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Sweet Thoughts For A Gentle Soul

I lost my cat, Treasure, this week.

I have wanted to write about him for days, but, every time I put pen to paper, I just couldn't do it.

Now, I feel I owe it to him, for he meant so much to me.

Having no kids, and being an avowed animal lover, I feel that my pets (2 dogs, and now 3 cats), have sort of filled a void where a child would exist. And though I am sure if I were to have a child, I would feel a much deeper sense of caring and selflessness, but I don't, so I devote my affection toward them.

The bond between a beloved pet and its owner is quite amazing. Some people don't care for it. Others use it for evil purposes, but the majority of pet owners take them in out of a profound sense of caring, a sharing of one's self to the welfare and affection of another creature.

Treasure, or Trezz for short, was 17 years old. He was a Siamese, cats known for their vocal tendencies, and he was no exception. I would be on the phone, and people would think I had a crying child in the house. In his years leading up to the end of his life, he made himself known to all. Meowing at nothing, or meowing for something, no matter which, it added to his very distinct personality.

He had terrible cataracts for years, ones which the vets said would come back within months if we had them removed. We decided not to put him through the trauma of endless operations. He didn't seem to mind. For many of his last years, he was virtually blind, seeing only faint shadows, and the difference between light and dark.

What was absolutely stunning to me was his agility and ability to navigate around our houses. He had a sixth sense about space, knowing exactly where to go, where to jump, where obstacles were.

He also had a penchant for placing himself in the most inopportune places. In front of the computer screen, draping himself over my head when I would lay down, sitting on my notepads. But, I would just sigh, shake my head, and keep moving him as he would always find his way back to the same spot.

It was over the past six months that he had noticeably started having problems.

He was getting skinny. His head was always hanging low, which we found was due to a potassium deficiency. We had a myriad of tests done. The main problem showing he had kidney disease.

We did everything we could. He required special food. I had to give him a potassium supplement gel twice a day. And we had to give him an IV drip every night, which supplemented his nutritional deficiencies.

Remarkably, he bounced back. His zeal for exploration returned, as did his vocal tendencies.

We had a little gate separating the cats from the dogs. He came to despise this. And to our surprise, we would wake up, finding him sprawled out on the couch. I caught him in the act of his escape a few times. This old, blind, persistent cat climbing over the gate, head propped up over the top.

Our fear of a cat/dog war quickly vanished when one day, our shepard/greyhound mix Trooper decided to check him out, and Treasure, this 17 year old, blind, 6 pound cat, chased him around the house, terrifying Trooper. From that day on, Treasure had run of the house.

He loved to curl up in your lap. Or I would be asleep and wake up to find him sitting on my chest. He would sneak his way into your lap. Inch by inch, nudging his way past your arms, slowly pushing a book out of the way. And before you knew it, he'd be curled up, tail wrapped around him, purring contently. I'd just shake my head and smile.

Since I've been not able to work due to a rather nasty back injury, I've spent alot of time with him these past six months. He became a constant, calming companion. Always making his way onto my lap, with me gently tussling his fur, falling asleep together.

Things were fine until this Sunday, when we noticed his jaw was out of place. We thought maybe when he climbed down from somewhere, he hit his jaw and dislocated it. I was sure that was the problem, which is generally easily fixed.

My wife took him immediately to our vet, as I had a physical therapy session.

I got out, called her, and received the news. Treasure's jaw was fractured. Not from any trauma, but his bones were so compromised from nutritional deficiency due to his age that it just gave way.

The vet said, due to his age, he would not survive the surgery, and even if he did, he would not have the physical capacity to heal.

I got off the phone with my wife, and broke down into tears.

I arrived at the vet, eyes swollen, went into the office, and saw him walking around, bumping into things, but obviously in pain.

I held him, blubbering the entire time, saying goodbye to a friend I have been around for 13 years.

The vet came in, said it was the humane thing to do, and gave him a sedative. He meowed one last time, and just sort of went away.

Petting him, talking to him as he went, my wife and I were both in tears.

The vet and tech came in, took him away to administer the final shot, and that was it.

He was gone.

I cried for hours that day. For a few days I didn't really think of it, choosing to bury it in the back of my mind. Then, two days later, we got a card in the mail. The vet had stamped Treasure's paw-print onto the card, and with it included a small bag containing a lock of his fur.

I broke down sobbing.

I think of him every day, expecting him to come around the corner and hop into my lap.

He was a sweet creature. One with the most amazing personality I have yet to know.

A gentle soul. A sweet boy. And a wonderful friend.

Anyway, I'll stop now.

You're probably getting bored, and I can't type through my tears.


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Comments (43)

Shawn, you have my sympathy... (Below threshold)
Mike G in Corvallis:

Shawn, you have my sympathy for your loss.

Some people will never understand, but creatures like Treasure are family.

My sincere condolences to y... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

My sincere condolences to your family on the loss of such a dear friend.

Trezz' story strikes a close chord in me. As a young adolescent in 1968, our family received a tiny runt of a Siamese who my cousin (whose family owned his mother) had named Pyewacket after the Siamese in "Bell, Book, and Candle." He quickly became "my" cat, sleeping around my neck at night and in my lap when I was home - and he wasn't terrorizing our older cats despite his size disadvantage.

After college, Mom generously offered her dear friend, whom I had only seen on visits home, to me. "He really belongs with you," she said. Pye had an eccentric and endearing personality - we had the telephone question "Is there a baby there?" hundreds of times - and an unerring sense of who was a "cat person" and who was not, eagerly approaching the former who came into our home while disappearing when the latter visited.

When my first in-laws came to see us, my father-in-law was sitting on the couch when Pyewacket, out of nowhere, jumped on his lap. Poor Ed was shocked and fearful, and exclaimed, "I've never been around a cat in my life! What do I do?" I talked him through the first moves of head scratching and back stroking, and suddenly they were fast friends. Pyewacket KNEW he was a "cat person" even though he didn't!

In my early years I tended to have gaps between jobs, and there were some lean times when I could barely afford to keep the rent paid and eat, and Pyewacket shared my food. Fortunately, he had always liked almost all human food (except for sweet peas, which he wouldn't eat if they were covered in catnip). He had a radar for fried chicken, made at home or brought in. He could be sleeping upstairs, and ignore the door opening downstairs 99% of the time, BUT if KFC was coming in the door, he was down there in the blink of an eye, screaming bloody murder until you shared. And you did, even if you didn't want to, because you didn't want to find out just how long he could keep it up.

Most importantly, he was always there as a friend.

May he and Treasure rest in peace.

Sympathies to you on the lo... (Below threshold)

Sympathies to you on the loss of your beloved cat and thank you for writing such a wonderful tribute to Treasure. It is so difficult to lose a best friend and that is what Treasure wss to you. He had a great life with you, cared and loved by the best (even with the dogs!)! It was nice to catch a small glimpse of your life together - thank oyu!

((Shawn & Treasure))

We once had an awesome Siam... (Below threshold)

We once had an awesome Siamese by the name of Socrates. He'd wander around the house, telling you about his day, sometimes at three in the morning. He was a sharer, very generous that way.
You have nothing to apologize for. Animal people get it, others won't.
To paraphrase Will Rogers, "If there are no cats in heaven, when I die, I wanna go where they go."

Boring me? I'm sobbing. I... (Below threshold)

Boring me? I'm sobbing. I'm not far from losing my beloved Shepard. I don't even want to think about it. Thanx for sharing that though, Shawn. I'm sure it's painful for you.

Isn't it amazing how for so... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

Isn't it amazing how for so many of us our connection with animals brings out the best of our humanity ... and then, unfortunately, there are the Michael Vicks of the world.

I lost my cat Ariel about 2... (Below threshold)

I lost my cat Ariel about 2 months ago and I still "see" her sitting in the window out of the corner of my eye several times per day. I miss her and I TOTALLY connected with this article and feel for you. I have children ...five of them ... but I still feel the same way about my pets as you do. It's a different kind of love. My Ariel also had kidney disease and I held her as she went to sleep. I'll never forget that moment. Hope you feel better soon.

Treasure - sounds like the ... (Below threshold)

Treasure - sounds like the perfect name for him.

No matter how many times we go through it - the loss of a pet strikes us deeply because the love they give us is so sorely missed. I'm so sorry you and Treasure were parted, Shawn. God bless and comfort you and your wife.

My sympathies, Shawn. God ... (Below threshold)

My sympathies, Shawn. God bless. The price we pay for our pet's boundless love is the grief of losing them far too soon.

Kathy is right - Treasure w... (Below threshold)

Kathy is right - Treasure was aptly named.

People talk about the aloofness of cats - but then there are those that can, jokingly, be called "puppy-dog" cats. Our Siamese is one, and Treasure sounds like another.

Shawn (and Treasure), may G-d bless you and keep you both, in peace.

Sorry about your kitty, Sha... (Below threshold)

Sorry about your kitty, Shawn. We lost our beautiful Simon Gabriel to a freak accident a month ago. It still hurts, and I miss him. Our animal friends love us no matter what, and help us get through all our ordeals. Rest easy, Treasure. Say hi to Simon for me.

Shawn,, Your story had me c... (Below threshold)

Shawn,, Your story had me crying. I have Choco Labs that are 9 yrs old I'm already dreading what you went through.

God bless you, your wife, a... (Below threshold)

God bless you, your wife, and Treasure. It is so painful to lose a pet.

Sorry to read about your lo... (Below threshold)

Sorry to read about your loss, Shawn.
I fully understand.

I'm so sorry you lost your ... (Below threshold)

I'm so sorry you lost your Treasure. It's never easy to lose furry family members.

I enjoy reading you everyda... (Below threshold)
J Reed:

I enjoy reading you everyday and this is my first post.Im so sorry that you lost Treasure,my husband and I,also childless, lost our two 17 yr old kittys last year.It hurts like hell for awhile but it will get better.Im sure Treasure had a wonderful life and try and take comfort in that.
On another note-Thanks for sharing everyday,I always start my day here(after feeding my 3 cats and 1 dog of course),its like my morning shot of caffiene.

As you can see, many people... (Below threshold)

As you can see, many people understand.

Our first cat was a Siamese and she sold us on cats forever. That little trooper moved with us to Hawaii, and back and forth across the country many times. I can still picture her in the back seat of the family car with our two daughters as we trekked back and forth. She feasted on shrimp tails from Holiday Inn restaurants from coast to coast.

We were catless for many years because my wife thought she could not face making the painful decision again, after she had made it several times at the end of a long kitty life.

Now we have a cat in the house once again, and she has brought us much pleasure.

I lost a black part Siamese... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I lost a black part Siamese who was part of my family for 20 years. From a kitten to a mature cat he displayed a personality I did not know cats had. One day, early last summer Kitty Cat went outside never to be seen again. He had suvived a couple of life threatening illnesses, the last being a stroke which left him somewhat disabled. I let him outside at 6:00 pm and by 6:15 he was gone. No trace. I miss him. I never got closure.

I was raised by a Siamese. ... (Below threshold)

I was raised by a Siamese. Maybe that explains a few things. Condolences.

Hugs, Shawn. ... (Below threshold)

Hugs, Shawn.

We feel the same about our ... (Below threshold)

We feel the same about our "Fraidy" cat. We're sorry for your loss Shawn.

I'm so sorry for your loss.... (Below threshold)

I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your wife are in my thoughts and prayers.

I wrote about losing my dog... (Below threshold)

I wrote about losing my dog a number of years ago here.

Messed me up, surprisingly, for some time. And I still miss her.

So I'm relating... big-time.

The books "Kinship with All... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

The books "Kinship with All Life ..." by J. Allen Boone, and "Strange White Doves ..." by Alexander Key (author of "Escape to Witch Mountain" and "The Forgotten Door" and many other books) present anecdotal reports of close human-animal psychological bonds and argue for a greater ability to communicate and commune between humans and other species than is generally accepted. Anyone who has a close bond with an animal may find a lot of comfort in these. Both are long out-of-print but usually are easy to find on-line in used copies.

Most people I know that own... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Most people I know that own pets, dogs and cats, treat them like members of the family. I do mine. Owned pets all my life, as time passes, it gets tougher and tougher when you loose them. One of my concerns now is getting young pets that may exceed my lifespan. I made a deal with some nieces and nephews that any pets I have on my departure will be in my will and they will take care of them.
They are not humans, but they are important to me.

I'm so sorry for your loss.... (Below threshold)

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know the bond you speak of. I have a feral cat that adopted me about 3 years ago. She is NOT a "lap cat",being a totally independent one, but when I scratch her neck she licks my hand.

Thinking of you, Shawn, and... (Below threshold)

Thinking of you, Shawn, and praying for you. The day is fast approaching that I will have to say good-bye to my two 16 y.o "babies" Tubbies and JoJo. I tear up at the thought, as I did when reading this.

Many condolences, Shawn. We... (Below threshold)

Many condolences, Shawn. We lost our 13-year old beloved rescue lab/golden mix, Toughie, just before Christmas last year, so I know just how you feel.

All of us who love animals ... (Below threshold)

All of us who love animals open ourselves to this grief, knowing their little lives are shorter than our own. Console yourself knowing the good life you gave him and remembering all the little moments of connection and peace. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved - so true of our furry family members.
(- from "mom" of 4 cats and 2 horses)

Shawn, I can feel your pain... (Below threshold)

Shawn, I can feel your pain as well. We had a cat named Boxer, primarily because he was a large gray polydactyl cat, except for white paws, which with the thumbs he had made him look like he was wearing boxing gloves all the time. And the fact that there wasn't a box he didn't try to get into. With the thumbs, he had an impressive seven claws on each foot!

Anyway, we had that cat for 17 years, and he was the gentlest cat I have ever seen. He was about 24 pounds, all of it muscle, which made him impressive to see, and with his gentle nature, he was a hit with our kids, and all their friends. He contracted leukemia, and wasted away to about 6 pounds. When we lost him, we got calls from all those kids from all around the state. It was like a member of their family had died. I had never seen anything like the response that cat could generate in people. I do miss him, but would not have traded having him for anything.

This is an amazing tribute ... (Below threshold)

This is an amazing tribute to your beloved Trezz. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Yes, it is difficult to typ... (Below threshold)
Just Plain Bill:

Yes, it is difficult to type with tears in your eyes, and equally difficult to read with those same tears.

Our pets are like our children, with love and concern for their well-being in our minds and hearts.

I am lucky as I have some acreage and yes, there is a cemetery for all my four legged friends. It is comforting to visit there occasionally to rest and remember them.

I will leave you with this; The pain of loss, will in time be overshadowed by the joy of remembrance, the loss not diminished, but kept at bay.
Any typos are the result of my own tears.
RIP Treasure, fields of catnip for you, butterflys and warm,soft spots to nap in.

Just Plain Bill,Yo... (Below threshold)

Just Plain Bill,

You reminded Me of My own special place where I would go and enjoy warm summer breezes and swaying tree limbs as I remembered all of them the way they were.

Thank You for that.

Shawn and Toni,You t... (Below threshold)
Pat Miller:

Shawn and Toni,
You took such good care of your boy, right to the end. He was a sweet, gutsy little guy and I will miss him. He's now in a place where he is healthy and pain-free. His eyes are wide open and he can see everything. He's there with all the other beautiful pets we have loved and lost. We will see them all again, on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Condolences on your loss.</... (Below threshold)
The Exposer:

Condolences on your loss.

My deepest sympathy on the ... (Below threshold)

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved pet. I lost my dog of 15 years earlier this year. Non pet owners can not completely understand the hole that leaves in your life.

Reading your story about yo... (Below threshold)

Reading your story about your Treasure brought tears to my eyes. He was a treasure indeed.

Your experience reminded me so much of loss of our Beebs a couple of years ago, for the feelings were much the same. I can honestly say I know exactly how you feel.

My condolences, Shawn.

Bummer, I feel for you brot... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bummer, I feel for you brother.

My friends at Wizbang,... (Below threshold)

My friends at Wizbang,

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and expressing your caring thoughts toward my wife, me, and Treasure.

It is always heartening to find common bonds of empathy between people who have never met, and to whom screen names may be faceless, yet convey thoughts full of warmth.

Thank you for letting me share my feelings with you.

You have all been a source of great comfort.


As animal lovers, i believ... (Below threshold)

As animal lovers, i believe we sometimes think we have to "prove' to non animal lovers, that we of course would hold humans more dear than our pets. I of course can`t speak for you, but i firmly believe that i love my animals as much as any person, and not afraid to say it anymore. Strange? Maybe. But that`s who i am. Condolences on the loss of your beloved cat.

JJ, I know just what you me... (Below threshold)

JJ, I know just what you mean. It's why I always feel so bad for animals that are neglected. They don't know any better and can't help themselves.

Sorry for your loss, dear.<... (Below threshold)

Sorry for your loss, dear.

Our thoughts are with you, ... (Below threshold)

Our thoughts are with you, and the memories will guide you through Shawn. Duchess & I have had a number of cats....still have two. CJ (14 year old mostly-Siamese) & Jackie (1 year old "Halloween Cat") ride with us on our motor home trips. CJ has logged more than 15,000 miles, Jackie about 10,000. They fill our lives at home or on the road. Still with us, however, are memories of Marmalade, who had to be put down at age 19...and Bandit who was with us 15 years. None will ever be forgotten.






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