College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

Nick came into our lives as a 16-year-old kitty. She was rescued from a situation where she was being terrorized by dogs until she couldn't find a place to escape from them and was starving and very dehydrated. I had been feeding another stray outside and Nick saw the food and came running. She ate two full cans of cat food. That was the beginning of an "I'll feed her outside since we already have a very territorial cat" episode. It was fine from Spring throughout summer. Nick would come running when we got home from work and I would feed her, sit in our carport with her on my lap afterward, and slowly gain her trust.


When the weather started getting colder, I wasn't sure what I could do, so I started sitting in my car warming up towels for her long, cold night ahead. I'd leave the car window down enough for her to get out and shut garbage bags in the car door for wind protection. Sometimes she'd hold her water all night and still be cuddled in the towels in the morning. My husband finally said we may as well bring her in. At first we thought we could slowly introduce the two cats. We followed all the "rules" for cat introduction. But their age and size differences, Nick's precarious and arthritic hip, and both their territorial attitudes prevented that from ever happening. We had an upstairs/downstairs situation with a door that remained closed at all times between them. It was hard to do things that way but well worth the effort.

Nick was one of the sweetest kitties I've ever known once she had bonded to us. She liked very few other people and would only lay on our chests, looking into our eyes, rubbing noses, "kneading" our arms, purring loudly -- then falling asleep snuggled close, wrapped in our arms. At first she was very playful -- even at 16 years old! Then she started slowing down after about a year, was a heat seeker, had the most persistent meow, and was a real love. Her kidneys started failing after we had her for about three years, and the vet said that would be what would eventually take her. She lasted two more years, happy until near the very end. The last 4-5 days of her life I knew things weren't going well for her. She would still purr, be on me for a short while, and love being with us. But she was failing fast. She wasn't eating. Started having small, frequent seizures, eyes dilated -- you could tell she was not feeling well. I took her to the vet on a Monday for an evaluation. After a urine sample, it was clear that she wasn't filtering and expelling any of the poisons. It was affecting her brain and body. The vet said there were things we could do to prolong her life, but this would be what would take her. I couldn't put her through the ups and downs, and the hospital stays, for the selfish reason of not wanting to let her go. So, amidst many tears, I said goodbye and that I loved her very much.

She will always be loved and her memories cherished.

Diana Whaley November 2003

posted Oct. 23, 2003

Revised March 13, 2007     |     Printer Friendly Version