At about 8:30/8:45 p.m., he was sick to his stomach and promptly lost the use of his back legs. Paralyzed and understandably terrified, we held him and watched as he began to struggle to breathe. He didn't want to stay still. He kept trying to stand up (ever see those images of cows in the final stages of mad cow disease? That's what Cuddles looked like), crying in pain, in fear, in frustration.
Still we held him, tried to calm him. He rested on my lap--in a pool of his own drool--as my mother drove us to the vet's.
I knew Cuddles wouldn't be coming home. We suspected a stroke.
The vet said it was congestive heart failure. Cuddles had had cardio myopathy, which is apparently a condition not uncommon in older cats. His heart muscle had stretched so that it had become enlarged and ineffective. It couldn't pump the blood through his little body. He developed a blood clot, which had travelled out of his heart and towards his back legs to cause the paralysis. And because the blood wasn't circulating properly, Cuddles wasn't able to get enough oxygen.
There was nothing the vet could do.
And though I had prepared myself for the decision I suspected I would have to make, it wasn't any less painful. But I couldn't watch my baby suffer. He was in so much pain.
I kissed Cuddles and held him as he was put to sleep. He went so quickly, so quietly.
He died at about 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2005.
I am so sorry. For myself, yes, but mostly for him. Though as far as time goes, he didn't suffer long. Still, during that time, the pain was immense. And still he really didn't protest as much as he could have. He seemed so resigned.
I hope he felt comforted. I hope he knew I was there.
I love that cat so much. And I miss him terribly. The tears don't stop for long.
Cuddles and I: February, 1992. Three months shy of Cuddles' first birthday, and four months shy of my eleventh.
Cuddles and I: June 16th, 2000. Cuddles helped me to blow out my candles on my 19th birthday.
Cuddles on the kitchen windowsill. He loathed posing for pictures. But this one turned out so well. It's one of my favourite pictures of him.
Cuddles St. Pierre: May 25th, 1991 - March 19, 2005. No picture truly managed to capture his personality, his spirit. This one comes close. Despite what some outsiders thought, Cuddles was an immensely personable cat. He loved being around people and was--is even still--truly a part of our family. Our family always congregated around the kitchen table. Cuddles was always sure to join...
He is sorely missed.