Losing Oliver: Saying Goodbye to our Beloved Kitty

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today is a sad post. We lost and buried our sweet ragdoll kitty, Oliver, less than 48 hours ago (at the time I'm writing this). Over the last month or so he has been battling against a blocked urinary tract and even after an extended stay in the vet hospital 2 weeks ago he was unable to become well again. We thought things were improving for several days but then over this past weekend it became apparent that he'd become blocked again. He was howling in pain once again and looking at us with large eyes pleading for relief. I took him to a the veterinary after hours specialist hospital because I knew he was suffering. We could try to unblock him again via a catheterization under anesthesia like he'd just undergone but the vet said the outlook wasn't good. From their experience cats who become blocked early on, and those who block again right after treatment will continue to block again after each procedure. They could see signs that his case was bad. The only option was a very expensive, very invasive specialty surgery that amounted to a gender change. This procedure would remove his male anatomy and create a more female genetalia in an effort to create a wider urinary tract. Even after surgery he would most likely continue to produce crystals in his urine and bladder and kidney stones which could still cause another blockage. There were no guarantees that he would be fixed and would likely have a life of fighting urinary and kidney problems. Poor Oliver was just unlucky to have developed this disorder so soon in life. My heart sank. We had to make the decision to put him to sleep on Sunday afternoon (March 9th). Our hearts are shattered. broken in a million pieces. He was part of our family.

I called Todd from the after hours specialty hospital and delivered the devastating news. He brought the kids to the hospital so we could say our goodbyes as a family. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. We all sobbed and held each other as we took turns loving on Ollie. He was the best kitty and it felt so unfair that he should suffer from such a cruel disease so early in his life. He was 21.5 months old but the length of time we had him is irrelevant. We loved him. Thats all. He was ours and we loved him.

After some time together and a heart-wrenching goodbye Todd took the kids to wait in the lobby and then returned to me to be with Oliver during his final moments. We held him, kissed him, rubbed his sweet soft belly, and told him what a wonderful boy he was. He was calm and affectionate. The vet returned to administer the euthanasia and I could literally feel the ache in my heart. Our Oliver passed very peacefully wrapped in my arms as we stroked him and whispered loving words in his ears. I felt his head become heavy in my hands as he took his last breath and left.

Losing a beloved pet is never easy. We have all cried...no...sobbed. Sunday night was really hard, my poor babies were so broken hearted I could barely take it. And watching my husband cry absolutely ripped me apart. He never wanted a cat, and now his heart aches to have him back. It doesn't matter how long you've had them, once you bond your heart is all-in. We were all-in. Sometimes I think that I shouldn't feel so broken and I try to minimize how I feel about this loss for fear of criticism from those who just don't get it. But then I remember that it's ok to feel sad. Not everyone has to understand this kind of human-animal connection. My heart was created with a tender spot for animals. It is part of who I am. It's going to take me/us a little time to heal. Our home is full of reminders. There are nose prints on the bay window where he loved to perch and watch birds. I can't bear to wipe them away just yet. The sound of the ice dispenser brings tears to my eyes as I wait for the pitter patter of little paws to come running to beg for a piece of ice to play with. They don't come. When I lay in bed at night I feel a thump at the foot of the bed and look to see if Oliver has come to settle in for the night. But he hasn't come, it was just Todd shifting his feet. These little things are the things that hurt the most because you don't expect them. Small daily things that trigger a memory and cause the tears to come again. In time though, I know we will heal. Each passing day it will get a little easier to say his name or look at photos and not cry. We have wonderful memories of Oliver that we will keep for always, and for that we are thankful.

R.I.P. Sweet Oliver "Ollie". We will miss nuzzles with your sweet pink nose, rubbing that soft white belly and feeling your big fluffy tail rubbing against our legs. You were our beautiful gentle giant of a kitty. The best kind of kitty :) We LOVE you!!! In our hearts for always.

These are a few iphone photos of our final goodbyes. They completely break me each time I look at them but I am so thankful I have these. The raw emotion is so real. I don't ever want to forget these final moments. They are a part of our story.

Ollie was my buddy. I will never forget him. There will always be a hole in my heart but I am grateful to have had his companionship. For now, I meditate on God's promise He spoke to my heart. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 This simple scripture gives me comfort when the pain of my loss feels overwhelming. I know my God is sovereign and my hope is in Him.

We buried our sweet boy in our backyard underneath shade trees and a blanket of beautiful green moss.  Today I visited with him and the most beautiful light shone down on his grave. I know the Lord gave that to me as a source of comfort. He knew I needed it. I think it's just the most beautiful thing. Rest in Peace sweet Oliver.

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