News Hugs

February 23, 2008

Ode to Mambo

Filed under: critters, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — newshugs @ 4:32 am

mambo.jpgMy beloved cat, confidant and friend of 20 years has passed on to finer kitty meadows.

It was a slow death, or so it seemed. 17 days. She became listless, then began to stumble around. She had been to the vet about two weeks earlier with a kidney infection but the antibiotics seemed to take care of it. She had only been sick once before when she was a few weeks old.

Next, she stopped eating. Soon she would only drink if I put water under her chin. Then four days before she died, she stopped drinking water. I wondered how long could a cat survive without water. Apparently, a long time.

She lost her vision. Lastly, she could no longer hear me. I just sat by her side and gently petted the top of her head. I wasn’t sure if I was disturbing her so mostly I just sat by her side. 

The last two days were awful. She let out small meows and on the final day, it seemed like she wasn’t even in her body anymore. I went to bed that night thinking it might be the night. I heard a small exhale shortly after I laid down. I got up and she was gone.

I scoured the web for information on the dying process but found only one site that offered solace. Every other bit of information suggested euthanasia as the only option. But I couldn’t see taking my cat to a sterile vet office and having him stick her with a needle. It seemed she would be happier to die naturally in her favorite spot, her purple bean bag chair.

For her burial, I bought a giant tree pot, filled it with dirt, put her in, covered her body up and planted beautiful flowers on top. She’s on the patio! If I lived in a house, she’d be in the garden.

She was the finest kitty ever! She had an M marking on her head and I named her after my favorite dance, the Mambo.

She was always there when I needed her. Furry and purry.

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14 Comments »

  1. Thank you for the beautiful text, it’s helping me a lot. My beloved cat Picolo (16½) is at the end of this life and I am helping him cross the rainbow bridge. Thank you for the link to “one place of solace”, that is what I needed to read today in order to be reassured that I was doing the right thing. I can’t bring him to the vet for euthanasia, it would kill me too probably. We might have only a few days or a few hours together, but it will be a peaceful and loving time.
    All my condolences for the loss of Mambo, I am sure that she had the most wonderful life with you, because you are an angel too.
    Thank you !

    Comment by Gini — February 25, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  2. Thank you Gini.
    It is a sad time. There isn’t enough support for natural death. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing either. It just felt like the right thing. I hope Picolo has a peaceful passing. I’m sure he will with you at his side.

    Comment by newshugs — February 25, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  3. My dear cat Boubidoux is lying beside me now in a beautiful Peregrine Falcon wine crate, with his favorite purple fuzzy blanket and toys. I think he has just passed, and I am trying to find out how to tell for sure if he is dead. I am exhausted, and have only slept a couple hours in the last 2 days, but I don’t want to desert him if he is perhaps in a coma, but still alive. His paws are still pliable and soft, and he doesn’t feel much colder than he has lately, since he’s gone down to 4 lbs. I was grateful to find your beautiful requiem on your precious Mambo. My cat had followed along the same path of symptoms, to the point last night that he could not even hold his head up as I tried to support him in his cat box, and it dragged in the litter. I found a wonderful site that has guided me up to this point for the last several days, and helped reassure me that I was doing the right thing. It was hard to hear his little yowls occasionally this last day. At the beginning, it would be when he was about to soil himself. I did hear a gasp at the end, but he had been staring vacantly for a couple of days, then sometimes looking at me.
    He is becoming rigid now, after about an hour, and I guess that was really it. I enjoyed your idea of placing Mambo in a planter. I live in an apartment in Texas, and was going to buy a shovel, and go out at night and dig a hole under the weeping willow across from me, but this casket is too large for me to dig a hole that big and deep. I am most lost now as to how to bury him. I have no one at all to help me. I can’t stand the thought of his body deteriorating in a pot and running out in the water from the plants, though. It is so hard to know what to do throughout this ordeal. The website I found was anaflora.com. It is kind of a new age site, but has very soothing and helpful info. I used Bach Rescue Remedy the last day, hoping to ease his mind and pain. I mixed it with a little water and gave in an eyedropper. I also used some artificial tear eyedrops once his eyes were staying open. It really was finally a rather peaceful end, after months of going downhill with diseased kidneys, and perhaps other things unknown. I have learned a lot about the health of cats in my research, and plan to be much more careful about feeding my next cat. I may have to cook from scratch, after reading a book last night that described how cancerous animals and/or parts are used to make cat food. Mine had eaten Science Diet all their lives, and paying top dollar, I thought that was the best I could get. My other male got a breast cancer that was a large open bleeding sore (he jumped out the front door one day after much suffering, so I didn’t have to deal with his dying, although I searched for him for a year). My female got the exact same thing about a year ago, and I was able to come up with the $700 or so to have surgery on her, but she is expected to have a recurrance at some point. She is about 2 yrs. younger than the other 2. I am starting to think that they often get cancer because they are eating cancer. I must attend to my dear cat now. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to sleep without him. He was my furry sleeping pill, and my first cat. I wish you all well.

    Comment by Roxanne — March 4, 2008 @ 1:21 am

  4. Hi Roxanne,
    It sounds like Boubidoux was a loved cat, who went peacefully.
    It’s tough, very sad.
    It sounds like the weeping willow would be a great place. I just thought that it might be nice if Mambo’s body would mix with the dirt and grow beautiful flowers. She has indeed! I had three flowers to start and now many more have bloomed. I consider the whole planter her resting place.
    I hope that you can get some rest.
    Take care. Rest peacefully kitties!

    Comment by newshugs — March 4, 2008 @ 3:27 am

  5. Thank you so much for tribute to Mambo. I can see that you loved her very much and gave her a wonderful life.

    I think I am facing a similar loss:

    Arthur, big old stray (almost wild) tiger cat who adopted me years ago, has become very weak and smells like his kidneys are failing. He will sometimes come inside (if he thinks I’m preparing something really tasty), but he freaks out if I bring him into the house and close the door. I can understand that he’d rather spend his last days outside (in this beautiful Southern California spring weather). He sat in my lap on the patio for about 3 hours yesterday morning and again last night. Later he went to sleep on top of the wall outside my bedroom window.

    This morning he did not want to be held and jumped out of my lap. He’s still eating a little, so I know he’s not ready to go quite yet), but I’ve been angsting about whether or not to have him euthanized if/when he gets worse. He hates the vet, and I hate the idea of ending his life in a place he hates. Your post helped me accept that perhaps I am not necessarily a selfish monster if I choose to let him die a natural death.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope here. It really does help, and I’ll check out the solace site you suggested as soon as I finish here.

    Comment by Dormilona — March 10, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  6. My sympathies to you all for your recent losses.
    I lost my best little four legged friend today.
    He was a 17 and a 1/2 year old all white persian. I had him since I was only 9 years old. His name was Snowy.
    He was with me through elementary, high school , college, two university degrees and my first year of my career. He was so loved known by so many friends and family. It was only in the past year that I noticed him really show signs of graceful aging… his pace was calmer, he wasn’t darting up and down the halls, he had a wiser look about him… can’t explain it.
    Snowy never liked the vet so I chose to stop bringing him and ultimately wished for him to pass away at home (ideally). Well, Saturday morning after oddly not having a wink of sleep the night before my mom woke me to say something was clearly wrong with him. He took a fall that morning trying to jump to the bathroom sink for his usual drink. Mom helped him up but he drank a but few drops… I noticed a few days prior that he had totally lost his hearing – loud crashing noises behind his head didn’t even make his ears perk. Yesterday morning I knew he was leaving me. I noticed his eyes were wide and dialated, which was odd since it was sunny… I took a flashlight and sawn it in his eyes with little to no reaction from his pupils. As the hours past he kept creeping around the apartment looking for somewhere to rest. If anyone crowded him for too long he let out a meow I had never heard… it was higher and sounded as if he was saying “please, just leave me alone”…. His final steps broke my heart, his balance was poor… even though he lay down he no longer had the strength to hold his head up, so he rested it on the floor. We sat back and monitord him…His breathing was fast, he was very slight…4.7lbs (his fur was very deceiving…it made him look 3 times as big)… I mentally prepared myself for months but there’s no way you can prepare yourself for the final days, hours,…minutes. I got frantic and called my vet…being Easter weekend – no one was available to put him to sleep, but Snowy finally went on his own terms in his home. I couldn’t bare to be in the room as he had tucked himself under the table, his paws were spreading as mom told me he gasped for his final breath.
    He passed and his eyes remained open…pupils fully dialated, I knew the body was my baby Snowy but he has left his world. We’ve chosen to have him cremated, and on the advise of the vet we wrapped him in a towel and then a plastic bag to transport him. I took him out within an hour of him passing and noticed his tummy already started to swell and he was a little stiff.
    The next few days and weeks will be extremely hard for me. There’s no one to talk to in the morning when I get ready, no meowing as I open the door in the evening, no paws in front of my monitor to get my attention.
    He always used to fall asleep on my side of the bed at night and move over when I was ready.
    He was a sweet cat – he had bad habits though! lol… eating plastic and pooping on carpets. But I’d give anything right now to relive it all over again.
    I miss you Snowy… may you find peace in your eternal rest.
    -love mom

    Comment by Snowy's Mom — March 23, 2008 @ 5:27 am

  7. Cats are wonderful creatures. I’m so glad people have shared their stories because it has made me feel better, sad, but better. I still miss Mambo. It’s so strange. You don’t realize how much you talk to your cat until they’re gone. Well, I hope they’re all running around in fine kitty meadows.

    Comment by newshugs — March 27, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

  8. I’m van I have 4 white kittens. today i lost 1 of my best kitty named zeki 8mos old. he died at 12:05pm. I just sat by his side and gently petted the top of her head and hug him and pray to god that give him another chance coz his still young. when he died i saw him looking at me and meow twice and a small exhale then he was gone, He passed and his eyes remained open, i hug him and i thank him for his loving care throughout all of his life. and i promise to him that i will take care of the three…. i love you zeki…. you’re always be here in my memories and in my heart….

    Comment by vhanz82 — August 16, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  9. Thank you all for your sharing and your insights. My 16 year-old cat, Nipper, is in the process of dying. He has been declining for some time. He was diagnosed a year ago with hyperthyroidism based on his blood and symptoms. He responded well to medication but has enlarged thyroid gland, enlarged heart and enlarged kidneys. I think he is having multiple organ failure now. His gait is unsteady, can’t jump up at all, very skinny, vomiting, dark loose stool, dilated pupils in bright light, seems to want to eat and drink but cannot. Reading all of your stories has helped me so much and has validated my impressions and feelings. I can’t bear to take him to the vet for his end. I want him to die at home naturally though watching him is very sad and stressful for me. I gently stroke his head and I think he still is aware of being cared for. Thanks for your support.
    I want to bury him here at home.

    Comment by Kay — September 1, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  10. Your story sounds so similar to mine. I adopted my beloved Christian(or should I say-he adopted me) 9 years ago. He is a medium coat-tuxedo cat with a persian face. He has been my buddy. He is a close companion to my two sons. He started going down hill 2 weeks ago. First his legs were giving out, then he started to eat less. The last two days have been hearting breaking. He is finding his spot. We are trying to keep him comfortable. His paws and body are getting cold. He won’t eat any longer. I took him to our bed last night. It was a nightly ritual for him to curl up on my left arm. I know he wasn’t there but I had to have him close maybe just one last time. He is lying in my husbands closet right now. I am constantly checking on him. We choice to have him leave this world at home where he knows he is loved not only by his humans but our Golden Retriever as well. Our poor dog is taking this just as hard we the rest of us. We put Christian in his favorite basket last night. He just layed there-unresponsive. Our dog kept licking him and nuddging him as if to say-lets play. He proceeded to lay next to the basket all night long. My heart just aches and god know I can’t stop crying knowing our time together is coming to an end. Christian watched our boys grow up and loved them every step of the way. When we brought him home, our boys were only 6 and 3. They are hurting as well-trying to be brave to me. We have decided to bury him in our back yard. My husband is buiding him a make shift casket. In the spring, I will plant a tree around his spot. I can’t bear the thought of cremating him. It is comforting to know that there are others out there that know the pain I am feeling. To all who lost there beloved kitties-i shed a tear for you and yours as well

    Comment by Lauren — October 14, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  11. I found alot of comfort from this website and these stories. I am right now sitting on a sofa beside my 15 year old flame point HImalayan, Furbert. He’s been a true friend his entire life. Three kids were born into this family during his lifetime here, and he welcomed each one with love and respect, and brought alot of joy to this family. A few months ago, we noticed his backbone started to protrude and his weight began to drop. Realizing that he was nearing the end of his life, we’ve made sure to give him extra love and attention every single day. Yesterday, he walked out of a bedroom, staggering, and fell to his side. I helped him up and carried him to the living room, where I wrapped him in a warm blanked and placed him on the floor. I didn’t want him trying to jump down from a sofa or chair. Throughout the night, he must have tried to make it to the litter box…this morning, I found him in a heap on the kitchen floor, pee next to him, and he looked so sad. His eyes are dilated and his breathing steady, but he is showing no responsiveness to anything…his tongue is even hanging out of his mouth to the point it gets dry. I’ve kept him in my arms or by my side all day. we live in the country, and I already have a simple little grave dug for him by our other 17 year old cat that passed 6 months ago. We’re now just waiting for him to cross over…he almost looks like he’s paralyzed, but shows no indication of being alive other than the little blond fur belly slowly rising and falling. I hope that he passes quietly and without pain tonight. I won’t leave his side until he does, and will take him to the vet if he shows signs of suffering, but I think his heart just hasn’t caught up to the rest of the body, which has definitely begun to shut down. He hasn’t eaten, drank or urinated since the middle of the night. It’s hard to sit here watching him die, but at the same time, I’m grateful that he’s peaceful and drifting away in the security of his own home, surrounded by those who loved him so very much.

    Comment by AnnMarie — November 9, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

  12. I have a wonderful cat Callie that i picked out when I was three years old. She is now 19 almost 20.
    I love her very much but since moving off the farm and her wanting to be inside all the time, life living with her has not been easy.
    Because Callie was a farm cat and a barn mouser she was NEVER litter trained. When i moved in with my now husband my parents told me i had to take the cat. But i moved into an apt. and they did not allow cats to roam freely. so i took her inside and she seemed to love it!! except the litter box. i usually kept her from peeing on the carpet by having things she liked to pee on in the second bathroom, but soon she just did not care where she peed!! she peed everywhere!!!!!! and that apt was so rank! well my hubby and i put up with it and i took her to the vet because she seemed too skinny. the vet said that she had kidney problems and was encouraging us to treat her. but i chose not to. because she was making our life so much harder.
    my parents told me to put her down. i just cant do that. she did not seem to be suffering. eating well, playing and just being the social cheerful cat she is.
    well my husband and i bought a house recently and it has hard wood floors throughout! excellent right>??? well then i found out i was pregnant, and the sanitary thing is just weighing on my mind. i really want her to pass on for my child’s sake, but i have had this cat since i was 3 years old. how can i just put her down right?? she is a good cat and i feel she deserves to die in her own time but i just dont have that time….
    any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    I truly do love this cat, but i love my baby more.

    Comment by Mallory — December 16, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  13. Well, I know it’s a little late for a reply and maybe you already put her down, but maybe she could be a farmer’s barn cat. They need cats to catch the mice.
    Or you could train the cat to use the litter box. If you are pregnant, use gloves to change the litter box.

    Comment by newshugs — February 8, 2009 @ 4:56 am

  14. I am noticing behavior changes with my cat the past day or so, and I feel the same way, i want her to die naturally, she is still eating and moving around, but her breathing is labored now.

    Comment by prophetlady — January 5, 2010 @ 1:11 pm


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