My Big Buddy, Soldier.
Last week Friday I got up and got ready for work. My wife had already left, catching the ferry into work as I usually do but on Fridays I often have to drive in so that I can pick up my shipment for the shop. This allows me a few extra minutes of sleeping in.
Walking into the bathroom I found my fuzzy buddy, Soldier, curled up in the bathroom sink, as he would always do. He had claimed it for his bed when we got the bathroom renovated a couple years ago.
So I picked him up put him on the floor and continued to brush my teeth etc.
But I noticed Soldier wasn’t his usually noisy self, begging for food. But I figured perhaps my wife had given him some “mushy mush” food before she left.
It still kind of bothered me as he seemed a bit more lethargic than normal though.
But hey, calling a cat lazy is kind of redundant and he would often get like this after the initial “Hurray, my people are awake”.
When I came home that night I mentioned to my wife that “Hey, I’m a little worried about Soldier, he seemed a little distant this morning. Had you fed him before you left?”
She replied that she had not fed him but he had been acting normal, giving her head butts and so forth.
He was sleeping when we came in and when he later did get up continued to act sort of lethargic and didn’t have much interest in food, water or playing. VERY strange for Soldier. He still cuddled up to me that night though purring loudly, as he would always do, but it was obvious he wasn’t himself and we decided in the morning we would take him to the vet.
Saturday morning we saw the vet. When she took his temperature it was 105! And he was very dehydrated. She said this is rather serious so they gave him fluids and antibiotics as well as a shot to bring his appetite back. She instructed us to make sure he has plenty of water and food and if someone could watch him during the day. She said they could keep him at the vet but it was better for him to go home where he wasn’t stressed and could relax.
All in all it sounded like he had a bad flu, but deep down I knew this was bad.
My wife stayed with him during the day as I went to work and she informed me through phone calls and texts that he seemed to perk up, drinking water and, although still not eating, seemed to be acting a bit more like himself. Later that night we gave him water with some ice (as we had been instructed by the vet) and he seemed to like it drinking a good deal of regular room temp water and cooled water.
But it was like he couldn’t get comfortable, moving to different spots in the house, the wife and I watching him closely. He even threw-up a couple times... just water really. Again all symptoms of the flu.
We let him rest and tried not to bother him too much, just gentle petting. At about 2 or 3 in the morning we went to get a rather restless sleep.
At 6’ish I woke up to my other cat, Warrior, walking around my head. I immediately got up to check on my buddy who was right outside my bedroom door. I could see he wasn’t doing well. He was panting a bit and I when I moved the water to him he just sort of flopped back onto his side. I immediately woke the wife and we called the vet.
When we told her the symptoms she said we should come in but it would be best to prepare ourselves as it did not sound good.
I broke the speed limit the whole way to the vet. My wife Dawn and I sat there petting and talking to our furry four legged son, waiting for her. As soon as she arrived we went right to the back room. When I put him on the table Soldier sat there for a second and then he flopped over as if he didn’t have the strength. I caught his little head in my hand before it banged against the table. The vet hadn’t even listened to his chest yet and I knew this was the last time I would hold my boy.
She told us his body was shutting down and he was not going to recover. It was just time now.
I remember I had to choke out ‘Don’t let him suffer.” twice. The first time it just came out as an unintelligent, moaning shudder from my lips. As if the words themselves didn’t want to form.
I have had many cats growing up but, Soldier was MY first cat. He chose me when I when to the SPCA. He stood up in his cage while the other kittens huddled in the back and he walked up to me as if to say “Well, it’s about time you got here. I’ve been waiting to go home, Pop.”
He and his little brother, Warrior, even made an appearance in the Jessie one-shot issue.
I loved him like a person.
He NEVER hissed or scratched at me, though, he did give me plenty of cuts and scratches as he climbed over me in the middle of the night, or tried to lick my goatee as I slept.
I think that he must have been sick for awhile as he had lost a lot of weight. But he was getting older and still so healthy and active. The vets never found anything wrong with him in his checkups and they think that this may have been Cancer.
I can be thankful that it was fast. I remember on Thursday night telling him to stop chasing Warrior as they play fought constantly, running through the house like maniacs.
So for anyone who took the time to read this. I thank you. And if you have a pet, please give them a little extra attention today. Take some pictures and videos. And feel free to write a little tidbit about your furry family member here.