Rest Well, Remy

This is one of the toughest posts I've ever had to write. On Friday evening, I had to let my buddy Remy go. Over the past couple of weeks, I've chronicled his struggles. Long story short, we found a mass in his chest near his heart, that mass was causing fluid buildup around his lungs affecting his breathing, and in general his time was limited with that mass meaning he would slowly lose his internal bodily functions as his body couldn't fight any more.

Over the past week since Monday, when I mentioned his struggle to pass his bowels, he didn't poop once since then. I could see him become more and more uncomfortable with this as the week progressed. Slowly, he stopped eating which combined with the other issue, prompted me to call the vet on Wednesday. They gave me an appetite stimulator to make him eat and a gel hairball treatment to hopefully help him pass a stool.

The hairball treatment didn't work for him at all. Wednesday night, he took the treatment with no issue, but he fought me over the next two days with it as he would get irritated with me putting it on his paw. He spent his final four days alive without passing a stool and I can only imagine how uncomfortable that made him feel. He spent most of his final 24 hours hovering near the litter box, an indication he wanted to go and knew he needed to, but yet he couldn't.

The appetite stimulator worked the first time around. About two hours into it on Wednesday night, he seemed to spring back to life, became chatty when I mentioned food to him, and ate a decent amount before bedtime. By Thursday evening he had basically stopped eating again and even with another treatment Friday morning he only picked at his food once. The only thing I could give him without fail was a treat, which is how I began giving him his meds.

Thursday night is when things began to seem dire. When I came home from work, he slowly emerged from my bedroom, where he typically hides out in the afternoon. Overall he just seemed off. During the course of the night he became anxious. Wether he was in my lap or in his cat bed by the window, he couldn’t sit still and was constantly adjusting himself. I’m sure his guy had a lot to do with this. Come bedtime, I invited him to join me, but he just laid in his cat bed and stared at me. I finally carried him into bed with me to settle in for the night.

At some point during the night he left the bed and I found him near his litter box. I checked, still nothing in there. I gave him a few rubs on the head and told him things would be ok. Come Friday morning, he was in basically the same spot. It was the first time in a couple weeks he hadn’t woke me up with his ritual of snuggles and purrs. I knew something wasn’t right.

I gave him his meds for the morning camouflaged in a couple treats and hoped he would improve. Throughout the day Friday, I frequently checked on him on the PetCube. It was the first time he didn’t retreat to the bedroom, as he hovered close to the litter box. When I arrived home I could see his breathing was labored. When I tried to comfort him he kept moving stay from me. My boy was obviously hurting.

I called my vet to see if I could get him in that night, but unfortunately they were bombarded with numerous emergencies. I settled for an appointment at 9 AM the following morning. But, as I continued to monitor Remy, it became more and more apparent he needed help now, so I called the emergency pet services here in town. On that call, I knew I had two choices: either try an enema to see if we could clear his system out, or let him go. The enema might have made him feel better, but if his body was indeed shutting down, there was a good chance we would be right back in the same position in a few days and that could get expensive. I told them I’d make a decision when I got there.

I could feel this might be it and began breaking down, so I called my mom to see if she could get us since I didn’t feel safe driving given my state. She agreed. The closer we got to the clinic, the more stressed Remy became. Less than a mile from there, he gave one last howl from his carrier. That was painful to hear. I know my buddy was scared. I think he also knew this was it. It hurt to hear.

Upon arriving at the clinic, they asked me if I wanted to just do the euthanasia or if i wanted them to do an exam first. I opted for the exam because I needed peace of mind to know I was doing the right thing. After the exam, they told me they needed to put him on oxygen just to make him comfortable, but that it was obvious he was laboring bad. I asked them what they thought I should do given what they knew & they basically told me there was little chance he could get better. Surgery wasn’t an option with his mass being next to his heart and that mass was probably the culprit of everything. With that, I agreed to have him put to sleep. I couldn’t let him suffer anymore.

They had me hang out in an exam room while they went to get him. I could hear him meowing angrily as they brought him to the room. They gave me some time with him alone. I gave him a hug and pet him while telling him everything was going to be ok. I promised him no matter what he’s coming home to me (I’m getting his ashes) and that he’ll have a spot next to me by my recliner.

The nurse came back into the room and she explained to me the process. She told me sometimes with larger pets, they’ll dream before passing. She plugged a small tube into an IV in Remy’s right front leg, pushed the liquid from a syringe, and within seconds I saw Remy go from fully stressed to nothing. Just like that he was gone. I instantly began petting him. Occasionally, his body would twitch. It was explained that was his muscles releasing their last burst of energy. My buddy was fighting hard over this past week. They left me with him and I just continued petting and talking to Remy. I told him he no longer has to hurt and he’ll be home with me soon. It was therapeutic to feel his soft fur one last time. Finally, once I knew for sure he had left his body, I knew it was time to go.

That night was the first time in years I didn’t have him to help me go to sleep at night. All the little things about him bounced through my head. As I look back, I know we both gave each other all the love we could. It’s hard to not have that anymore.

Remy was the sweetest, most loving cat I could ask for. He rarely passed up a chance to snuggle and to get pet. We had a ritual of taking mid afternoon naps together in my recliner where he usually had his head on my shoulder. He was basically a teddy bear.

He constantly made me smile. He’d get so excited to lick the sweat off a cold drink I had around. I loved how cute he looked as he begged for what I was eating or as he watched me shave or brush my teeth in the bathroom.

He always greeted me at the door when I came home and many days would walk me to the door as I left for work. He always went to bed with me, typically hopping onto a side table on my side of the bed, then hopping onto the bed and walking across me, before snuggling in next to me. Many nights he purred me to sleep. Those same purrs would wake me up every morning, usually right about 6AM, where I’d give him some snuggles and conversation before getting out of bed to feed him breakfast.

Anytime it was feeding time, we always had the same conversation. It usually went something like this:

Me: Remy, are you hungry?
Remy: excited meow
Me: Remy, do you want some food?
Remy: excited meow
Me: Remy, do you want me to fill your bowl?
Remy: slightly more irritated excited meow
Me: Well, let’s go to the kitchen!
Remy: springs into action and leads me to the kitchen

He always did his little circle dance before getting fed. Every bit of this ritual was cute.

Most of all, he knew when I needed him. There’s one moment in particular I’ll never forget. A few years ago, my girlfriend at the time, Kat, and I had our relationship become a long distance one. After one of her visits I went back into my apartment and sat down on the couch. I remember feeling a bit empty at the time. Remy looked at me with this look of “what’s wrong, man?", as he then sat next to me and let me pet him. His softness and the way he would purr was always therapeutic for me.

There’s so much about him that I’ll remember over time. He was always some kind of influence of every bit of my home life. I’m already missing him and his comfort in so many ways and I’m thankful I got these last ten years with him. He was a much needed source of light for me. He was and still is loved and I know he loved me too.

Rest well, my dear friend. I’ll see you home soon.