Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for the T Cats

When I graduated from college and got my first apartment, one of my main goals was to get a pet of my own. I ended up getting two, as a friend of my brother's who worked for the Humane Society rescued a mother cat and her kittens, who had been born on the street. She asked me if I would like two of the kittens, and I jumped at the chance.

They were two tabby cats, and I named them Tigger and Thomas. A friend dubbed them "the T cats." For the next twelve years, the two of them were my little buddies and constant companions, with me through moves, job changes, going back to school, more moves, more job changes, and all the general ups and downs of life.

When Tigger was 12 years old, he was diagnosed with a heart problem. His body deteriorated quickly, and within a few months, the vet also found a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. It was clear there was nothing to do for him but put him to sleep. I stayed with him when the vet put him down, and I cried my eyes out. I knew it had to be done as I couldn't allow him to suffer, but that didn't make the decision any easier.

Thomas was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 10 years old, and for the next 5 years, I learned more about treating feline diabetes than I ever wanted to know. I almost felt as if I could be a vet tech myself. Thomas was at the vet so much, he became a favorite patient of the staff there, and almost like Norm on Cheers. When Thomas and I would walk in the door, the receptionists and technicians and veterinarians would turn and yell "Thomas!" Everybody there knew his name.

He managed very well and lasted longer than anyone expected when he was first diagnosed, but when he was 15, the disease had taken its toll and his body started to shut down. Once again I found myself putting a beloved pet to sleep, and it wasn't any easier the second time around.

While Thomas outlived Tigger by 3 years, I still always think of the two of them together, and it's impossible to think of one without the other. They were a package deal.

For 12 years, they were inseparable, and only apart when one had to go to the vet and the other got to stay home. They were my T Cats and, at least in my heart, they're together again, where I know they'll always remain. 

19 comments:

  1. My heart goes out to you. I've been there too, making the decision then doubting my actions.
    "If only I had done this."

    But despite the heartache at the end, I don't think I could live without those critters of ours :)

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  2. I love Kitty's. Sorry to hear what happened but it's nice that you had them for as long as you did and they will always be in your heart.
    I am also here to give you the Stylish Blogger Award. You can pick it up on my blog post and just remember to follow the rules that are listed. Have fun with it.

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  3. http://theworldofjulieb.blogspot.com/

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  4. What a loving tribute to your babies. I know how much it hurt.

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  5. How sweet you got to have them together for so long, and sad to have to put them down. End of pet life is hard (heck, I even cried at the end of the Dewey book).

    I wrote about T cats today to, two of my current cats have T names (and the other is a tabby).

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  6. Lovely and sweet tribute to your dear ones. I love cats and I know how hard it is when it is their time to go! I sobbed and sobbed even over one of our cats who wasn't very nice!

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  7. Oh they sound like such sweet cats. I love how pets leave their little paw prints on our hearts and in our lives.

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  8. this touched me more than you will ever know. Your "T" Cats were just adorable. Such a wonderful, loving tribute. I can so relate about Tigger. My Bobo developed heart disease as well at about age 16. At the time he was diagnosed the vet said he could live a few days, a few weeks or a few months. My wonderful vet prolonged his life for 2 more years. I also was faced with the same horrible decision that you had to make (twice, OMG how did you do it? Once was sooo hard). To this day I second guess myself wondering if I let him be put to sleep too soon. I didn't want him to suffer, his breathing was awful, he had become deaf, he wouldn't eat and he started urinating outside the litter box (he used to be fastidious about his litter). Bobo was a food obsessed cat and I always knew that if he stopped eating it was "time"...he went through everything with me like your babies did....thank you for such a moving tribute xoxoxo

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  9. Great tribute to them. It is always hard to say good-bye. It never gets any easier, but it's nice we can make the choice so they don't suffer.

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  10. I said 'never again' after my cat and then my dog had to be put to sleep but we now have two rescue cats, grey ladies, acquired 6 weeks ago. They're not kittens and I dread that day which I know will come at some stage but at least we're giving them a good home. Otherwise they would have still been in the rescue centre.

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  11. It's always hard to say goodbye to beloved companions, but the memories we make while they are around are priceless. :) Lovely tribute.

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  12. @Huntress, thank you. I completely agree, I don't think I can live without the critters either.

    @ladydragonfly, oh, thanks so much for the award, that's so nice of you. I will be there to pick it up, thank you!

    @Carol, thanks!

    @Claire, oh, I cried at the end of Dewey too! Also at the end of Marley and Me. Nothing makes me cry more than animal stories. Oh your cats sound precious, I will be by to check out your post. :)

    @Melissa, I know just what you mean! It's so hard to say goodbye even if they aren't the nicest pets in the world, I would sob too, no doubt.

    @Carrie, that's such a great way to put it, leaving a little paw print. Very sweet and so true!

    @Yvonne, thank you!

    @Caren, oh, I'm touched that you found my tribute moving, thank you. I can really relate to what you went through with Bobo, it is very hard not to second guess ourselves. I'm sure though that you did what was best for him, no doubt.

    @Amy, thanks! Yeah, that's the thing, it is hard but I could never stand to let an animal suffer. :(

    @Rosalind, oh, those grey ladies are lucky to have found such a great home with you. I know what you mean, I thought I would never want to go through losing a pet again and yet here I am with two more. I just hope these two have a very long life, and your rescues as well!

    @Samantha, thanks so much, and I agree, the memories are priceless. :)

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  13. Last year I had to put my collie down, and I still miss her. Our pets have been a wonderful part of our lives. We're lucky to have had them. :)

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  14. @Michelle, I agree, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye, I still feel lucky to have had my pets. I'm sorry about your collie, I can totally relate!

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  15. what a great tribute! made me a bit teary eyed as I have cats of my own.
    nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  16. @nutschell, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. I bet your cats are real cuties. :)

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  17. I have had cats for 42 years. I have always needed to be there in the end. It is the last gift you can give a beloved pet who gave so much to you. The gift of a loving end with them on your lap.

    Good story.

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  18. @Retired Knitter, thank you. I agree, even though it was so hard, I wanted to be there with them in the end.

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Thank you for your comments!