Saturday, October 3, 2009

The cats let the human speak.



An x-ray of a cat is a very beautiful thing, like a fine drawing of muscle, bone, tissue. Delicate, a perfect drawing in twilight tones that reveals the perfection of how a cat is made.
But this x-ray is of Maurice and it shows that within his lungs there are patches, consolidations of tissue that can only be tumours and spread over his lungs is a shadow. For a good many months now Maurice has been breathing heavily, long before the building work began. Kath, my friend who is a vet, noticed it first. I thought he was just purring at the time. Lately he has been more laboured, so there could be no mistake.

After a night at the vets he is glad to be home. Moira had managed to take the x-ray without anaesthetic, not knowing what the problem was and not wanting to put more stress on him, so gentle a vet to calm an animal so that he could just lie still and be photographed. We are so lucky to have such people, and Moira was so good earlier in the year when Pixie was ill.

This morning his breathing would seem to have eased. Yesterday he was given a steroid injection and if this works it should prolong his life, but more important than that, give him a good quality of life. The cancer may grow, probably will grow. At some point in the future I will have to decide when that quality of life becomes too low for him. Because the change has been so gradual so far it is hoped that this will be many years away, but it could be months. I was shocked to find that Maurice is only six years old. Only six years. Such a wonderful cat, it is as if he has always been with me.






Last night we walked in the moonlight around the village. By the village well Maurice was there, tail high and happy. He jumped up into my arms and wrapped his paws around my neck. Even in the moonlight his orange coat burned with a rich bright flame.
These are moments I will treasure and every time I see a falling star I will make only one wish.




Jackie.

53 comments:

Lydia said...

O, I am so sad for you. Yes, be thankful for each moment together and share as many of them with your readers as you care to. Because we care, too.

dinahmow said...

Oh, Jackie! I am so sorry to read this.
Rusty, now 18 (we think) has "off" days and is becoming quite deaf. But so dear to us!
Fond thoughts to you and all the Tribe of Ginger.

The Ginger Darlings said...

All cats are special. One reason Maurice is so is because he filled an enormous hole for me when Martha's brother died. Not replacing Arthur, but just stepping right up to the mark.
Leaving him at the vets last night reminded me of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights where Lara talks about the pain of separation from her deamon.
I have written three books now that have an underlying thread dealing with berievment. I have has three cats that have died, but I have never had to face a long illness before. Comfrey disappeared. Arthur was hit by a car. Bird just died.
It i raining. The weather suits my mood, but I think that Maurice will teach me how to cope. He lives very muh in the moment and is beautiful.

Bovey Belle said...

My eyes are pricking with tears to read this, because your posting has a resonance with every one of us who has ever been owned by a cat. I know that Maurice has the happiest and most fulfilled of lives to enjoy for a good while longer yet.

Stacy Hurt said...

Oh Jackie, I am sorry to read this news. Maurice is such a treasure to you; you can see that in every photo. We recently lost our youngest cat the first part of September, it's the hardest thing to go thru. My thoughts & all my girls loud purrs to you and your tribe of gingerliciousness! Mr. Maurice is such a handsome Mancat!

B'ham said...

.. We too will look for falling stars. And make a wish for Sweet Maurice.
xoxo
karen

verobirdie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Maurice. He reminds me of Mokka, a ginger cat we had. He had the same kind of sickness and I had to make the decision. It was so hard to decide to let him go, but I'm sure he had a happy life and he was better in the cat paradise than suffering here. I still miss him though.
I do hope Maurice still has many good months ahead.

Christine said...

I am very sad. I will make only one wish too.

Angie said...

I am so sorry to hear your news ...such a young cat too.
I have lost many cats over the years ...through many reasons but the strange thing is that long illness'... in a strange way ... are easier. There is time to pamper and make sure their last months are filled with strokes and tuna. There comes a time when you realize it is right to say good bye and that your beloved cat must leave ...they look at you in a way that only a cat lover would know ... and there are unspoken words that pass between you. Go on your instincts on whether pain is felt.
Enjoy all the time you have ...as you say it could be years

In both cases I held them til the end ... so they knew they were loved ...no one else could do that for me. Sushi and Georgie you will never to be forgotten.

Narrative jewelry said...

Difficult to find words to express the pain i feel reading theses news from Maurice.

But, be sure, all my thoughts are with him, his brothers, sister and you of course.

I know what you feel... Love them so much.

But he has so beaufiful days to live, Maurice is a winner, go on guy !

With love from France.

Lydia said...

My dear Bleecker, who was ginger and white, died at age 16 (it will be 3 years in Dec., seems so impossible) after two years of kidney failure. My husband and I administered subcutaneous fluid injections into him every third day for those years, and the vets were amazed at the length and quality of life we were able to provide for him. But it was really because of Bleecker. My little boy did not want to leave me and he lived so bravely for me.

It was such a spiritual time being so connected to his very essence as a full life force and then to the essence thinning out, and finally becoming only silence and light.

Jennifer Rose said...

:( so sad to read this :(

Hilary said...

I am so sorry to hear this. Cats are a perfect joy but the nature of joy is that it is always ephemeral. Cats' little lives are so short in relation to ours that we always live in the shadow of tragedy - the more so when they're taken from us too soon. One of the worst things of all is living with the awareness that the time you have together, already too short, will be shorter still. Love Maurice, and his brothers and sisters, as much as you can, for as long as you can - not that I have to tell you that.

Alistair said...

The nice thing is that Maurice knows nothing of this.

He's not weeping that time may be short. He's not sorry that some days he wheezes. He is a cat. He is a ginger. He is enjoying today. He will enjoy tomorrow too.

Make sure you do too.

regards......Al.

Dougie Donk said...

Such sad news. Enjoy the time you have in the certain knowledge that you love him enough to know when to say goodbye.

If you can stand it, let the vet come to you, as then the others will know for certain that he's gone & you can say goodbye together.

Jackie Morris said...

Maurice is teaching me all that too, and is somewhat confused as to why he has been allowed into my studio. So far he has helped me sign some books and walked in my paint!

June said...

Cats are the best of philosophers. You are wise to be guided by Maurice's attitude.

He is: Here Now. No need to look too far into the future. A moment at a time makes up a life.

trasha said...

We are teetering on the edge of this next stage with the older of my old men dogs. I have my fingers crossed it is still many months away but know that one morning we too will have to make the decision. For now he is happy with his slowed down life so we keep moving forward.

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Oh, Jackie, I'm so sorry to hear this news about Maurice, poor fellow...but yes, cats live in the moment, no sense of their mortality, it's us who suffer most watching them pass through our lives, theirs is much too short, and we miss them when they go...but oh the grand memories we have! The lovely moments and stories. Enjoy him, love him, you'll both know when.

Hugs,

Laura

Deleilan said...

What a blow this must be for you... May you have Maurice at your side for many more years.

Simba said...

We ae sorry to hear about Maurices lung. It is good he doesn't know he is ill for now and can just enjoy life. We hope the medicines will give him a long time still being comfortable and enjoying it.

jodi said...

I am so sorry to hear this.

annie said...

A real heart breaker before you in the future,Jackie, but I can see that you and your special Fur Persons already know how to enjoy each moment of the day and night before that time of parting comes. And it won't be a total parting, as you already know from other partings--there will still be that connection in that deep place where memories truly live.
For now,
sympathy and hope,
annie

Daffycat said...

***cries***

I'm so sad to hear this news, Jackie.

Morning's Minion said...

A dear friend had to put down her old horse this week and as I struggled to find comforting words, I was reminded of the dear cats I have lost over the years. Several simply disappeared and I still wonder what happened. Several were found lifeless in the road, prompting me to keep future cats as indoor cats. Some lived many years and at least we could know that their time had come to die. Two dear boys we lost to cancer, one at 4, his brother, my beloved Oscar, at 7. Each animal who shares our life is special and unique, but some seem so close that we almost feel they could speak in human words.
It is devastating to choose the moment when we must in kindness allow them to be put down. So many of us have come to treasure your pets and their stories that we will share your sorrow at parting with Maurice. Even when I grieve the loss of a cat, I know that I will always open my heart to another.

petoskystone said...

i hope the steroids work for maurice,& that his days stretch into months of walks, strokes, & ginger-glow.

Marlene said...

I'm crying as I read your post because it reminds me so much of what I went through with my dear beloved and departed, Q. He was a 17 year tabby who was the love of my life. He was on steroids for quite some time before his passing and I think it really made his quality of life better.

hugs and purrs, thoughts and sympathy to you and Maurice

Jane said...

Your beautiful ginger people have helped to fill in a ginger gap which appeared in our life when we lost Bemjamin in March. We are so sorry to hear your news. I'm sure Maurice knows that a walk by the sea, and a blow of good Welsh sea air, in the company of those you love, is the best medicine and he'll stay with you for as long has he can. By chance I watched his programme on Wednesday; if only there had been more of him - but he was obviously too beautiful for them to leave out!

Jhohanna said...

I've read the kitties for a long time now, 2 years....and this breaks my heart. My kitties send their love across the world and we pray for Maurice's health and ease his pain, and most of all, to ease yours as well. *hugs* May he live long and comfortably with you throughout this.

Becky and Ben said...

We are so sorry to hear this: we've both lost cats in the past, friends that had been with us since childhood. It's so tough, but I'm sure your instincts will guide you regarding Maurice's quality of life. I'm sure you and he will make the absolute most of the time you have left together.

Daisy said...

I am so sorry to read that Maurice has a sick. My heart is sad.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Oh, such news. One never wants to think the worst, do they. The steroids will help, and give you time to treasure each extra day with him, something you might just take for granted if you didn't know what was growing inside him. Give him extra nuzzles, extra tasty treats and he will know you love him til the end...

Griffin said...

Poor Maurice, but at least he lives with people who love him and has good friends in Pixie, Elmo, Kiffer, Martha, Max, Bella, Floss, Rosie and the humans such as you.

He will have a good life and be with those who love him to the end. Being a cat, he will make the most of every moment also. It's what cat's do.

spacedlaw said...

Poor Maurice!

Lyn said...

Oh Jackie, I am so sorry to hear the news. Lets hope he will last a good while longer. I can't think of anything that will make you feel better. My thoughts and love are with you all.
Love
Lyn
xxx

Amy in Austin said...

Oh Jackie! I am so sad for you. I know what it is to live with furry, four-legged ones who bring such joy into your life while you watch and wait and hope they live just a bit longer.
I have one who likely has lymphoma in her intestines. She has always had a sensitive tummy and has been on steroids since they first found the inflamation. She has been wasting away recently, just getting thinner and thinner, but always so hungry. I recently went on a hunt for new cat food as the vet has said it's likely that there is a food allergy component to her disease. So, no more chicken for my beautiful girl. She seems to be improving.
I hope for both you and Maurice that the steroids help him and that you are able to enjoy many more moments with him. This blog, your words and your pictures and the cats are a must read for me every day. Thank you so much for sharing their lives with us.

NAL said...

Sometimes, things just aren't fair...my best wishes for you both!

Ducky said...

I am so sad for your pain. Sad at the idea of being without Maurice. But, as others have said here, I believe that Maurice knows how to be happy and to enjoy his days to the fullest. It's one of those qualities that make cats so dear.

Tend to your heart as you tend to your boy.

SusanLady said...

Yes - I do feel your pain. My dear kitty died a long and wretched death over a 3 day holiday weekend because we could find no one to put her down. (That was 8 years ago and I sit here with fresh tears.) We did finally find someone. My little Lady was valiant and sweet to the end. We were soul mates and I learned how much a pet can mean to one. I did not know, because I am allergic to cats and took in Lady, expecting her not to last because we have heavy traffic in front of the house. She lived 18 years- somehow it worked for both of us. I feel for you and Maurice.

quiltcat said...

Jackie, i am so sorry to hear this bad news about Maurice. The thing is, which you've recognized, is that cats have no worries about the future...Maurice will be delighted to live in the moment, filling your life with your wonderful gingerness. And then when the time comes that his breathing is so labored that he can't go walkabout with you or he is too weak to eat, or some other sign, you will know it is time to give him the greatest gift, a gentle death freeing him from pain and weakness. May that time be a long way in the future and may you enjoy many golden days together!

Marie said...

Dear Jackie - I hope it is longer...what sad news. xxx

Estorbo said...

Hermano Maurice, you hab soch a nice ved, I weesh I deed too.She weell taghe care ob you berber' good, doan' worree. You are ber' clebber to yomp eento the arms ob your Wooman. Eef I try' thad weeth my Wooman I woul' keell hor. I yam como un beeg, blag canonball. You are lighd como orange fire.

Anonymous said...

OH poor Maurice.....poor you...enjoy your wonderful cats...they are a wonderful source of pleasure in our mad world. Long may he have a happy life with you.

Judy said...

Jackie,

So sorry about Maurice, but may he live longer than anyone thinks possible. He is a beautiful cat!

Librarynan said...

Maurice's news is devastating, but we all hope he will have lots of lovely days and warm snuggly nights to share with you and the Gingers. Remember the adage: "Each day is a gift... that's why it is called the present". Many presents for you Jackie and for Maurice.

liZZie said...

The way you describe and explain this most sad and painful development in the life of this beautiful creature helps me a little to search for words to comfort myself over the loss of my dog recently. I need some of that dignity so I'm saying thanks but also feel upset. I acquired a collie puppy last week so Rosie's happenings ring all the more true for me. Thank you, much appreciation.

sarah said...

Oh, my dear. You have my heartfelt sympathy. Dyson Magnificat, my big orange friend, is slowly succumbing to renal failure. He's still happy, if slightly less energetic every day... but the end is in sight. It seems I've taken so many animals on that last trip to the vet; each seems more difficult than the last. My heart is full of cat- and dog-shaped holes and I begin to wonder just how many more times I can do this. And yet a house without cats would not be a home.

Jenny said...

That is such sad news but I know you will love and treasure Maurice as long as you can and only do what is best for him. That's what loving cats is all about.

Linda Navroth said...

Dear Jackie, Haven't had a chance to check the Ginger Blog for a few days--so sorry to hear of Maurice's illness. I and my furry lads wish you and Maurice many more years together. We have had out share of feline loss in our home and it never gets easier. Alas, my partner and I are growing older and know that the two cats we have now will probably be our last, as we do not want to get any more when they pass beccause of our age--and the thought of leaving a cat behind. Choosing to have 4-leggeds as companions is the most rewarding thing in life, I think, and I know having us means the same to them when they are much loved. Be strong for Maurice.

Anonymous said...

I am so sad to hear your news. Maurice is such a beautiful boy, I hope he is around for a long time yet.
Much love and purrs to you and your furry family.
From me and my ginger friend x

Moonroot said...

Belatedly catching up on your blog. And crying at this sad news. My thoughts are with you and the beautiful Gingers.

Deb Morse said...

Dearest One.

You will know when it is time. Maurice will whisper it to you. And when it is time he will help you.

I too have had three cats pass, and all of them old. Old Bubbie though passed from diabetes after a long year of illness, heart surgery, twice daily injections of insulin..... he told me when it was time.

Old Radames passed from congestive heart failure after six months of illness... he told me when it was time.

It's so bittersweet. Take your walks. Enjoy this time. And know he will still be around even after he passes. Which may not be for some time. We all pass. We can not say when it will be. There are angels who help us.

Sending you love and light.

Anonymous said...

Your poor boy. I am so sorry to read about his illness. Here's hoping that you are allowed as much time together as possible. god bless. xx