This page is dedicated to my precious black-and-white, "tuxedo" kitty, Cleo. Of all my kitties, she was the only one that I got from someone (the other three were just abandoned on the street). I got her from some friends of mine who attend church with me -- their cat had a litter of kittens, and I had been wanting to get a kitty companion for Caesar. So in April of 1996, I adopted Cleo. She was only 7 weeks old. After only a few days, she and Caesar hit it off just great. I have several pictures of him grooming her, and them snuggling up together in one of my chairs. Up until just before she crossed the Bridge, they would still snuggle and sleep side by side -- usually one was laying on the other.
I became concerned about Cleo in December, 2000. I had noticed she had lost weight, and the hair on the back of her ears was falling out. Finally, on Dec. 13th, it came to a head. I was home from work that day because of a winter ice storm. I began to notice that I saw all the other cats throughout the day, but I hadn't seen Cleo one time. About 7 that evening, I began to call her and try to find her. It took me about 45 minutes of constant calling for her to come out from wherever she was hiding. She was not walking, but just creeping across the floor, and would try to throw up; but there was nothing on her stomach to throw up. I picked her up and tried to get her to drink some water and gave her some canned cat food. She ate a little, but not much.
One sweet thing she did was, when I was trying to get her to eat, at one point I picked her up and was patting her. She "hugged" me ..... I don't know if you've ever had a cat do that, but they just lean against you while you're holding them. She sat there like that in my lap for about 20 minutes; it's almost like she was saying goodbye......
A side note: I used to spend lots of time holding Cleo; she LOVED to be picked up and she wanted you to walk around with her. But one thing that she absolutely LOVED was for me to walk over to a mirror that was hanging on the bathroom wall. It was covered with a frilly border and she loved to try to chew on the flowers -- even though she always knew I'd tell her no. Then she loved to give me one of her kitty hugs.... I'd kiss on her and tell her what a pretty kitty she was. Now why she always wanted me to stand in front of that mirror, I'll never know..... but that was a favorite kitty activity for her!
Anyway, when I got off work on Thursday, Dec. 14th, I immediately got her and took her to the vet. He examined her and asked me how old she was. I told her she was four. He said she had chronic liver failure. Which is as bad as it sounds. Her liver was just not working, and was basically shutting down. He said he was really surprised to see it in a cat so young, and that it is usually caused by old age. But sometimes, and they just don't know why, it occurs in younger cats. (maybe a birth defect??) Anyway, he showed me her teeth, and they were all yellow and jaundiced. And her eyes kind of had that yellow jaundiced look, too.
I kept asking him how long she had; he never did say -- all he would say was that she had a very poor prognosis and that he couldn't promise me anything. He kept her overnight Thursday night to try to give her some shots and to get her to eat, and said for me to call him the next morning to see how she was doing.
When I called the next morning, Dec. 15th, I halfway expected him to tell me that she had passed away during the night. But he didn't; what he did say was that he was so sorry, but that she was not any better. I had pretty much prepared myself for that, and had already decided to go ahead and put her to sleep if she wasn't any better by that day. I couldn't see putting her through any more pain, if the end result would be that she would die anyway. So I told him my decision and told him I'd come by after I got off work because I wanted to be in the room with her when he put her to sleep.
So I went to the vet's office after work, and when I saw her, I was even more sure that I was making the right decision. You could tell, everywhere you could see her skin, that it had that jaundiced look..... it was just horrible. And she had lost SO much weight -- she just didn't look like the same cat. She had also stopped purring. I hadn't heard her purr since the week before.
The vet was very kind and considerate -- he let me sit in the exam room with her for a little bit to say goodbye. Then he came in and gave her one shot as an anesthetic, and gave that about 5 minutes to work. Then he gave her the shot that put her to sleep. I got to sit with her the whole time; a teenaged son of some friends of mine works at the vet's office, was in there with me, for the most part.
After she passed on, the vet and my friends' son helped put her in a box. Then I went over to my friends' house and Steve (the dad) buried Cleo in their back yard, along side some of their animals who have passed on. It couldn't have been a worse day as far as weather goes --- freezing cold, drizzling rain, wind blowing out of the north. But I feel better knowing she is buried where I can go visit.
It was a relief that day to know that she isn't in any pain anymore..... I really didn't have a choice, but I'm glad that I had such a caring vet and such wonderful friends who are helping me through this time.
Somehow it feels better just to write about her, and to remember her. For those of you who never saw her, here are some pictures of her:
More Cat Pictures
Page Three of the Cat Pictures
Now granted, some of these pages have pictures of the others.... but they all have pictures of Cleo. She was such a character! She will be greatly missed by all of us, but I know I will see her again.
Bye, my precious tuxedo kitty! You will be missed more than you could have ever known.
Some sympathy cards I received from my wonderful friends:
From Jason, Nicole & Layla
Precious Christmas Card from Beth
Shaggybear's Friends -- toward the bottom of this page, there are pictures of Caesar, Cleo and Chicklet, with a nice tribute to Cleo included. Thanks, Sandi'e!!
These, along with MANY email wishes, thoughts and prayers, are what the Lord has used to get me through this very difficult time. It is always hard to lose a pet, but especially hard around the holidays. Yet God has been so good to hold me up, and I know the meaning of that Scripture that says, "underneath are the Everlasting Arms." An enormous thanks goes out to all my friends and family who have been so supportive. I love you all.....
thanks SO much, Lady Blue and Lone Star Felines!
This page last updated Wednesday, April 25, 2001.