Early this morning we said good bye to our beloved Felix. In declining health over the last year or so, a recent recurrence of an upper respiratory infection was more than he could battle. Tonight he appeared to be having more difficulty than usual in breathing, so before it got to the point of distress, we made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.
As I checked on him before I went to bed, I noticed that his breathing was somewhat labored and he looked generally exhausted from the effort to breathe. He hadn’t gotten up from his spot on the spare bed very much today, so I carried him to his water bowl where he drank profusely, a sign that he’d not wanted to (or couldn’t) get up earlier. A quick check indicated that he was indeed fairly dehydrated (a symptom of his advancing kidney disease), so we gave him a round of subcutaneous fluids as we have done for more than a year. But even with the hydration, which usually perks him up, he was clearly uncomfortable. We knew it was time.
We’d been talking for a couple of months about his health and when we might need to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep. We’d considered it a couple of weeks ago, but a temporarily successful round of antibiotics seemed to clear up his upper respiratory issues for a while and he seemed to be more of his old self… wanting attention, following the sunlight to strategic snoozing spots in the apartment, etc. But about a week later, the infection was showing signs of returning, and his discomfort continued to slowly grow.
Tonight was a painful night for us, but it was peaceful for him. We all got to spend some time with him and he even purred a little as we scratched his tummy while waiting in the vet’s exam room. They took him into the back for a few minutes while the tech inserted an IV line so that, when it was time, things would go more smoothly. They brought him back to us in the exam room and we continued to pet him as he calmed down from the IV process. We continued to visit with him for about 15 more minutes until the doctor was ready.
Jongan and I withdrew to the lobby as Justin volunteered to oversee the event. I had been present at the passing of two other pets and I still have awful dreams about those events, so bless Justin for taking on the task. Justin reported that the end was very calm and peaceful.
We will miss Felix terribly. But I’m comforted by the fact that his remains will be cremated and scattered in the same place as his brother, Tiki, who we lost a couple of years ago. These years were rough on Felix without his brother, so I’m glad they’ll be together again. Meanwhile the three of us will work to keep Maggie happy. She and Felix got along pretty well but she’s been a pretty independent cat in the 2 years we’ve had her… we’ll keep a close watch to see how she fares as she realizes that he’s gone.
I can safely say that all who knew Felix would agree that he was sweet, loving, and had an outgoing and wonderful personality. We will celebrate the richness he brought to all our lives long after the sting of this night passes.
Rest in peace, our sweet boy!
Update (10/7/08): We got a letter today from the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health. The vet clinic where we took Felix, the San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, had sent them a donation in memory of Felix. That was very nice of them.