Your Pet Loss Diaries

'Dina & Taz', Canada

About Taz

Our baby's name is Taz, a black tuxedoed Burmese with a white bowtie.

When did you lose Taz?

12 days ago, April 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm.

At which stage of pet loss grief do you feel you are currently at?

I am in depression. I'm not sure if I've actually gone thru the other ones. I'm just sad and it's difficult to imagine my life without Taz. Especially the last few weeks, my every minute of every day and night have been all about trying to make him better and comfortable, because we really didn't know how long we would have him or how seriously ill he was. So, I guess there was some denial then, but now, I'm just so profoundly sad.

Dina and Taz's Story so far

Taz was the best cat ever. He slept with us every single night. He knew when it was time for bed and if we weren't in the bedroom already, he would stand in the hallway and patiently wait for us to follow.

He would get very upset if we shut the bathroom door and he wasn't allowed to come in. Especially when Craig would go in to take a shower, he would have a fit if he wasn't in there with him. We have our own business, so I work out of the home, and he was my office-mate. He would sit and sleep or clean himself and watch me work all day long.

He curled up next to me every single night, to start. Then he would end up in between us. As long as he was with "his people", he was happy. His favourite meal was salmon. Our favourite meal is sushi. So, when he would smell the sushi, he would assume the position, right between us, again waiting patiently for his salmon pieces. If we were slow to get it to him, all of a sudden one of us would feel his little paw calmly settle on one of our legs, as if to say, "I'm here" in the sweetest wee voice.

For many years, I've been sick quite a bit, and there was never a day when I was in bed in pain or sad or whatever, that Taz wasn't right there next to me, telling me how much he loved me and wished I felt better. He had a way of talking or trilling whenever he jumped up on the bed or any furniture, just to let you know he was there. Or answering you when you talked with him. I swear, he understood what we were saying to him.

He had complete trust in us. He's the only cat I've ever seen who actually let you slam him down on the bed, on his back, just so you could talk and laugh with him and rub his tummy. He was like a little squeaky toy.. when you picked him up quickly over and over again, each time he would trill. No matter how bad our day might be with work, he ALWAYS made us laugh and put a smile on our face.

One of his favourite things to do was roll around like a kitten in Craig's dirty socks. I'm very thankful that we have a video of this funny behaviour, I know that one day I'll be able to look at it and smile without crying.

He met us at the door every single night or whenever we went out. It was when he was slower to get to the door or didn't get there at all, that I started to become a little concerned. And he loved to burrow under the blankets on the bed and when you would touch the blanket he was under, he would trill. But when he stopped talking when you touched the blanket, again I became concerned. Craig didn't want me worrying so much, but it's in my nature.

Taz was always a slender and tiny "black panther", but suddenly he was smaller than he'd ever been and we knew something wasn't right. I thought that maybe he had a tapeworm or something, because he was eating like normal, but losing weight very rapidly.

So we took him to the dr, not suspecting anything major. When we got there and the dr examined him, it was like our whole world slammed on the brakes. She said his kidney was very hard and the word cancer was uttered. That was it. She started telling us our options and "whether we wanted his ashes".. it was like someone ripped my heart out of my chest. They took blood and urine and hydrated him with sub q fluids and gave us pain meds for him and told us to keep him comfortable, but the prognosis probably wouldn't be good.

Craig and I were absolutely devestated. We were both crying all the way home, all thru the evening, and all night. No, we didn't sleep. How could we? We thought this would be the last night we would have with our friend. Craig was sitting on the side of the bed sobbing and saying "I don't wanna take him in tomorrow", we weren't ready... but would we ever be? It's just that, he was fine a week ago. He still did a ballerina stance to get treats. How could he go from our happy, playful, trilling kitty to this, seeminly over night?

But he was sick that night and we were starting to feel guilty for wanting to medicate and comfort him, for our benefit? We didn't know. There's a fine line between doing what's best for him and what's best for us. We decided that night that, if in fact he did have a cancer and not just an infection that could be treated with meds, we wouldn't put him thru surgeries, chemo (yes, we learned they have chemo for animals) we didn't want him to suffer thru any of that.

It's different for animals, as I learned, from humans. With humans, the treatments we go thru is meant to cure us. And if you've ever seen someone go thru this, you know that the treatments make you so very sick and miserable. But with animals, the chemo is meant, not to cure, but to prolong the poor thing's life. Having him here is all I want but is that what he wants? To be in pain and suffer? He's been a long time friend and we wouldn't want our friend to suffer. So we decided right then and there: if the tests came back as the dr suspected, we would make him as comfortable as we could, give him anything he wanted, and he would let us know when it was time.

The next 3 weeks were torture. Back and forth from the dr. We did learn how to give Taz the subq fluid needle, but he became weaker and weaker. One of the final straws, was when he couldn't jump up on the bed to lay on his heating pad and he couldn't jump down to use his litter box. He was eating from my fingers only, because it seemed to hurt him to bend to eat. He couldn't lay down and get into his little donut shape anymore because of the tumor. He stopped trilling when you walked into the room and he barely lifted his head.

We knew we were taking him in the next night, so we had sushi that night. He couldn't come out to enjoy it, so we brought it in for him. He ate a few tiny pieces of salmon, but never got up. We came into the bedroom instead of watching tv in the living room, because we didn't want him to be alone and we wanted to spend as much time with him as we possibly could.

I patted next to me, just in case he had a bit of energy, and he looked at me as if to say, "Really?". So I took my pillow and turned around in the bed and went to him. I layed next to him and petted and stroked him and told him how much I loved him and how he wouldn't be in pain anymore. He was purring, very lightly, because that's what he could do at this point. That's when the thoughts of post poning the appt, he's still ok, he could be here longer.... but I knew, that was just selfishness on my part, and I cried and just held his paw and tried not to fall asleep because I was missing out on precious time with my baby Taz.

When it was time for us to take him the next day, I couldn't bare to put him in the carrier, because it felt so impersonal and I couldn't imagine bringing it home empty. So we wrapped him in Craig's robe and I carried him in my arms as Craig drove us to, it felt like, the executioner. They took us right into a room in the back of the clinic. One we'd never been in before. We spent a few minutes talking to him and telling him he would be dreaming of chasing rabbits and barking at the birds (yes, he used to bark at the birds thru the window) Then they came in to insert the IV and they shaved his little paw. He didn't like the needle at all, and that crushed us, and we felt so responsible for his pain.

When Craig and I talked later about this moment, we were both thining the same thing at the same time: let's not do this today, let's take him home and spend a few more days with him. But we knew better. Then Craig bent down and picked up the little piece of fur they had shaved off and put it in his pocket. When the dr administered the anesthetic, I held him and, thru my tears, I told him to just relax and I love him and he would feel better soon and I just kept repeating this over and over until the dr said his heart had stopped.

And then I cried and cried and held him until Craig put his hand on my shoulder to try and pull me back to reality. When we were leaving the room, we both looked back at his quiet and limp figure and knew we would never see or hear him again. The only comforting thought was that we knew he wasn't in pain anymore and we did the most unselfish thing we could for our loyal, trusting, loving friend. We both cried all the way home and held each other's hands. The only thing Craig said was, "I've cried more for Taz than I did for my own father."

That was 12 days ago and the pain that I feel for his loss is still just as cutting and painful. I still look for him to come around the corner, or to jump up on the bed, to rub up against my leg, or to greet us at the door. I opened up a can of tuna today and cried so hard because he always drank the tuna water. I wake up in the night looking for him and thinking I see his little donut shape curled up, reach out to pet him, and it's nothing. I wake up in the morning expecting him to come up purring next to me to start the day.

We have 2 other cats, but they don't talk the way Taz did, so it's extremely quiet in the house. When I hear them purr or meow, I feel a sense of resentment because they're here and Taz is not. I know it's not their fault. And there were certain "Taz-isms" that we don't say anymore... they were his and his alone. It just doesn't feel right saying them to the other cats. I sit and stare into space, somehow hoping that it's all a nightmare and that I'll wake up and Taz will be here once again.

Your Pet Loss Diaries - 'Dina & Taz'

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