‘Twas a Sad St. Patrick’s Day

On Wednesday morning past, March 17th, we said goodbye to our beautiful boy, Toby after he suffered what we believe to be a nervous collapse.

A nervous and skittish cat since he matured, easily frightened by loud noises, sudden movements, and such,  he was terrorized by something he saw outside Tuesday evening.  A feral cat has been making regular visits and “deposits” on our patio doors for the past couple of weeks, and we believe that catching a glimpse of that animal along with the scent of his “deposit” is what set him off.  (A rant about irresponsible pet owners another time…)

He assumed a pounce position with ears laid flat back, and the sounds that came out of our poor boy when either of us tried to approach him were otherworldly.  I’ve never heard such screams from a cat, and I’ve had cats my whole life.  He chased my daughter’s cat behind a chair, but didn’t hurt him, even though he was poised to attack.  The vet explained that this was probably just adrenaline and that it should wear off in a few hours.  Charlie managed to use a spray bottle of water to coax him into the spare bedroom and we left him in peace and quiet for night, hoping he’d be okay by morning.

Wednesday morning, he was meowing in his sweet voice to get out of the room, and we gingerly set him free.  He ate, had a drink, and walked around the apartment, though a little nervously, perhaps.  I was able to pat him, he purred, and all seemed well.  Until Charlie stood to pour himself a second cup of coffee and everything returned to the previous night’s terror.  It was nerve-wracking for us, not knowing if he might, indeed, fly into one of us or into the other cat…but I was mostly upset for him, at how absolutely terrified he must have been.  Cats do, apparently, have “nervous breakdowns”, and we believe that’s what happened to our Toby.

We made the gut-wrenching decision to set him free from his monsters.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; I think it was the saddest day of my life.  And it was made all the worse by knowing that he was such a physically healthy, beautiful cat, only 8 years old, who had an otherwise sweet, gentle personality.  A cat who never scratched, but would gently tap your arm to get your attention.  But we agreed that we couldn’t live with the unpredictability of when something might set him off again, especially considering our grandson, and when a screaming session might become more aggressive.  Most of all, we agreed that living in panic and terror, always being fearful, was no life for our beautiful boy.

When Toby first became part of our family, Charlie had rescued him from a litter of kittens at the end of someone’s driveway.  He was the only kitten left and you can imagine my surprise when he arrived home with him. :)  He was small enough to sit in the palm of Charlie’s hand, but what a little rascal he was.  He became my constant companion.  A Turkish Angora, he grew a velvety soft, single coat that never had so much as a knot.  In the winter, he grew a beautiful ruff which he promptly shed each spring.  He was a large cat by most standards, weighing well over 12 lbs., but was lean and lithe and loved to play.

This is my favourite photo of Toby.  I swear you can see straight into his soul through those gorgeous copper eyes.  I know many of you have said goodbye to beloved pets before, and you know how agonizing it is.  Right now, it seems like our days will never be the same.  His ashes will come back to us today–I’m not sure if that will be a comfort or not, but I believe it will be.

I’m trying to let the edges of those painful incidents blur, and focus instead on the 8 years of unconditional love we shared.  Mostly, I’m at peace, knowing that our wonderful boy rests, and never needs to be afraid again.

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

35 thoughts on “‘Twas a Sad St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Sad, so terribly sad, and heartwarming too beyond measure. The worst thing I’ve done is make that decision, and I pray I don’t have to again–but know that isn’t likely. Oh, I adore cats, and want to be a crazy cat lady (man)….

  2. Nancy, I am so, so sorry. I know how difficult putting down a pet can be. We have an old (not sure how old because she ‘found’ us when she was an adult about 12 years ago) cat that is showing signs of age and I know that the day we must do the same is going to be coming eventually, but until then we will cherish our time with her. Take care.

  3. Oh Nancy, I’m so very sorry about Toby. What a beautiful boy he was. I know just how your heart is aching right now and if I could be there, I would be sitting with you, wanting to hear all the stories about your Toby, crying with you, hugging you when you needed it. I’m sending virtual hugs and much love. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and hoping that all the joy that Toby brought to you will sustain you through the rough days ahead.

  4. Nancy I am so sorry. It is a terrible decision to have to make I know.They become a part of our family and it is just as hard to part with them. Take care.
    Lona

  5. Oh I am so very sorry to hear of this Nancy. You did the right thing to free him from the terror. Toby was indeed a handsome lad and I know that, once the pain and grief begin to fade, your memories of him will begin to give you joy once again.

  6. Oh Nancy, I am so very sorry you and Charlie had to make such an agonizing decision. The torment your sweet Toby was experiencing sounds terrible. Hugs to you. Gail

  7. aloha nancy,

    i’m so sorry to hear about this, what a wonderful tribute and photos of your beautiful cat and thank you for sharing this moment with us….what a wonderful pet!

  8. I know I’ve said it, I just need to say it again. This is so heart breaking, and I’m so sorry this had to be. Seeing that picture of Toby when he was first brought home — what a trip! I remember when that was. The pictures are beautiful. You and Charlie were so kind and you both so loved him. ((((Hugs))))

  9. oh, Nancy. Of course I’m in total meltdown mode here on your and Charlie and dear Toby’s behalf. It’s a pet owner’s worst nightmare, having to do something that tears our hearts to pieces yet is the only decision that can be make. I’m so very sorry to all of you for your loss of your beautiful boy.
    A friend of mine told me years ago that if we let animals into our lives, our hearts will inevitably get broken from time to time but that we’ll be better for the experience because we’ve had their joyous, unconditional, wonderful love in our lives. I’m grateful that you had Toby for as long as you did, and that you’re at peace, even though it is very sad, and it hurts immeasurably. Time does dull the pain to manageable levels and I’m sure you can plant something in his memory. And I will plant something for him in our memory garden too, when spring comes, I promise. (((((Nancy)))))

  10. How utterly wrenching to have to make the decision, I know. I’m so very sorry for your loss. He was magnificent.

  11. Wow, I’m so sorry to hear this. The whole thing must have been really scary – and really sad too to have to make this difficult decision.

  12. Aw Nance, I’m so very sorry to hear about Toby – what a shock! poor little guy; I think we all felt that we knew him.

    I got online with my computer here today, but can’t send emails, so please give my love to everyone – I’ll be home Tues – love you

  13. I an so sorry you have lost such a beloved companion. Having lost two adorable cats in the last few months, I know how heartbreaking this is. I still get misty thinking about my “babies.” If it is any consolation, I think you did the right thing – he evidently was suffering.

    Jan
    Always Growing

  14. Nancy, I am so sorry for your loss. He was such a beautiful cat; I remember the first time I saw him here how much he looked like our own Toby. It’s so difficult to lose a pet; they have a way of becoming such an important part of our lives. May your memories of the good times with Toby help to get you through this.

  15. Oh, I’m so very, very sorry, Nancy. You did the right thing. It must have been awful for him. We had a similar experience years ago – there was just something not right with our Sage. He died young. I think both his mind and body weren’t healthy. I’m thinking of you.

  16. What a sad time for you. The loss of ours pets is always hurtful, softened by the memories of good times with them. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your darling Toby, what a beautiful boy he was. He will live in your heart forever, and you can have peace of mind knowing that he is now in a safe place where he can be at peace.

  18. I’m so sorry to hear your sadness and loss. Toby was obviously tormented and you’ve done what any loving companion would do to try to help and protect. Decisions are difficult, but you’ve made loving decisions for all involved. Toby had wonderful years with you, and is doing well, I’m certain! Sending hugs your way!!

  19. Hugs to you, Nancy…Such a heart wrenching decision for you both to make. I felt your pain while reading this post. He was such a pretty cat…I know you’ll miss him terribly.
    Take care…Another hug from me…Balisha

  20. Oh Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear this. I cannot imagine how difficult this decision was to make. He was a gorgeous cat, no doubt about it. I’ve never had a cat display that kind of behavior either? It has me curious what it’s about. I could go on a huge rampage about cats running loose. It’s my biggest pet peeve. I never imagined your outcome tho. Very sad.

  21. I’m also someone who owned and loved a formerly stray Turkish Angora. What beautiful, loving, funny animals they are! My Niobe was fascinated with water, and would drink from my bathwater. No more bubble-baths for me!

    Remember all of the sweetness, and feel confident that you made the right decision.

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