It was only two months ago when we had to put down our 8-year-old Bengal cat, which was suffering from congenital heart failure. We thought it would be a smooth ride with the other cats going forward, but it is not to be.
Our oldest cat, which turned 19 years old this past December, has been showing his age the last couple of years. However, other than getting a bit slower and seeming to have a bit more difficulty navigating the stairs, seemed alright otherwise. He is still able to eat, and he can still go downstairs to the basement where the litter box is. However, since we have put down Ozzy a couple of months ago, he seems to be experiencing more pain and he has become much more vocal. We don't know if Ozzy no longer being in the house is causing him issues as it does not seem to affect the other cats any longer and they have gotten used to the fact that Ozzy is no longer with them as he once was. Sweetness, the 19-year-old cat, seems to be having more and more issues by the day. At times, it almost seems as if he is angry and will howl. This has been extremely difficult on us as well as the other cats and the dog as we are not able to get a good night's sleep anymore.
Personally, I think that Sweetness is having issues with dementia as he will cry for food, which he has been doing for the last couple of years, but he usually doesn't cry at night and he always stops after you feed him something. However, now, when you feed him, he starts crying again a couple of minutes later and seems to forget he just ate. We can tell by the way he walks, that he is obviously hurting, and we have little doubt that he also has arthritis in his hips. He also now has issues with his hearing and his vision and when you look at his eyes, you can see the cataracts. You must call his name quite loud before he is able to hear you or clap your hands. It is hard to watch him walk knowing that every step is likely hurting him. He used to come and sit on our laps whenever the opportunity presented itself, but now, he will hardly come and sit on us as I would guess it is too uncomfortable for him. He has also stopped grooming himself as that is probably too painful as well.
A Good Life
We have been hoping that he would go away peacefully in the home we have provided for him the last 17 years, but it doesn't seem that is going to be the case. It's hard seeing him go through what he is now and it's also at the point that we are reaching exhaustion due to lack of sleep. We must get up in the middle of the night, and often several times to feed him when he is crying. We bought a heating pad for cats and put it under his bed in our closet. He seems to like the heat and he has been sleeping in that bed since we put the heating pad under it just after Christmas. But the crying and the howling are now going on all day and night, except for when he goes down for a short nap. He no longer sleeps more than 30 minutes at a time before he starts howling once again. Sweetness was always such a quiet cat and to hear him get as loud as he now is saying something is wrong.
My wife made the decision on Saturday, that we must put him down and that we aren't going to let him suffer any further. This is not something we had anticipated after putting one of cats down just this past December. We knew then that Sweetness will probably be the next cat that goes given his age, but we thought we would have another year or two with him. This is not something we are looking forward to, but tonight at 7:15, we have an appointment with the vet and are preparing to let another one of our long-time friends go. Sweetness has been such a good cat over the years, and we are both going to miss him very much. We can be consoled by the fact that we both know he lived a very good life with us and that he was able to go anywhere in our home he wanted to go.
His first two years were spent in a basement where he wasn't allowed out due to other animals and children in the house. When we first got him, he was afraid of people and wouldn't stay in the same room as us. It took some time before he came around and got to trust us and he would eventually sleep in bed with us at night. When it came to the other cats, he was the boss and when the other cats got out of line, he wasn't afraid to put them back in their place. In his prime, he weighed around 10 pounds, certainly not a big cat by any standards, but he was quite strong for his size. I know some are thinking why is a male cat named Sweetness? It's because he looked very much like one of my wife's previous cats, a female named Sweetness. However, she renamed him when he came into our home and he responded quickly to the new name.
A New, But Sad Day
Tomorrow, the house will be much quieter and won't seem the same without Sweetness walking around it. However, continuing to let him suffer as he is, isn't fair to him either. We have tried medications to help ease his pain, but they seem to do little. With his limited vision and hearing, he is having more and more difficulties navigating the house. He far exceeded his life expectancy and I'm sure he was very happy with us.