Farewell Arty

This has been a tough week – a horrible, no-good, awful week.  We had to say goodbye to our sweet, little Artyimg_0124Our cuddly, goofy darling has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and (we hope) is waiting for us on the other side.  Our house is so much emptier without him.

We still don’t know exactly what happened, but about a week and a half ago, he started vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down, be it food or water.  He got dehydrated very quickly, getting more and more lethargic, terrifying his kitty-parents.  After four days with the emergency clinic, where he endured any number of tests, injections, IVs, he seemed to be getting better – he was hydrated, bright-eyed, and energetic.  With palpable relief, we brought our baby home and smothered him with grateful cuddles.

Unfortunately, within a couple of days, it became very clear that the emergency vet had only been treating his symptoms and that they had not discovered the actual cause of his distress.  He started vomiting again, losing weight, and becoming dehydrated all over again.  His poor little digestive system was not working the way it was supposed to and no one could discern why.  We consulted with our local vet and after examining a couple of x-rays, he saw something that could possibly be a source of blockage in Arty’s stomach. He proposed an exploratory surgery that might be able to help (and added that this was the only procedure left for us to try), but gave the possibility of success at about 50%.

We were heartbroken.  We wailed and anguished about this decision for ages – how could we turn down the possibility of saving our baby’s life?  How could we put him through more suffering?  How could we responsibly spend that much money on more veterinary bills when we already spent so much with the emergency vet?  Ultimately, we determined to prioritize minimizing Arty’s suffering.  After two weeks of vomiting, dehydration, and vet tests, we determined that we could not put the poor thing through another painful procedure when the likelihood of success was so low.  I think very few things are more difficult than saying goodbye to a beloved pet, especially when you’re the one to make the decision to end his suffering.

We’ll miss his cuddles, we’ll miss his face butts, we’ll miss his misguided attempts to help us with the housework.  Every time I turn around, I still expect to see him waddling around the corner and it breaks my heart all over again.  I can feel the little hole in my heart where his memories reside.  I know that over time, the ache will ease and knowing how much joy we brought to each other in his too-short life brings a great deal of solace.

To anyone else who’s recently lost an animal or loved one, how did you deal with the pain of the loss?  Do you care to share a favorite memory of the one you lost?

My husband and I have been spending a lot of time sharing our favorite memories of Arty’s many, many quirks.  I know we’ll never find another cat just like him and that thought makes me miserable, but I’m grateful for the time we did share.  Goodbye, Arty.  You will be sorely missed.


One thought on “Farewell Arty

  1. Hello Allie,
    First let me say my heart goes out to you and your husband for the loss of Arty! It is never easy losing a beloved pet especially when you condider them a member of your family.
    A few years back my husband and I lost all three of our furry children within four months. April 16, 2013 we lost our 9yr old tabby Simba (who looked just like Iris and had a similar personality)…he had an insatiable need to chew on plastic. No matter how diligent we were he always seemed to find something inedible to eat. He was diagnosed with a feline form of pica! His x-rays showed his stomach was full of what we all guessed was plastic. Our vet basically told us the same thing yours told you about Arty- 50/50 chance at best with an exploratory surgery. He wasn’t able to keep down food or water, it sounds very very similar to what you just went through. After some research I discovered a lot of plastic shopping bags as well as sandwich bags and freezer bags use fish oil in manufacturing!

    Then on May 14, 2013 we lost our beloved 9 yr old black lab Quinn who we rescued when he was just a puppy from a local shelter. He used to “help” me in the garden, he loved playing fetch and he would do anything for a chicken nugget or banana. He was so full of personality and had so much love to give. A month and a half later on July 22, 2013 Simba’s sister Sandy passed away. Like your two new babies Simba and Sandy weren’t actually brother and sister; they too were in separate kennels when we adopted them -my husband and I could not leave without both of them. Technically Sandy died of kidney failure but we both believe that she truly died of a broken heart. In retrospect I believe that Sandy’s issue started with struvite crystals but because females do not have such a narrow urethra her access urine ended up backing up into her kidneys causing her sudden kidney failure. We always called her the little mama because whenever anyone wasn’t feeling well she would be right there to keep you company.
    Seven months before we lost Quinn we spent over $10,000 on a surgery to remove a 12 pound tumor. All the specialists told us they had gotten it all and gave him a clean bill of health. He ended up dying from advanced oral cancer which was found two days before he died during a routine tooth cleaning. As you can imagine we pulled out all the stops and did everything possible to keep Simba and Sandy around aswell but sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. And sometimes even $1 million wouldn’t keep them around either.
    Like you, sometimes I still think I see them real quick out of the corner of my eye or feel them in the house. There’s a lot more to my story but I don’t want to depress you anymore than I already have. I just felt the need to try and comfort you and let you know you’re not alone and someone out there understands your pain.

    Two years ago we opened our home and hearts again to two kittens from a local shelter- Bruce and Bella. Bella is all black, with long hair and looks almost identical to your handsome boy Arty 🙂 They are true brother and sister and were just four weeks old when we adopted them. They play fetch and love the water. They are thriving and I truly believe they have rescued us more than we rescued them.

    Almost 2 months ago we had a major scare with Bruce. We came home to find him crying in pain next to his litter box and we rushed him to the ER. We found out that he had a complete blockage of his urethra due to struvite crystals. We had been feeding him and his sister blue Buffalo dry and canned. Two weeks and $3000 later we learned a very expensive and scary lesson… all cats should be eating a quality grain free canned food diet. Feeding dry food is like playing Russian roulette with your cats health. Knock on wood we haven’t had any more issues and all of his tests are coming up great. They have their own water fountain and every meal 3x a day I add a tablespoon of water to their canned food. We are also transitioning them to a raw diet.

    I am not a religious person but even so it is hard not to want to believe in the rainbow bridge. I’m also not the type of person who is able to let go easily so for several years I have worn a heart shaped miniature earn that holds the ashes of all the fur-babies I’ve lost. Some may call it macabre, but for those of us whose children have four legs I don’t need to explain why. The best advice I can give is to cherish every moment you have with your little furry people. As long as you told their memories in your heart they are never truly gone 🙂

    PS I am also on ravelry and I just started knitting the Saint Remy pattern.


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