5/1/2004 to 3/17/2016
We lost our beloved Harold yesterday. Eight years ago, Harree was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, discovered when his potassium fell too low and he lost muscle strength. He wasn’t expected to survive the experience. The cause of the disease is unknown, though the diagnosing veterinarian suspected it was a condition he had had since birth which only began manifesting when he had fully grown. It was a challenging time, and Harree and I grew very close during the experience. Despite his diagnosis, he recovered. For seven years, his CKD was managed with a specialized diet and extra love and care (and annual blood work at the vet). Kidneys aside, he was a very healthy cat. He was seldom ill, had great teeth, and was always given a very good bill of health at his checkups. I think his physical strength and constitution played a huge role in his fight against CKD. Last May, before Jimmy moved to Virginia, Harree went into his second kidney crisis. He was given a three month life expectancy. As usual, he blew that expectation out of the water. Since May, his health declined steadily. He was put medications, increasing amounts of home administered subcutaneous fluids, and we visited the vet often. During the last couple of months, my life centered around my Harold. His decreased appetite meant we fed him 10 to 12 times a day with lots of different kinds of food. He received fluids twice a day. And I made sure to take him outside whenever I could. We saw some improvement last week when we finally got ride of the mouth sores he had been struggling with, but a couple of days ago he took a dramatic downturn. The vet said there was nothing left we could do. He died quickly while in my lap.
The house, our hospice center, is covered in things that remind me of him. The upcoming week will be heartbreaking as I take down the air mattress (up until last night, I hadn’t slept in my own bed for weeks), pack up the extra litter boxes, remove his medications from the kitchen cabinet, clean out the several cans of half-eaten cat food from the fridge, retire his dry food bowl, dispose of the needles, donate the extra fluids, etc…Everything in the house reminds me of my boy. In a couple weeks, his ashes will be returned to us. We opted for the box that has a spot for a picture (thanks to our good friend Mike for so many fabulous pictures to choose from).
Harree loved deli turkey, cantaloupe and spinach. He enjoyed sunshine, fresh air and feathered toys. He adored sitting on his father’s lap during evening TV time.
Harree was loyal and protective. He threatened any cat who hissed at me (such as when trying to medicate Lefty). He defended Lefty and Dixee from Fred’s terrorizing. He snuggled with poor old Lefty often to keep him safe.
Harree was cooperative, well-behaved and trusting. Harree seldom got into trouble. He didn’t pick on the weaker cats (for a long time he was the strongest in the house). He always used the litterbox (even the day before his passing!). He let us administer fluids, medications, check his mouth, anything…never lifting a paw to retaliate.
Harree had a sense of humor, or at least liked to entertain. One time, I was laughing at him (for some reason I cannot recall), and he smacked me on the cheek with his paw (nails retracted, so no harm caused or intended). This made me laugh even more…and then he did it AGAIN. I was in hysterics after that.
Harree was charismatic. Everyone liked Harold. The staff at the vet all adored him. He was friendly, warm and marvelously handsome.
Harree was affectionate. He cleaned my face, gave me kisses, and nuzzled me with his head all the time. Unlike some other cats, when he sat in front of me while I was trying to do something (usually playing/working on my laptop), he wasn’t sitting there demanding pets and affection…he was *giving* affection…kiss and cuddles…no expectation or demand in his demeanor, only love.
He was just so, so good. I can’t express properly what he meant to me, or just how much I am going to miss him.