Yesterday our cat died. He was curled sleeping on the sofa in my son’s room when I went in to ask son’s assistance to resolve a tech problem with a new monitor adapter. Minutes later, we heard a hacking sound, like one of our cats was about to bring up a hairball. I immediately grabbed tissue in preparation to clean up the result and went to where the sound had come from, under my son’s desk. I found our male cat, frozen, his eyes wide and neck extended like he was choking. I bent to pick him up, but before I could, he went stiff and collapsed on his side.
For the next couple of minutes (felt like years) son and I tried frantically to help him. I performed the Heimlich, and we both compressed his abdomen, and chest, thinking maybe he was choking. My son pried open his mouth to check for a blockage, but it was clear because a gasping rattled ushered out, and our cat went limp. By the time we made it to the Emergency Vet clinic with him, he was gone, but we needed confirmation.
His death was sudden. Terrifying. And brutal. One minute he was our sassy bad boy cat snoozing on the sofa, the next we were trying desperately to save his life. Less than hour later, we all took turns cradling him in the towel the vet’s office had wrapped him, to murmur our tearful goodbyes.
We don’t know why he died (we declined an autopsy). The Emergency Vet employee we dealt with at the clinic suggested he could have died from a heart attack (un-diagnosed heart disease is the most common cause of sudden deaths in cats), something more common in male cats in general, and Ragdolls and Maine Coon breeds, specifically (our cat was a Ragdollx). A friend who’s a Vet Tech posited that he could have died of Thrombosis (a blood clot).
In truth, it doesn’t matter what killed him. It only matters that he lived, and was loved by us for the twelve blessed years he filled our house with his sassy brand of catitude, and furry affection.
Life is fragile, friends. Hug your loved ones. Hug your pets.
Hug yourself. <3
Stay home, stay safe. Stay well.
And you, my little bad boy, always on my counters and peeing on people’s shoes… Thank you for the many moments you made me, and our family, and others, laugh with your crazy antics and goofy galloping around the house. Thank you more for the many hours of purring warmth you gave us all whenever any of us needed a soft, and rumbling snuggle. You will be missed. More than you can know. <3
Love is the only effective counter to death.~Maureen Duffy