Goodbye Sam

While running back and forth through the hallway to our front door last Thursday, Sam sat in the way - cleaning himself. He didn’t seem too keen to move, and we just thought he was being belligerent.

On Friday night, I noticed him walk past me in the kitchen, with a wet patch next to the base of his tail - it was raining, so I didn’t think any more of it. Early in the evening I then noticed him crouched in front of the sofa strangely - looking like he might be preparing to jump, but not doing so. I mentioned it to my other half, and she dismissed it.

Later that night, while sitting next to her, he wet himself.

An hour later we were at the vet hospital a few miles down the road, visiting their “out of hours” emergency service. I sat in the back of the car, holding the cage on the way - while Sam yowled, and cussed in the way cats do when unhappy. We were seen quickly after our arrival at about 11pm by an Australian surgeon who could find nothing immediately wrong. We suspected a bite wound from a fight, given his continual cleaning, and not being able to sit comfortably - hair was shaved around the base of his tail, but nothing found. It was postulated that he might have pulled his tail.

He was put on a course of anti-inflammatory drugs, and given a shot of morphine for the pain, and we took him home. Once the drugs kicked in he seemed in much better sorts - asking for food, and wandering around the house quite happily.

He sat under the children’s trampoline in the garden throughout Saturday and Sunday - sleeping in the sunshine, and washing himself. We kept half an eye on him through the window, and wondered if he might be on the mend.

On Sunday evening we got home from watching our middle daughter play rugby, and were making dinner when we noticed he had reverted to sitting on one side, and washing his back end again. We didn’t think too much of it until he tried to get up, and staggered into the kitchen, only just clearing the floor before lying down again.

Half an hour later we were back at the animal hospital. This time the surgeon took his temperature - which was very low, and did a blood test. We sat in the waiting room, wondering how much his treatment was going to cost while waiting for the test results. The news came fast - we were invited back into a treatment room, and the vet was clear, calm, methodical, and utterly professional. His blood results were all over the place. His temperature was low. Added to the behaviour he was presenting, it wasn’t good at all. They could X-Ray, and/or operate for a suspected obstruction in his bladder, but given his condition his prognosis was only 50/50 at best.

The vet immediately presented euthanasia as an option, and I looked at my other half, who burst into tears. I’m not quite sure how I held it together, but we had been here before - hanging on to a pet for a week or so longer than we should have.

We were left for a minute to decide what we wanted to do. I called home, and spoke to our eldest daughter, who also burst into tears - and then handed off to Miss 14, who was being very brave indeed.

When the vet came back in, we asked if we could fetch our daughters to say goodbye, but she didn’t want to prolong the cat’s suffering for a moment longer than necessary. We made a second call while Sam was prepared for the injection - during which time I called home, and explained what was happening.

In the end it was quick, quiet, and peaceful. Sam remained curled up on the blanket we had carried him in on, and fell into a deep sleep. After a few moments his purring stopped, and then finally his chest stopped rising and falling - he had gone.

He will always be remembered by our family - the biggest of three brothers. One of the biggest, most gentle, loudest purring cats any of us had ever known. He will be remembered for sleeping on top of the fish tank, falling off the fish tank, and for sleeping on the trampoline, and the back of the sofa. He will be remembered for making friends with our eldest daughter when she was little, and sleeping in the gap underneath the bookcase in her bedroom.