Photo Comments Sex: Female Weight: 12 lbs.
Today is my Birthday!
Leave a treat for Nerys
Catster stats for Nerys
Bunny, Miss Nerys, Bunnykins
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|-mixed breed||-pound cat||-cat rescue|
March 18th 1995
Having my chin scratched while I drool all over your hands. Exploring the front yard on a leash is fun too.
Other cats stealing my mom's lap. Upstart kittens that think I'm a toy.
(1) BUGS, (2) Feathers on a stick, if you move it around chair legs, (3) An upside-down spice bottle lid with cat nip inside
Favorite Nap Spot:
A comfy lap, or the chair by the spare bedroom window. Now that my joints have started hurting, a comfy blanket with a heating pad is my favorite-est.
shortbread cookies, Chex Mix, cereal milk, licking salt off of crackers
I can cough up hairballs on command. I learned to do this on mom's pillow while she's asleep at night, to wake her up so she'll feed and pet me.
Nerys was my sweetheart.
My father is a military veteran, and we were stationed in England for several years before he left the service (my brother and I were still kids). While there, my parents finally decided that it was time for our family to welcome in some long-term pets, so we started calling around to all the local animal shelters, asking if we could come have a look at some kittens. Strangely, they all said that they had no kittens at all...this baffled us until one shelter explained: our accents gave us away as American, and Americans (especially military) have a reputation (sadly, a well-deserved one) for abandoning their pets when they move. The shelter decided to give us the benefit of the doubt, and after a thorough interview, they introduced us to a beautiful pair of tabby kittens born on a farm.
I promptly named mine "Kira Nerys" (a Star Trek character), and my brother named his "Michael". Lol, what do you expect when you let kids name pets? My brother's first choice was "Spacecat Captain Picard", so I suppose we should just be thankful that we talked him down to "Michael".
I wish we could contact that shelter now to let them know that their faith was well-placed: those two cats became some of the most well-traveled cats ever, and we adored them. Michael eventually developed diabetes, but he lived several more wonderful years thanks to careful care from my family (especially my mom). When I married and left home, I made the painful decision to leave Nerys behind; I thought it would be harder on her to lose her brother + the other members of the family + her home than to lose just me...I was wrong. So, my new husband and I took her in to live with us instead, and she proceeded to transform him from a dog person to a cat person :D Go Nerys!
Her brother Michael eventually passed away at...14, I think, from cancer and complications from his diabetes. Nerys, however, continued to be very healthy--the vets were always surprised when they heard how old she was. I thought she would certainly live to 18 or 20. In the meantime, our family continued to grow, finally reaching 5 cats.
Then, late last year, I felt a small lump near the base of her tail. I tried not to freak out; after all, it was very small, and she didn't seem to have any problems other than mild joint pain. The vet tried to take a sample with a needle, but couldn't get anything out. A surgical biopsy would have been overkill given her overall condition, so we decided to wait and see. Everything was fine for awhile...and then we realized the lump was growing. And it grew -fast-. We took her to our own vet many times, and to an animal oncologist, but our options were slim: being at the base of her tail (and therefore on the spine) made the tumor dangerous to operate on. We don't even know if the tumor was technically malignant, because it progressed so quickly that its size alone was the immediate threat: it was closing off her ability to use the bathroom.
We made her as comfortable as we could, making it easier to reach all her favorite things and gave her all her favorite foods. I didn't think I was in denial about how long she had left, until after two enemas to clean out her stopped-up system, I woke up one morning and my husband suggested that today it might be time to say goodbye. I was flabbergasted: now?! No, she had several months left, right? Weeks, at least! Then I went to see her, and realized he was right. For the first time in her entire life, Nerys was hiding under the couch, upset because she didn't understand why she hurt. She was such a good girl: she NEVER failed to get to the litterbox, even up to the very end, but the night before she hadn't been able to stand up properly inside the box and had peed on herself. I had scrubbed her up as best I could that night, but I realized come morning that she hadn't finished cleaning herself, and that wasn't right: she was always one of the most fastidious animals I'd ever known.
So, I made the appointment for that afternoon, and sat with her all day. Over the past few weeks, I'd let her have shortbread and chex mix (her favorite foods), but today all she really wanted was to sit in her favorite spot and be pet. (I tried sitting in that spot--thinking she would want to sit in my lap--but she proceeded to give me a very Nerys-ish look of "what are you doing in MY spot?", hehe.)
Even when she was younger, I was afraid of the day that she'd be put to sleep, because of how afraid she was of the vet. I didn't want fear to be her last memory. Over her recent vet trips, though, I had discovered that she loved my soft furry pink robe, so I put it in her carrier with her when we took her in, and she calmed right down, just like she was back on her couch at home. After 16 years, I said goodbye to my baby.
We had her remains cremated and buried them in a garden we planted just for her, full of pink flowers and marigolds (she always loved lying in marigolds, but we couldn't let her because she was allergic to them). The vet gave us a beautiful stone with Nerys' name on it, and it sits in the middle of her garden.
I once read that there is no "wrong" time to let go of a terminally ill companion, and I think I have to agree. With Nerys, we were afforded an unusual mercy: we were able to send her on before she started to feel a lot of pain from her condition, but we had absolute certainty that she would have been in far more pain soon (as her plumbing closed off entirely). My parents chose to hold onto Michael for awhile, giving him medication to keep him comfortable, and they know that they did not send him on too early. Other people choose to let their pets go earlier, so that they can spare their companions further suffering. As long as you act with the interests of your friend at heart, neither choice is wrong.
The biggest piece of advice I would offer to others going through the loss of a beloved pet is to adopt another pet before they go on. I can't imagine how hard it would be to come home to an empty house after saying goodbye. Instead, I came home and snuggled with the kitten we'd brought home several months earlier. We started to call him the "de-seriousizer", because whenever we started to feel so sad we thought we'd burst, he'd do something silly and make us laugh.
I miss you so much, Bunny. Wherever you are, I hope you're happy, and I hope you know how much you are loved.
I'm a princess and I know it.
The Last Forum I Posted In:
Taking care of kitten with an enlarged heart and a heart
I've Been On Catster Since:
|July 19th 2011
||More than 4 years!
Rosette, Star and Special Gift History