I have wanted to write about this for a bit, but I wasn't able to do it until now (and I still might cry while I write it, but what can you do).
As you know, Booper was constantly plagued by asthma and sneezing. Toward the beginning of this year, he stopped responding to the steroids and antibiotics that the vet was giving him every couple of months. This meant that we switched over to an oral antihistamine only. On June 3rd, I came home from work and noticed a bump between his eyes. I emailed a picture to the doctor the following morning and he said he would be over on Thursday. He also said that it looked pretty serious and I should prepare myself for potential bad news.
Dr. Ruble wasn't here very long that Thursday before he told us that the mystery bump was probably cancer. I had cried on the phone when the doctor had told me it was probably something serious. I cried again when he told us that it was probably cancer. He gave Booper the steroids and antibiotics he had been getting in the past, took a sample to examine under the microscope to be sure and we talked about what might happen. He estimated that Booper had anywhere from one month to three (at most) and told us that we would have to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep.
The tumor grew quickly. Very, very quickly. I took pictures nearly every day and the progression is ridiculous to watch. It began to push against his eyes, making them water all of the time, and he started having bloody noses just about every day. He also started to look more tired than usual. We could tell that he wasn't himself, despite little bursts of energy when he'd play with us or his brother cats. Finally, at the beginning of July, we had to call the vet to have him come over for a final visit. I made the call while I was at work but I made sure to have Husband be on the line as well because I wasn't convinced I could talk to the receptionist without sobbing. I'm glad I did.
Dr. Ruble came over on July 3rd. As soon as he walked in, he told us that it was definitely the right thing to be doing. He said that the tumor was likely giving Booper headaches and that it was starting to deform his bones. I won't go in to details about the procedure, but I will tell you that it was very peaceful. Husband held him and we sat on the couch all together. When he was gone, we brought Bandit and Kit Kat downstairs to see him so they would know what had happened (the vet said that they likely knew already because of the change in scents in the house, though). We eventually said our goodbyes. We got his remains back about a week later. It made me feel so much better to have him back with us, even if it was in a completely different way.
I am so grateful for the care that Dr. Ruble gave to Booper throughout his entire life. It was such a good thing to find his practice when we were considering switching vets several years ago. It was so much nicer to have him come over to our home to see the cats rather than take them out to an office. It was also really amazing that we could all be home together on Booper's last day and that he could feel safe and calm.
We did our best to make sure Booper felt loved and pampered during the last month of his life. We gave him all of the best food and treats, we had friends stop over to visit him, we even took him outside a couple times (you know, so that he would be able to get the best smells). He spent a great deal of time sitting near the open window in the kitchen, sniffing the air and sleeping in the sunlight. On his last day, we gave him a feast of delicious lunchmeats as well as a scallop (didn't care for it), cool whip (looooved it, as usual), and dog ice cream (not interested). We cuddled him, let him sit by the window and just spent time near him.
Booper turned nine shortly after we discovered the tumor. I am so grateful that I was able to have him in my life for the nearly six years that I did. He was so wonderful.
Pictures above and below were both taken during our outings to the yard and porch.
After we found out about the tumor, I began crying pretty much constantly. After he had been gone for two weeks, I was finally able to get through a work day without bursting in to tears. I know that we did the right thing and that he was suffering, but I don't think I'll ever stop missing him.
Bandit and Kit Kat seem to be doing okay as a twosome rather than a threesome. I think they were both missing him right after he was gone, but they seem to be keeping it together now as well. Funnily enough, they have changed some of their habits. Bandit has been meowing more frequently, Kit Kat has been more lovey dovey. It's interesting to note the changes and realize that, unbeknownst to us, Booper may have been the alpha cat (do cats have alphas? I don't know). We are all adjusting to life without him, but it will never be the same.
Rest in Peace, my little Booper doo. You were just the best.
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