Now we are three

Sweet-natured Dusty got along with everyone.

There’s a collection of small canisters on our fireplace mantle. Soon another one will be added.

Dusty left us on Saturday morning. Although he was 17-1/2, he hadn’t been sick, no traumatic illness overtook him. I rejoiced in his grand old age when he turned 17.

He had some old kitty symptoms: his flanks were concave, he drank more water and peed more. But his appetite was hearty and he seemed to enjoy all the normal catly things – cuddling on the couch or on the bed, snoozing in the sunshine of the bay window next his good bud Pully, the food foraging game, catnip toys, sharing the milk from my cereal and space in front of my computer in the morning.

Dusty was the cat that purred up a storm. You could just look at him or say his name and he would purr. He crept up next to my face in bed in the morning after my husband got up, so close his whiskers would tickle me.

Other than a dental with two extractions a number of years ago, his chart was clean. A checkup was on my list, but finances were really tight over the past couple of years and we’d had car expenses and various medical co-pays. Somehow I don’t think that would have prevented what happened Saturday.

I noticed that his purr changed over the past couple days; it became raspier and his breathing seemed just a little off. His appetite was also off a bit and Friday night he didn’t want his before-bedtime meal. I made a mental note to call the vet in the morning.

On the bed during the night, he coughed in a weird way and he was hunched on the bedroom floor in the morning. I carried him downstairs. He struggled and was mouth breathing when I put him down, obviously uncomfortable. I called the veterinarian, got an appointment for 9 a.m. and ran upstairs to get dressed.

Dusty was gone when I got back downstairs, stretched out on the floor, eyes dilated. He was still warm.

We cried. We said good-bye. We told him we loved him and that he was going to see his sister, Coco, at last.

Dusty joined his sister Coco on Saturday, Jan. 7. I love this photo of them together.

We carefully placed him in the carrier and I took him to the veterinarian, not for evaluation and treatment, but to make those final arrangements and perhaps learn what took him from us so quickly and unexpectedly.

I petted him and talked to him while waiting, and cried some more. When the veterinarian came in, I told him what had happened. As he examined Dusty, he said sometimes the cords attached to the heart break or wear out; the heart keeps pumping and pumps fluid into the chest causing death.

I said good-bye once more, kissed his head, and left with an empty carrier.

I’ve heard many times that cats and dogs grieve when their companions die. I believe I’m pretty tuned into my cats, but I have never noticed any signs of grief in my cats. Even Yuri, who was cuddling with his sister Kira before we had her euthanized due to FIP, never seemed to miss her.

I enjoyed the fact that this collection of kitties is especially compatible. I watched Tekla, Mollie, and Pully throughout Saturday. Pully was yowling – maybe a bit more than usual? At dinnertime, did I see Tekla glance toward the doorway; was she expecting to see Dusty walk into the kitchen so she could run over and greet him? Mollie? She was just doing her typical Mollie thing. But she did vocalize uncharacteristically Saturday night after the lights were turned out.

We’ve always had four, five, or as many as six cats, so maybe they find comfort in each other in their own ways.

I know I find comfort in them. It’s why I have a multiple cat family.

 Like many people, posting status updates on Facebook are an everyday part of my life. I posted briefly about Dusty Saturday morning and was overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy and love. Say what you want about social media today – I am grateful for the support of each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

8 Responses to Now we are three

  1. amyshojai says:

    Oh Sally, I am so very sorry for your loss. Hugs–and whisker kisses from Seren.

  2. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Dusty. I’ll never understand why our time with our furkids has to be so short. I guess the secret is to love them dearly while we can. Dusty will always live in your dreams and in your heart. (((Hugs)))

  3. Svetlana Razumnaya says:

    Dear Sally, I read it with tears in my eyes.. Let them both to play on the green-green grass in Cat’s Heaven. I am sorry for your loss.

  4. Ingrid King says:

    Oh Sally, what a devastating way to loose Dusty. While it sounds like it was quick for him, it must have come as such a shock to you. My heart goes out to you. I’m glad you have Tekla, Molly and Pully to comfort you. You’re in my thoughts.

  5. Sorry for your loss of a well loved family member. Having trouble typing as its hard to see the keys through tears.

  6. catnipslondoncatsitter says:

    Excellent blog. Keep up the great work x

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