Tuesday, November 24, 2015

To Raffi With Love

I did something today that I've never had to do before. I had to put a pet down. A beloved pet that had been a part of my life for many years. He was a common white and gray short haired little devil with boundless energy and a stubborn disposition. He took crap off no one, including me, and definitely not my other cat, B.

A few months ago Raffi started vomiting and lost a little weight. I took him to the vet and the exam and all his blood work came back normal. The vet believed it was simply a sour tummy. I tried all kinds of pet food, some he kept down better than others. Once the vomiting stopped, he rallied, and seemed more like his old self. For the past few months it was like that. Good days and bad. I worked hard to get his weight back up, but it kept dropping and at a rapid rate. Four months ago he weighed 14.5 lbs. Today he weighed 8.7 lbs. I took him back to the vet today because of the weight loss and because Raffi developed diarrhea and was having difficulty walking from weakness.

He was actually asleep on top of my head.
This morning the vet found a large mass in Raffi's abdomen - cancer. It wasn't there a few months ago, so it was very fast growing and now the size of an orange.  I felt it myself today. There was nothing to do except try to keep him comfortable for the little time he had left, and the vet said he had very little time left. I made the decision to put him down. It wouldn't be fair to him to try to keep him alive. His quality of life was gone and he was miserable.  Raffi was 13 years old.

About 12 years ago, I adopted Raffi and B from a young couple who had just graduated from UCLA and were going their separate ways to different grad schools. When they got here, B went immediately under the bed and stayed there for a month, coming out only at night or when I was gone for food, water and the litter box. Raffi, on the other hand, hopped out of the carrier and investigated every inch of my apartment, finally deciding he liked his new digs. I remember the first morning after B and Raffi arrived because Raffi scared the crap out of me by waking me up with a wet nose in my face. It would be the first of many mornings he would wake me up that way.

I think he used the exercise bike more than I did.
Raffi was a big cat. He was tall and long and carried his 14.5 lbs like a prowling jungle cat. He loved to race through the house, bouncing off furniture, even up to just a few months ago. He also loved to torment B and he'd get angry with her if she didn't want to play. All the destroyed furniture in my apt. is because of him. He was a pistol, pure and simple. He was also incredibly loving and cuddly to both B and me. He was our protector. Some nights I'd wake up to find B snoring next to me and Raffi at the end of the bed alert and standing guard over his two girls.

He was also very social. He didn't mind strangers one bit and loved it when I had company.  He made friends with everyone who came through my door, including repair men, and would flop on his back and invite them to rub his tummy. Unlike B, who hides even when I Skype.

Thank you, Raffi. 

There wasn't a single day you didn't make me smile or laugh. You brought me comfort when I was blue and kept me company during my long hours of writing. You loved both B and me unconditionally. Who's going to keep us in line now?


Aubrey Hamilton said...

"There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given." -Suzanne Clothier

So very, very sorry. I've been in your place far too many times.

colodreamer said...

I am so so sorry for your loss...pets become family without meaning too.....we lost our Miss Kitty a year ago this month and we still mourn her....pets seem to instinctively touch a place in our hearts that no human can

colodreamer said...

I am so so sorry for your loss...pets become family without meaning too.....we lost our Miss Kitty a year ago this month and we still mourn her....pets seem to instinctively touch a place in our hearts that no human can

Alisa said...

I am so sorry to hear about Raffi. I'm shedding a tear for you, B and Raffi and sending loving/healing thoughts and energy to Raffi's girls.

Crafty Damn Hero said...

:-( RIP kitty cat.

I'm sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things we have to go through.

Anonymous said...

My heart is breaking for your loss. We lost our long haired chihuahua fur baby in May. We had her for 15 years ever since she was 8 weeks old. Not a day goes by that I don't mourn her loss and what has helped me is to remember all the good times we shared. Another thing that has been a help is the Garth Brook's song "The Dance". Basically I would not have this heartbreak had I not had 15 wonderful years with her. I know my Misty and your Raffi will be waiting for us at the rainbow bridge when our time comes. "Our souls would have no rainbows if I eyes had no tears".

Mark Baker said...

So sorry to hear this. I know how much you loved him. Treasure those memories.

Fish Mom said...

I am so sorry to hear about Raffi. My heart goes out to you and B. I've had to make that decision too many times the worst was my Joey he was only 4 but after 3 transfusions his little body gave out. He passed in my arms on the way to the vet. It is never easy. Hugs, prayers and more hugs!

Leslie Golden said...

It's an odd thing but true that the companionship of animals is what makes us better people and I think that's especially true of cats. While dogs live their lessons of courage and loyalty and swans teach us about beauty and fidelity, domestic cats make humans appreciate the individual, eccentric and idiosyncratic when it appears. Every cat I've met has a well-defined personality and more ego than your average brain surgeon. This doesn't make them objectionable. It teaches humanity something about reasonable self-esteem.

But, along with the imperious attitude, cats have a bounty of affection and tenderness that can melt a human's heart. A cat's love is sparingly bestowed and, when it is, the beloved human tries to deserve it.

You did everything right by Raffi and it sounds like he did all right by you. I'm glad you guys had a wonderful life together. And, if you feel you need some more exposure to another huge pistol of a cat, go to the shelter or come down here and cuddle Mr. Moose, the Oliver Hardy of felines. Either way, you'll feel better soon.