A year ago today, I had to say goodbye to my saggy old cat Monty.
He died a week before his 19th birthday, when it was time to let him go I think the Vet was almost as upset as me. Monty was a remarkable cat; he’d had kidney disease for a long time and when his brother Roxy became very ill and passed away on Boxing Day 2010, Monty’s condition also deteriorated. I maintain to this day, that Monty suffered from a broken heart. He and his brother were totally inseparable, they did everything together, and slept curled up in one big black ball.
From January 2012 until I said goodbye on 28th June 2012, I had to put him on an intravenous drip twice a day to get fluids in to him. This was rather daunting to start with – I don’t like having injections myself, let alone linking a cat up to a drip line. But with some wonderful guidance from the Vet, I was up and running and Monty got the fluids he needed.
At the time, I asked the Vet if Monty would make it to his 18th birthday on 4th July 2011, he looked at me and said NO, hydrating at home was a new idea but he’d be lucky to make March.
I asked him if I was being selfish, should I let them put Monty to sleep, I didn’t want him to be in any pain. The Vet assured me that once we’d got the hydration levels right, Monty would be fine. He would purr his head off and eat his food and seemed so happy. We visited the Vet every week, the insurance wouldn’t cover me for any of the treatment – pre-existing condition – I swore a lot about that. Monty maintained his weight and the hydration was definately doing him a lot of good. The Vet was amazed. We got to March and he said I think we can move to fortnightly visits.
He made my birthday in April, the sun started to come out and he’d be there in his favourite spot in the garden soaking up the rays. We got to June – I didn’t want to tempt fate by asking about his birthday again, but the Vet couldn’t believe how well my Monty was doing.
At one point that year I was in the Vet’s room in floods of tears, the bills were not cheap, I wasn’t working, but the thought of putting Monty to sleep because I couldn’t afford to keep him alive was killing me. I was distraught. The Vet was totally wonderful, he wavered his consult fees for the rest of Monty’s life and charged me everything at cost. He knew how much I loved my cat, but also knew that if I thought or he knew that at any point Monty was in pain or had lost his quality of life, that I would let him go immediately.
Monty made his 18th birthday, I have never cuddled a cat as much as I cuddled him on that day. The Vet said, I think we can go to visits once every 4 weeks. He told me what signs I needed to look out for in case Monty started to deteriorate further. He told me that Monty was setting new limits for this kind of treatment, but don’t build my hopes up for Christmas.
With the treatment Monty needed twice a day, holidays and even nights away were not an option (even if we had the money). I had to put him on an IV line twice a day for around 20 minutes a time. Luckily at that time Monkey was still napping so I could do one course during nap time and one after bedtime. Monty was amazing, he rarely resisted when I had to stick a needle in him and would sit next to me for his 20 minute slots. He was such a wonderful lap cat.
Anyway, he made Christmas 2012, the Vet said he was truly ground breaking, and would be used as an example of what could be achieved for future patients. It really helped to know that although totally skint, Monty was still having a good life, and that our perseverance might just help someone else in the same situation in the future.
We plodding on, Easter, my birthday, could he make his 19th birthday? He purred his way through the months and then one evening he was sick, really sick, he was never sick. It was time to say goodbye. He slept on my bed that night, I didn’t sleep, I cried and cried, I knew it was time, I didn’t want him to suffer, but god it was hard. He’d been with me for nearly half my life. Seen me through a marriage, a divorce, another marriage, a baby, 5 different homes and the loss of his 17-year-old brother. He was just a huge part of my life.
It was 28th June 2012, I didn’t tell Daddy P what I’d decided (he was my cat, Daddy P had come to accept him), I knew that if I said anything to anyone other than the Vet, I’d never be able to get out of the house. The Vet took one look at me, I started crying and he knew. He checked Monty over, he offered some meds, and I said No, it’s time. I couldn’t watch him decline any further, and I couldn’t let him get to the point where he was in pain.
I held him tight, gave him lots of kisses and the Vet gave him his final injection. It was awful, I’m crying typing this, a year later! I’m a soppy moo at the best of times.
I came home, told Daddy P what I’d done and sobbed away. But it was the right decision, and actually I hadn’t realised how stressed out I’d been with all the injections, making sure that Monty was ok etc. I knew he was back with his brother.
I told everyone that I wouldn’t be getting another cat, not for a long time ……. my friends knew me better, and then before I knew it another little ball of fluff had moved in – our Brewster. He has huge paws to fill.