Sileo eternis dulcis Patches, rest well.

It would be accurate to say that I’ve known her as long as I’ve known my wife. She was three when I met her – met them both, really. Patches was my wife’s main companion, the sweet and gentle feline who helped her get through some rough times before I came along – and even after. Svelte and graceful, she was very lady-like, always sitting proper and politely requesting affection, or food, or just a place on your lap. You ignored her at your peril, however; if her requests went unanswered, she would position herself close enough to paw at you, appearing like nothing so much as a child tugging on your shirt sleeve.

She wasn’t best pleased when we added to the menagerie one kitty at a time; she was quite the independent lady and preferred her solitude, but suffered the interlopers with admirable dignity. The interlopers however didn’t generally take kindly to her haughty attitude, and would sometimes pick fights. Patches wasn’t a fighter; when confronted with aggression, she would simply repair to the bedroom, or a chair, or underneath the dresser if all else failed, until the others finally understood that she was having none of their antics. It wasn’t a constant thing, but it was frequent enough that we had to remain vigilant so as to be able to send the others to their corners whenever they got pugnacious.

In fact, it seemed as though she preferred the company of humans to other cats. Maybe it’s because we were much more susceptible to their mind control. That, and we had opposable thumbs, which were just the thing for opening tins of cat food. We were also very good at the game of Throw That Thing. This was a very easy game to play, because it only required the use of some wadded up bit of refuse – paper, tinfoil, whatever was handy. You just crumple it up and throw it at her, and she’d swat it, hopefully right back at you. What made us particularly adept was that we became masters of the fake, making periodic, unpredictable flicking motions with the Thing, making as if we were going to throw it, but not actually doing so until we were absolutely sure she wasn’t expecting it. She found the suspense it built thrilling, and would scooch down on her haunches, keeping an unwavering bead on the Thing, ready to react to the slightest movement.

She’s been in our lives, mine and my wife’s, for as long as we’ve known each other and she’s been as loving and sweet a kitty as ever there was. But recently she took ill. It came on quite sudden. She stopped eating. She couldn’t go to the bathroom. There were suddenly lumps on her side. She grew lethargic and unsteady on her feet. She would drink, but only from a running tap; for some reason she wouldn’t touch water from any other source. So last night we took her to the vet, the only 24 hour one we could reasonably get to by cab. The $60 consultation fee, while dear for us at the moment, was something we owed it to her to spend.

After an examination, the vet couldn’t make any useful diagnosis – not that we expected him to. She was severely dehydrated and her temperature had dropped slightly, though her heart was strong and she still purred when pet. All the vet could say was that she didn’t appear to be at all well. He drew up an estimate. At the low end, we would be looking at between $1,000 and $1,300 for a full workup, with 75% due up-front. And that assumed only a one-day overnight stay.

It was the hardest thing to contemplate. We simply weren’t in a position to lay down that kind of money. It seemed wrong somehow to put something as base as money ahead of her life, but we just couldn’t reconcile the problem. We just didn’t have the money, and we couldn’t get the money, not on that kind of short notice. Plus, things were looking pretty grim even in the best light; though we didn’t know precisely what was wrong with her, we knew without doubt that whatever it was, it was killing her fast, and she was not at all long for this world.

We took her back home to think on it, even though there wasn’t really much to to think on. Our only other alternative, hard as it was to come to terms with, was clear. We had to put her down. It was far less expensive, and probably, in the end, kinder to her to end the suffering. It was a decision made clearer as we watched her try and walk from one end of the room to the other, swaying as she did, nearly stumbling over her own paws. She lacked the energy to jump up on anything, so we had to lift her to the bathroom sink to drink. She lacked the coordination to properly move from one place to the other without coming close to falling over. We could – and most likely would spend thousands of dollars on treatment only to find that she doesn’t have long left to life anyway. She’s 13. Not ancient by any means, but a full life just the same. A full and good life she has had, pampered, loved, and well cared for.

So we had to do her the kindness of putting an end to her misery.

This afternoon, just minutes after I came home from work, we had a friend pick her up to take her to the Newmarket Humane Society branch. We couldn’t bear to go – we couldn’t anyway, being that it would have been a two hour round-trip and she couldn’t have driven us back tonight anyway – but as much as part of me wanted to go with her and pet her until she drifted off into the big sleep, I don’t know that I could have dealt with that. Having her passing in my arms be the last memory I have of her would be something that would haunt my better memories of her. I couldn’t think of her without thinking of that moment when her breathing finally stopped and she left this mortal coil. At least this way, my last memory is of her in her carrier, turning her head one last time to look at us as the van drove off, as if saying her final goodbye. It’s a poignant memory, but a living one.

Goodnight, sweet kitty. Live well in the Great Beyond until we meet again at the rainbow bridge.

{{{{{{Mindfield and wife}}}}}}}}

I’ve been in your position, putting a beloved kitty down because it didn’t make economic or emotional sense to spend hundreds of dollars just to put off the inevitable for a brief time.

My heart goes out to you both. You made an incredibly difficult decision, and it sounds like it was the right one to make.

Sometime that last thing we do for them is the best thing.

I’m very sorry for your loss, Mindfield.

I am sorry for your loss. Sending supporting thoughts your way!

I think you made the right decision. It’s important not to keep them too long. By the way, that sounds like a good friend y’all have there.


I thank you, and my wife thanks you. Patches thanks you, too, around a mouthful of otherworldly salmon that, astoundingly, leaped straight out of the stream and into her waiting jaws.

I think what it eventually came down to, beyond the money anyway, was that prolonging what very probably was the inevitable would have been selfish of us. Although she didn’t appear to be in pain, she couldn’t have been living life in any measure of comfort or coherency. It just wasn’t fair to her. The whole thing isn’t fair when you get right down to it, but at such a time I guess you have to put aside what you want for what’s right.

Incidentally, since I’ve broken protocol, here are some pictures of her:

Kitteh. KITTEH? Zzzzz. Hmmmm. Kitteh. In memoriam.


I’m sorry for your loss, Mindfield. She was a beautiful girl, and you done right by her.

She was a gorgeous cat.

I’m so sorry, Mindfield. She was a beautiful girl, and you did the right thing for her.

Kinky Friedman says it best

I am sorry for your loss Mr. & Mrs. Mindfield

Mindfield, I love that picture where she’s asleep. She sure wasn’t camera shy, huh?

{{{{Mindfield and Mindwife}}}}

{{{{{Mindfield & Family}}}}}

I want to run home to hug Smokey now… :frowning:

I’m so sorry for your loss.


She was a beauty. I’m sure she and my Brandy are sharing snarky comments about their clueless owners…

I’m sorry for your los, Mindfield.