is blocking Dow Dow from passing stool. This is why he experiences much pain when going to bathroom. I know I must put him down to terminate his pain. This is the only solution.

Cat Loss: Advice to Pet Lovers

Dear cat owners, your pet’s life will invariable come to an end at some point. It is a reality that you will have to face eventually. It is nature’s own footsteps. Rather than dwelling on the agonizing thought of “what if”, “how come”, or “had I not”, please devote time to the cherished memories left behind by your pet. Think about the blissful moments you spent with your best companion. Long drawn mourning or protracted grief won’t bring back the deceased. By reverse, great memories stay vibrant for a long long time. They will make you stronger. Remember.

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