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      Tuesday, February 02, 2010

08:31 AM - 02/02/2010

The topic: Death watch is over….


We said our final goodbyes last night.

He just wasn’t getting better. He was getting worse. Yesterday afternoon, he went into the bathroom and got a drink. Then he went into the shower and peed. When he came out, he had to lay down on the floor to rest. It was that much of an effort for him.

I boiled a chicken breast for him in the morning. He ate some of that, then wanted no more. Last night, I got him to eat a little tuna. But it was minimal. He drank some tuna juice. He had a little water out of a glass bowl I held for him tonight. He just looked bad. He was obviously very uncomfortable, he kept licking his lips.

And his breathing was horrible.

I thought maybe he needed to pee and I picked him up and took him out to the litterbox, set in gently in it. He just sat there, looking dazed. And his sides were just rising and falling. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t good at all. I called Brian in to look, I told him it was time.

There was a little discussion, Brian wished we could wait until tomorrow and take him to our regular vet, but I just kept thinking how very badly Bart must feel. Looking back, I think Bart was already gone, it was just his shell. I think he’s been saying goodbye to us this past week. And the other cats knew. I took this last night, before we made the decision.

Richie is to the left of Bart, at one point, his back was to Bart, keeping Bart warm. Ronnie is on the pillow to the right of Bart. And Marco is in front. Oliver is on the other pillow in the background.  The rest of the bed was empty.

I’ve never seen the cats snugged up to Bart like that when we weren’t in bed. I think they were watching over him.

Then there was Bart. I’m sure you can see how vacant he is in this picture.

We got him in the carrier and took him down to emergency. I gave the immediate background. He was taken into the back where a doctor checked him over. She came in and discussed the situation with us and we told her that we didn’t want to have testing done, we didn’t want hospital stays, he was old, he couldn’t walk, that he was just tired.

And she looked at us and said “well, he would require hospitalization to get him through this, IV fluids and drugs, and with that you don’t know how long he’ll live; you’re doing the right thing”.

So, I guess it was his kidneys that finally failed. She felt the breathing problem was something unrelated to the kidneys (that was all she said).

She left the room, I was brought in some forms, filled them out, settled the bill. Bart was brought in to us, laid on a thick towel. There was a catheter in his leg. We were told we could take all the time we wanted, we said we didn’t need time, we’d said our goodbyes, we just wanted to be there for him when he passed away.

Shortly the doctor came back in and sedated him, took effect almost immediately.  Brian and I were both stroking him, Brian’s face to Bart’s face, I had my head on his side. Brian was crying hard, telling Bart over and over what a great cat he was.  Then the doctor euthanized Bart.  She listened to his heart with the stethoscope and I asked if he was gone and she nodded.  We both gave Bart last goodbye kisses and the doctor gently picked up Bart, wrapped in the towel.
Goodbye sweet Bart. You were one of the best ever.

We’ll miss you and Godspeed.


I took a sleep aid, and slept deeply last night.

I’ll no longer be worried about how he’s walking or eating or how are his kidneys, is he dehydrated, is he in pain from the arthitis….

He’s at peace.

One of the hardest things for me was seeing how thin he was and remembering what happened to my mom when she quit eating and her body started taking nutrition where it could get it. I didn’t want that happening to Bart.

Now I won’t be thinking about it.

Thank you for bravely reporting Bart’s last day. The picture you took of the other guys “circling the wagons” is priceless. You must be so grateful to have that. I see Bart was all wrapped up in a cozy, green snuggie. It is amazing to me that Bart did not hide but welcomed the comfort of his peers. We were down this same road with our beloved Mimi. You gave Bart a great, great life.


Posted by Carol @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 12:27:38 PM

Bart has been such an amazing cat, he will be missed so much.  My heart goes to you and Brian.  When my Jaxom passed, he reached his paws out and grabbed my elbow, it was his last act.  I am sure that Bart felt completely loved with you and Brian right there with him.  The group picture is really touching.  It is also nice to not have to worry about him.

Posted by May Ellen Altree @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 1:09:26 PM

I don’t comment much, but I enjoy reading your diary (and especially about the cats). I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I just went through the same thing in late December - saying goodbye to a CRF kitty. I’m sure Bart was thankful for how you loved him all of his life, that you did what you could for him when he was sick (above and beyond what most people do), that you could be strong for him and make a heartbreaking decision when the time came and that you were there with him when he passed. I also think the picture with all of the guys surrounding Bart is precious. I think you’re a wonderful mommy to all of your kitties. They are lucky to have you. Rest in peace Bart and enjoy your time at the Rainbow bridge while you’re there.

Posted by Kristi @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 1:11:15 PM

I’m sorry!! My sympathy to you and Brian!! :’(

Posted by Mary @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 1:16:48 PM

I haven’t posted on here for a long time but have done in the past and always read the diary. Today’s diary is so sad, but I love the way Richie’s paw is resting on Bart’s leg as though he is reassuring him. Bart’s last day sounds almost exactly the same as the last day of our Birman cat Monty who we had to have put to sleep in November 2003 :( The vet said ‘he is not really with us now is he’ when we took Monty to see him that last day. We have not had a cat since then, but I had cats all my life before then.
I very much admire the way you look after all your cats, and Bart definitely had a good life.
RIP Bart.

Posted by Janet @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 2:59:39 PM

I’m so very sorry.  Bart had such a good long life and it seems to me he was gazing across the veil into his new life at the Bridge.  The other cats were there for moral support and an appropriate send off. 

Godspeed Bart…you are very loved.

Posted by Lia @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 3:10:00 PM

You have done the most loving thing for Bart, He was ready, He was just waiting for you to be ready to let go.. You made the right decision and he is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for you, healthy happy and full of life!

Major Hugs,

Posted by Jill Farrell @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 4:40:04 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss! Godspeed Bart to the Bridge.



Posted by Mandy @ Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 6:37:24 AM

My heartfelt sympathies to you all, thank you for sharing the wonderful Bart with us as you did. Know that you don’t grieve alone, he is in all of our hearts.

We’re probably starting on “death watch” with our almost 21 year old, she’s now receiving thyroid medicine, has a heart murmur and is starting with kidney problems.  If she makes it to May 1, she’ll be 21 and we’ll have had her for all but the first 8 of those weeks, which were spent with her mom, my favorite barn cat.  If not, she will receive the same love and consideration you showed Bart.

Godspeed, Bart, we’ll all get to meet someday at the Rainbow Bridge.

Hugs and skritches to all,


Posted by Elizabeth @ Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 8:16:40 AM

My heart goes out to you and Brian.  Losing a furbaby is devastating, no matter what the circumstances are.  Bart was so very, very fortunate to have you, Brian, and the other kitties to help him in his passage to the Bridge.  Anybody who believes that animals don’t have souls needs to see the picture of Bart with his four little guardians.  Only a being with a soul can show the compassion and concern Bart was receiving from Richie, Ronnie, Marco, and Oliver.

Posted by Trudy @ Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 11:11:21 AM

They look so pitiful when they get old and frail like that.  (((hugs)))

Posted by Lisa @ Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 2:40:21 PM

I am so very, very sorry for the great loss of your furkid Bart.
He had the best possible carers the best possible human friends and a life filled with love. You are wonderful people. I visit here regularly and am always uplifted by your amazing care and compassion for all your feline friends.  In fact, you have inspired me in times of “what to do” for many of my kitty rescues….. We have looked after 60 cats on a TNR program, rehoming most but caring for those wished to be our outside kitties who refuse to be inside…. you helped me do a better job of it…
I lost my most precious Sammy to CRF in 2005 - nearly 19 ad very, very beloved and our last moments with him were so like yours and Brian’s with your Bart. I know you always did right by him even to the very end.
One day, you will meet again at the bridge, I know this, Godspeed beautiful Bart…
My thoughts and prayers are with you all,

Posted by Kerry @ Friday, February 05, 2010 - 4:15:53 AM

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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