Prince - 1/24/98 - 8/16/15

Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by HornHuskerDad, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    I had to have Prince put down on Sunday. At 17 years and 6 months, he had already lived well past the average lifespan of a domestic cat - and had done so with amazingly good health and very few problems. But he stopped eating a couple of weeks ago and seemed very listless. My vet recommended a visit to the Animal Emergency Hospital in Mansfield. They ran a battery of tests and found evidence of cancer, as well as a bunch of fluid in his chest cavity. After they drained it, he seemed to perk up pretty quickly - but it was short-lived. After draining him twice more in a week, it became apparent that further treatment was pointless - we would not be extending his life, just prolonging his suffering and misery. So Mrs. HHD and I went to the hospital to say goodbye to him and authorize the euthanasia. When the doc brought him out to see us, he was meowing like crazy and glad to see us - but it was also obvious that every breath was a major effort. After the first treatment, I had hoped that we would have a few more weeks or months so he could come home and enjoy his remaining time, but it was apparent that the humane thing to do was to end his misery. Knowing that it was the right thing to do did not prevent my crying like a baby as he died in my arms.

    I really miss my buddy. I got him when he was weaned as a kitten, and had him for over 17 years (nearly 1/4 of my life). He was a very playful kitten - I remember bringing my putter, putting cup, and a couple of golf balls into the family room to practice putting. It was a big game to Prince to see if he could intercept a putt before it reached the cup - most of the time he succeeded. He really liked batting and chasing plastic balls across the floor - and it was a riot to watch him.

    Before my knees cratered, I used to get up and jog at 5:00 - to beat the heat and traffic before going to work. Prince was a smart cat and broke the code pretty quickly - "5:00, Master gets up to run, goes downstairs, and I get breakfast." The first day of my retirement, I was awakened at 5:00 by his kneading on my chest - "Good morning, Master, it's 5:00 - where's my breakfast?" I tried to retrain him, but he wasn't buying it, so I finally decided I could get up when he was hungry, fill the food dish, and go back to bed.

    Mrs. HHD and I get tilapia and salmon filets from the Commissary every few weeks. He was really happy when he could smell the fish coming out of the oven - he knew he could sit there patiently and wait for me to give him a handout (which I always did). He loved to eat the fish.

    He wasn't a real lap kitty, but he did like to curl up next to me in front of the TV and have me scratch his ears. If I tried to quit before he was ready, he would simply look up at me and stare - I got the message and scratched some more.

    I could go on with a bunch more insights into Prince, but it's getting hard to see the computer screen through the tears. I'll leave his picture up as my avatar. I know many of you have had to put beloved pets down, so I'm not alone - but I just had to share my thoughts about my friend Prince.
     
  2. Dionysus

    Dionysus peace & love y’all Moderator

    HHD, so sorry for your loss. These pets really become "family" so quickly. There's no other way to put it. We now have two dogs that we adore and I hope their time is a long way off.
    I had a little grey cat named Vern when I was at UT (remember those goofy "Hey Vern" commercials--that's where we got the name). I won't go into the details but I had to put him down. The nice couple who was renting me a garage apartment in Travis Heights at the time drove Vern and me to the vet. I sobbed the whole time and grieved for the little guy.
     
  3. Horn6721

    Horn6721 10,000+ Posts

    There really aren't words that will help. He was one lucky kitty but it is clear he brought you joy.
    What a handsome cat .Do you have any other pictures?
    Not now maybe but later you will be able to remember all the good times and smile.
     
  4. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    Thanks for the words of encouragement and support - I know many of you have had to walk the same road.

    BTW, our other cat, Angel, was very befuddled when I took Prince to the hospital. Don't ask me how they do it, but cats seem to sense the pecking order, and Angel always deferred to Prince as the senior cat. When it was feeding time, I would put down two food dishes, and Angel would sit quietly until Prince started eating first. She was very confused, and on Sunday evening, after we returned from having Prince put down, I finally figured it out - the "Prince" food dish was still on the floor, and she was waiting for him. So I have taken the Prince dish away, and she is starting to figure it out.
     
  5. Hollandtx

    Hollandtx 100+ Posts

    I'm so sorry you lost your Prince. I have tears in my eyes as I read your beautiful eulogy.
    Every animal that enters our lives becomes part of the family, but even within those animals, there seems to be one or two, if you are lucky, that is almost a soul-animal. One that is just extra special for some reason.

    It sounds like Prince may have been that type of cat. He, and you were a lucky pair.
    When I had to put my soul-dog, Jake, to sleep, I did a lot of research regarding animals and heaven. I have no idea if you believe in a heaven, but if you do, from what I read, you will meet Prince again.
    If you don't, y'all had a wonderful run.
    rest in peace, Prince.
     
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  6. Horn6721

    Horn6721 10,000+ Posts

    Not to sound cold but Angel may actually be celebrating that she is now THE cat.
    We had two cute little mutts, one of whom was clearly the alpha and the other who was very beta, allowing the alpha to control it all.
    The alpha died at 17 and we worried that the beta who was 16 would pine away without her leader.
    Huh, the beta took on a new persona whirling and jumping and really having fun. Lived 2 more very happy years loving being the only and very important dog.
    I swear sometimes she'd look at me and ask me what took so long to get rid of that other dog.:smokin:
     
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  7. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    So far, Angel is behaving normally. With the other food dish gone, I think she has figured out that Prince isn't coming back any more. She has been a pretty quiet cat since she graduated from her kittenhood, and so far she remains quiet. When we were in the family room watching TV, Prince would sit on my left side and Angel would sit on my right, between Karen and me. So far no change - but she was already used to getting her share of attention from both of us.

    I suppose after a while we'll consider getting another kitten. It will be interesting to see how she assumes the role of Senior Cat when another cat is in the house!
     
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  8. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    Update 8/22 - I received a nice sympathy card in today's mail from the Animal Emergency Hospital in Mansfield, expressing their sympathy at my loss of Prince. All the staff signed the card. On the backside of the card was a little piece called "The Rainbow Bridge." I remember having seen this treatise many years ago, but it's been a while. WARNING: If you have had to put a beloved pet down and are still grieving, have a hanky handy before you continue reading.

    "Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hand again caresses the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together..."
     
  9. VulcanHorn

    VulcanHorn 25+ Posts

    Thanks for the warning. That really hit home.

    I had to put my dog down last summer when he was almost 15. That was one of the hardest things I ever did. Told the vet I couldn't be there when they did it. But then realized all those times he was with me while I was BBQing in the backyard or walking around the neighborhood trails in the evening, he was my little buddy. I couldn't just abandon him then. So I told the vet I changed my mind. I was there all the way to the end. Then everyone left the room while I sobbed like a baby.

    So glad I changed my mind. I would have regretted not being there. Amazing how attached we can get to our pets, isn't it?
     
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  10. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    Vulcan, I know exactly how you felt. I remembered all the days I came home from a frustrating day at the office and needed some compassion. My lovely wife is always understanding, but it was also comforting to sit down in front of the TV and have Prince curl up next to me and purr with contentment. I remembered the times I returned from a business trip to find Prince waiting for me, not wanting to let me out of his sight for fear I would leave again. I remembered how soothing it was to sit there with him, scratch his ears, and listen to him purr. When all those things came to mind, I couldn't let him face the end without my being there for him. So as the vet was making the injection, I was standing next to Prince, scratching his ears for him one last time - he was always there for me, and I knew I had to be there for him. Certainly glad that I did.
     
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  11. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 2,500+ Posts

    UPDATE 1 July 2016: After losing Prince, I was reluctant to get another kitten for a long time. Our other cat, Angel, had been in a two-cat household since she was a kitten - she was used to having a playmate and companion. Without Prince around, she turned into a total couch potato. After Karen and i discussed it several times, we finally agreed to get a new kitten.

    I went online and found a rescue agency here in Arlington. The lady running it had two newly-weaned kittens available for adoption - both males, both yellow with patches of white. The one my wife chose was named "Jordan" - his brother's name is "Spieth!" We brought Jordan home and he is a riot. It's been so long since Angel was a kitten that we had forgotten just how "busy" kittens can be. Jordan has only two positions - "on" and "off." If he's not asleep, he's scampering around the house full tilt.

    Jordan made an interesting discovery this week - "Hey! I have a tail! It follows me everywhere I go, and I can play with it anytime I want to." Then he made another discovery shortly thereafter - "Hey! The big kitty has a tail, too! I think I'll play with her tail for a while." The big kitty was not amused.

    Angel is beginning to accept her new companion slowly. It'll take some time, but as Jordan grows and matures, I think they'll make great companions for each other.

    I still miss Prince - he was one in a million, a very special pet. But I'm glad we made the decision to move on. I'll post a picture of Jordan soon.
     
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