Pet Tales - #2 Felix And Sam
This article will tell you the story of Felix and Sam, two of the kittens Luna blessed us with. You can read all about Luna in the first part, here.
To summarize, Luna was a beautiful feline who one day came to live with us. She got pregnant, and then delivered four adorable black & white kittens: Felix, Sam, Afra and Kitty.
In the next part of the story, you can read about Afra and Kitty.
The four kittens, now grown up, could go wherever their desire took them. They could roam the backyards of the surrounding houses, climb the walls, or cross the street and frolic in the park filled with trees and all kinds of cat game. We held our breath every time they chose the latter, but how could we take that freedom from them, when they loved it so much?
The story of Felix is short but sweet.
A couple years went by, and all four kittens turned out happy and playful. Felix was in a sense the leader of the group. He took control, taught his siblings how to climb the walls and hunt, and was always the first to complain with a loud meow! when something wasn't according to their wishes. He was a master hunter. The times we found a part of a mouse stashed away in one of his favorite places are too numerous to count. Once he put one under the covers of my parents' bed! And one time, to my horror - as I am a bird lover - he brought a bird along with him. The bird was still alive, clutching berries in its beak, and in fact was quite unharmed! He released it right in front of us, then looked at us with an inquisitive look. Well, he seemed to want to say, aren't you gonna catch it? As if he, seeing how bad we were at catching prey, decided to teach us! Obviously a little gruesome for us, but from his point of view, a wonderful and loving gesture. We caught the bird, and released it back into the forest. Felix turned his back on us, walked out and didn't return for dinner. He was insulted that we didn't appreciate his gift!
At night, unless he was out hunting, he would sneak in to my bedroom, jump up on my bed and sleep there all night. I didn't dare move, in case I should disturb him in his blissful sleep! When he awoke, he looked at me, purred, and came up for pettings.
But such joy couldn't last. One horrible morning, the doorbell rang. Felix, barely 5 years old, had been hit by a car while crossing. He hadn't succumbed immediately but had continued on, across the street, into the garden of a neighbour. There, he collapsed. In the morning, the neighbour found him and came to alert us, knowing who Felix was.
It was quite simply a horrible moment for everyone. The utter shock of it kept me constrained to my bed for a whole week! To this day, merely remembering it brings a stabbing pain to my heart. He was truly a companion, but I console myself knowing he loved every minute of his life, and was on his way home. He will never be forgotten.
Have you ever had to give up a pet to euthanasia?
After Felix' untimely passing, once more, years went by, and life went on.
Our kittens were now 9 years old. I had moved out, gone on to college, and lived alone. My parents had moved to a flat, taking the cats with them. Because of personal reasons, I decided to move back "home". And lucky I did too!
The three cats were not taken care of as they should. Ignorance? Whatever the reason, they got wet food once a day, fresh water and dry food during the day and night. But that was it! And it wasn't adapted to their senior age either. They had no toys, no nest or pillow, not even a scratching pole, and only one litter for all three cats!
I knew that if I was going to make a change for the better, I had to do so slowly, gently, and not change things overnight, as that would meet a lot of resistance.
But I wouldn't have time to make the necessary changes for all three of the siblings. Soon, I noticed a change in one of the cats. Sam became lethargic. He stopped eating well. When I petted him, I found he had lost weight dramatically. I could feel his ribs! We couldn't see it through his fur, and his belly was very swollen, which is why it had happened without anyone noticing. I took him to the vet. Immediately. And under protest, but I ignored that. Alright, but at your own risk, was the reply.
The vet didn't need too long to come to a diagnosis: FIP. A terrible degenerative and fatal disease. The cat fills up with fluids, and essentially drowns. It's painful, slow, and a cruel way to die. No cure is known, and the longest any cat has been known to survive is 6 months, but more likely, a couple of weeks until the end. I had come in the brink of time. Sam had reached the point where he would begin to suffer. He was already refusing food, though still drinking.
What did I want to do?
In the past, I had been resolutely against euthanasia for pets. I felt pets had no say in the matter, and so it was unfair to decide to end their life for them. But when I looked into his eyes, I could see him begging me, see him begging for help. He was suffering, could find no joy in life, and had to drag himself forward every moment of every day.
I cried. I threw a tantrum to the walls, to my family. I panicked, thinking of his pain. I held him, petted him.
And finally... I set him free.
I couldn't bear to stand by and watch, so my stepdad and sister spent his last seconds petting and comforting him, telling him the pain would now soon end, both in tears.
But to this day, I am glad I made this decision. He had every moment of joy he could have. And I got the gift of being able to save him from suffering. Now, he sleeps in the earth, in the woods, surrounded by birds and crickets. Rest in peace, Sammy.
Did You Know?
- The longest any cat has ever lived was 38 years! However, even a life span of 20-25 years is exceptional.
- 3 out of 4 people who lose a pet suffer serious difficulties in their daily life and work as a result of the grief they feel.
- Other pets can grieve for the loss as well! They'll search the house, stop playing, become depressed, eat less, ... Comfort your pet and try to keep to routine!
- It's okay to keep something of your lost pet. It can offer comfort.
This was the story of Felix and Sam, how they came to enrich our lives, the things they taught us, and the joys and sorrows we knew with them.
In the next part of the story, you will hear about the changes I made in the lives of the two surviving cats, about Afra, how we loved and lost him, and Kitty, the survivor of the group, and the joys she is still having in life.
Have you ever lost a cat, dog, or other pet, be it to traffic, to FIP or another disease? Or perhaps another reason?
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. By sharing these stories, not only can we help ourselves to heal, but we can share the experience and the lessons we learned from it.