Monday, November 21, 2011

My Tribute to Halo Cat

Our last picture together

Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. The past few days have been incredibly stressful. We had to put our beloved 23 year old cat Halo to sleep on Saturday night. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Our family misses her dearly. I've had her since I was 8 and she has been one of the only constants I've ever known. As an only child, I have always kind of considered her a little feline sister because she's always been there. I used to ride my bike through the trailer park we lived in and I'd ride slow and then wait for her to catch up because she'd run and follow me. We climbed trees together. We explored the woods behind our house together. She'd catch shrews and mice and leave then on the deck when she was still an indoor/outdoor kitty. She was always there for me. Her original nickname was "Spare Kitty" because we always had two cats, except Spare Kitty kept outliving our other cats, then she became the only cat. When I adopted Artoo she got used to having not just a brother but a DOG brother (eeewww! ;o). He worshipped her. She would be asleep on the couch and he'd come over and glance at her and then glance at me and then glance back to her. If he could very sneakily lick her while she was asleep he was SO happy. She put up with his excited pug antics very well.

She moved with me between eight different houses and apartments throughout our life together.

As she got older she became deaf and started having health problems. First the hypothyroid and the twice-daily medication. She was officially a senior kitty. Then came the twice yearly exams. Our very well loved vet clinic was always so happy to see her and always exclaimed how great it was she was still rocking feline old age. Last year around this time we had to have almost all of her teeth extracted, a very painful experience for her and expensive experience for us. Thanks to several donations from fellow bloggers and friends we were able to pay for it. I was a wreck with stress from money, but she was our cat child and we had put it off as long as we could, so it had to be done then when it happened. She came through it like a champ.

Later she dabbled in diabetes and twice-daily insulin shots. We had to watch her like a hawk to make sure she was eating so that we could give her the injections. When we got word from the vet that she was no longer diabetic we were SO thankful!!! So things were "normal" in our house after that for awhile. We had our little routines. Every morning I would get up and find her on the back of the couch, waiting for me to open the door. I would get her food, her pills, and give her some pets before I used the bathroom or made my coffee or did any of my morning stuff. She was #1.

Jonathan was also an excellent cat dad. I am so thankful that he took such good care of the pets while I was in Ketchikan for six months. The pets were well-loved and happy when I got back.

However, in the past month Halo's health seemed to be going downhill. She was eating even less than she had been. We would only put one tablespoon of food (if that) in her bowl at a time and wouldn't give her more unless she ate the one bite. Soon she started shunning her favorite foods. No salmon, tuna, chicken, or random things she begged for. She soon weighed only 5 pounds. We tried all sorts of canned cat food, baby food, tuna juice, and whatever we could think of that she might want to eat. She wanted none of it.

Saturday afternoon I came home from making beeswax candles with a friend and I could tell something was not right. Something seemed to be wrong with her back legs and she didn't seem to be breathing right. She would only lie in uncomfortable-looking positions that she never laid in before. I sat on the floor with her while she was in Artoo's pillow bed in front of the heater and when Jonathan came back in from taking Artoo outside I told him, crying, that I thought something was wrong with her and that she might be dying. I told him I thought it was going to be the last time we would be spending with her.

He immediately sat down and started petting her. I described what I was seeing. I texted my friend Krissy, who is also one of Halo's vets, who immediately called me to give me some guidance. She said it sounded like it might be Halo's time, confirming what Jonathan and I were already thinking. She told us of a service who would send a vet to the house to send Halo on her way, as it sounded like she could be going through respiratory distress from her heart arrhythmia. Telling Jonathan what Krissy had said was one of the hardest things. I know he loved Halo. Artoo loved Halo. She was a very special kitty and it was her time to go. We sat with her on the couch and petted her and gave her love while we waited for the doctor to show up. We talked to her, even though she couldn't hear us. We were calm, but not calm at the same time. The feeling that someone I loved who has been with me almost my whole life was soon dying was a horrible, horrible thing. I knew having the doctor help her along was the right decision, but it was such a hard thing to do, call someone to come kill your loved one.

The doctor was SO nice, although I don't remember her name at all. She told us what would happen and then we said our final good-byes. The whole thing happened so quickly. Just like that she was gone, with me holding her paw, and Jonathan and I stroking her soft little head. After she had gone we sat with her for awhile and said good-bye, then the doctor wrapped a nice blanket around her and took her away. I will never forget the sight of my beloved, most cherished, little kitty being wrapped up in the blanket. I stared at her little face until it was covered and the vet left.

It has been a very somber time since then. Artoo seems to know something is not right and seems worried. He is now getting ALL of the pet attention. He was such a good doggie brother to Halo and I would like to think he misses her in some way.

Jonathan and I decided to have Halo cremated and at Christmas time when we go down to visit his parents we are going to spread her ashes and Jeff's ashes (her cat brother who died a couple years ago) at their house in the country. It's very beautiful there and I think it will be a nice thing.

I know it will eventually be easier that she's not here, but it is still so new. We no longer have to keep the couch covered in towels because of possible kitty puking or food bits or litter sprinkles. I can now lay on the couch and not have to move her food dishes out of the way. (We had to keep them on the couch since she spent the most time there and so Artoo wouldn't nibble on it.) I now get up in the morning and don't have to do any medication for her. I can sit on the couch and eat and not have a little face hover next to my plate. I don't have to fight over my lap with anyone now. We now don't have to worry about expensive twice-yearly vet exams. We don't have to constantly worry that she is not eating. I would trade all of this to have her back, but I know she is in a good place, wherever it is. She was very, very special to me and I will always miss her.


  1. Halo was as lucky to have you guys, as you were to have her. She'll be missed, but not ever forgotten.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words through all of this. They really help! It is getting easier, although today I need to clean up her food dish and litter box. UGH. Sad face. :o(

  3. I am so sorry for your loss of such an amazing family member. I wasn't aware of the home-service option - that's so much kinder on everyone.

  4. I'm really sorry about your loss. It's amazing that she lived to 23. It is obvious that she had to be well taken care of and loved.