Average Lifespan of a Ragdoll Cat

This is a common question among Ragdoll owners and people looking to get their own Raggie. Knowing how long your cat will live is essential information, even if this is an approximation. So, how long does a Ragdoll cat live?

Rags on Patio 2008 - Average Lifespan of a Ragdoll Cat
Average Lifespan of a Ragdoll Cat

The lifespan of a Ragdoll Cat – The average lifespan of a Ragdoll cat is 9-15 years. They can certainly live longer. Some readers have had Ragdolls live as long as 26 years.
When my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, was around 14 years old, I remember Googling how long a Ragdoll cat lived. I found out that the average lifespan of a Ragdoll is 9-15 years. But, of course, with Rags being 14, I wasn’t crazy about reading that!
Of course, Rags died at 19.5 years old, so he helped that average grow a little bit. So how do they come up with those averages anyway?
Something to remember about averages is that they are taken from a large crop of numbers. In other words, you have cats that die before 9 years of age and cats that die when they are older than 15 years old.

How Long Does a Ragdoll Cat Live?

In short, the average lifespan of a Ragdoll cat is 9-15 years, but averages are just that – averages. They can certainly live longer. My Rags passed at 19.5 years old.  My parents’ Caymus passed at 16 years old and their Murphy at 16.5. And some readers have had Ragdolls live as long as 26 years.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus smelling outside air in basement doorway 9-26-20 IMG_6268
Caymus

Regardless, I would always estimate around 15 years old if you consider adopting a kitten. That kitty will be with you for a long time, and if you don’t see stability in your life, then it might not be the right time to adopt a cat.

Of course, you can never predict the future, so you might think your life will be stable, and something can happen that alters everything. There’s no exact to anything in life. Still, it is essential to consider a kitty’s life expectancy when adopting one.

No one wants to think about their kitty passing on, but it is a part of life and a sad part that every responsible pet owner must face.

As your cat ages, you may be considering what you will do when they pass – how will you handle it? How will you commemorate their life? You might want to check out different pet burial options if you don’t already have something in mind – that way it might be easier to deal with when the time comes.

Research now could save you from making a spontaneous decision later in a moment of grief.

Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat with a Blaze Charlie meowing profile looking up IMG_9848
The average lifespan of a Ragdoll cat is 9-15 years

Why is it Important to Know the Lifespan of Your Cat?

Knowing how long your cat is expected to live is crucial information for pet owners and people looking to become pet parents. Here are the main reasons why:

  • You must know that you can take care of your domestic cat for its entire life. Ask yourself if you can support your cat emotionally and financially now and in 10 or 15 years.
  • Knowing your cat’s lifespan can help you map out crucial developmental moments in its such as its time as a kitten, passing into adulthood, and reaching seniority. Kittens, adults, and geriatric cats require extra care and different lifestyles.
  • You should also know how long your cat is expected to live for emotional reasons. Losing your cat will be an excruciating experience, so you should be prepared to know when it might happen.

Important Numbers about a Cat’s Age

Yes, the average lifespan of a Ragdoll cat is 9-15 years, but there’s more to think about than just those numbers.
It’s essential to remember that the age of 10 is a significant hump in a cat’s life and that most Ragdolls do get past it and live longer. Most of them reach the age of 15. But some live well past that, like my Rags, who made it all the way to 19.5.

Unfortunately, my parents’ Ragdoll cat Caymus passed at 16.
You’ll be happy to know that Ragdoll cats have even made it to 25. That is nothing short of impressive, but there are a lot of factors that influence the longevity of a cat’s life. Let’s go through the most important ones because this should give you a better idea of a Ragdoll cat’s lifespan.

Blue Mitted Ragdoll Cat Ash on bed lying on bed IMG_9859
The lifespan average for the Ragdoll breed is 9-15. But it would be best if you narrowed that down to the individual, your Ragdoll cat.

Factors that Influence Longevity in Ragdoll Cats

When you hear a lifespan of up to 15 years, and even more, this means how long your cat could live if all goes well. But, unfortunately, plenty of things can leave a significant mark on a cat’s body and either expand its life or shorten it.

The good news is that you can actually control many of these. So as long as you take proper care of your cat, which you indeed have every intention of, you can give it an excellent chance at a long life. Here are the main factors you should be aware of:

Genetics

The lifespan average for the Ragdoll breed maybe 9-15, but you need to narrow that down to the individual, your Ragdoll cat. You might get more accurate information than the breed average can provide by asking how long your cat’s parents have lived. Look into the lifespan of its grandparents as well. This should offer more precise information.

However, don’t forget to ask about the conditions of the parents’ and grandparents’ deaths. It’s essential to get a bit of medical history because that could point you to the genetic diseases that they might have passed on to your cat. By being aware of these, you can inform your veterinarian and work more thoroughly on preventing them.

Blue Lynx Mitted Ragdoll cat Trigg sitting IMG_1981
It’s important to get a bit of medical history because that could point you to the genetic diseases that they might have passed on to your cat.

Gender

It is difficult to pinpoint whether tomcats or female cats (mollies) live longer because each gender is exposed to certain factors that might influence their lifespan. For example, male cats are territorial, and when they are in heat, they often fight other males to get to the females.

This can be a significant risk factor if your male cat lives outdoors and has the chance to leave home in pursuit of females and, naturally, if the male cat has not been neutered.

However, most Ragdoll cats that come from catteries are already altered (neutered or spayed) when they get to their families. So running off after cats is an out-of-the-ordinary situation.

On the other hand, female cats are exposed to some critical risk factors. Even if spayed, there is still some risk that they might develop breast cancer. While spaying minimizes the risk, it cannot remove it altogether.

On regular checkups, the veterinarian will always examine the cat’s breasts because prevention is the best policy when dealing with this issue. As for female cats that are not neutered, that will produce kittens, they are exposed to the risks brought on by complications when giving birth.

Seal mitted Ragdoll cat Caymus and Murphy IMG_5002
Acute diseases have a rapid onset and development. This can affect the lifespan of a cat.

Acute diseases

Acute diseases have a rapid onset and development. Yet, most of the time, they appear out of nowhere, and acting fast is crucial.

To make sure you can do that, you should do some research into emergency veterinary care options. If the time ever comes for you to need urgent care for your cat, it’s best to know where to turn to. Talk to your veterinarian about this next time to have it all cleared out.

Aside from that, you must be able to recognize the symptoms that your cat might be displaying. Some are pretty subtle – life apathy, loss of appetite, not drinking enough water, not peeing enough, etc. So you always need to pay attention to your cat. As for the prevention of acute diseases, it all goes into general preventative measures.

Chronic diseases

Due to genetic factors, Ragdoll cats are prone to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. But just because they are prone to it as a breed does not mean they are sure to get it.

However, you can use this information to prevent heart disease in your cat. In fact, when it comes to chronic disease, that is the very best you can do – work on prevention. But, first, take your cat to the vet at least two times a year for checkups.

This ensures that any disease your cat might suffer from is caught in the early stages, not the advanced ones. In some chronic diseases, the symptoms are challenging to notice, if any. For example, it’s tough to spot if a cat has chronic kidney disease, but it would come up in a regular blood work checkup.

Seal Mitted with a Blaze Ragdoll Cat Murphy IMG_6193
Infectious diseases are pretty violent and difficult to treat. The good news is that vaccination covers a great deal of the very dangerous ones.

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are pretty violent and difficult to treat. The good news is that vaccination covers a great deal of the very dangerous ones.

This starts when your cat is just a kitten, and when it gets the vaccines, it needs to build a strong immunity to infectious diseases. But this has to be maintained throughout life, so make sure you attend vaccination appointments with your vet! It can help your cat live a while longer. Please note that both outdoor and indoor cats have to be vaccinated.

Collage of ragdoll cats

Trauma

In most cases, you can’t foresee trauma, and when it comes, it can have dire consequences. After it happens, nothing is left to do except call that emergency number and take your cat to the hospital. But while you can’t prevent everything, there are some serious situations that you can make sure your cat is never in.

For instance, you can install a catio for your balcony and safety for your windows to ensure your house is catproof. Another thing you can do is supervise your cat when it is outside if that is the case.

Flea and parasite control

Fleas and macroparasites are a considerable threat to your cat, even if it lives indoors. However, it is one that you can eliminate with parasitic control.
Your vet can offer the best medication options for your cat. This can help prevent diseases that drastically reduce your cat’s life expectancy.

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food - Mackerel and Lamb Ragdoll Cat Trigg Eating 4
Nutrition plays a vital role in your cat’s development and quality of life.

Nutrition

This is an immensely important role in your cat’s development and quality of life. Providing your cat with a balanced diet and high-quality food will help its body stay healthy. Regardless of your preference for cat food, aim for products that do not use additives, artificial taste enhancers, and other chemicals.

The best diet for a cat is a raw food diet – this mirrors the food they would eat in the wild and ensures you aren’t feeding your cat any ‘fillers’ like grains. Unfortunately, switching to a raw food diet from a wet or dry food diet can take some time and persistence. Still, the benefits, including potentially extending your cat’s lifespan, are worth it.

It is also imperative that your cat has a diet that is appropriate for its age. Young cats need a different diet than adult cats and an entirely different one than senior cats. Another element to keep in mind is whether your cat is neutered. If your cat has been neutered, then it must receive a diet for neutered cats for the rest of its life to avoid obesity.

Aside from the diet, there are some nutritional supplements that you can give your cats, such as Omega-3 or vitamins. However, it is best to consult your veterinarian before your start giving your cat supplements, especially when it comes to vitamins.

Seal mitted Ragdoll cat Caymus cleaning himself bathing IMG_5922
Where and how the cat lives will greatly influence its lifespan.

Lifestyle

Where and how the cat lives will significantly influence its lifespan. Here are a few things that might have an essential role in the cat’s lifestyle:

Indoor or outdoor

Whether a cat lives indoors, in an apartment or a house, or if it lives outdoors will undoubtedly influence how long it will live. Cats that live only outdoors get much more exercise and breathe fresh air all day, which is very healthy and can make them live longer.

On the other hand, they are also exposed to meteorological factors such as rain, snow, and extreme cold. This can have a negative influence on their health in the long run. They are also exposed to trauma if they only live outside.

As for indoor cats, they are sheltered from cold and dangers, but they are at risk of living a sedentary life, which is abnormal for cats and can shorten their lifespan.

However, you can quickly correct this by playing with your cat. Overall, living indoors is better for your cat. An even better option for an indoor cat is being taken outside in the garden. Or, you can take your cat to the park (with the proper protection of course) and have it under supervision at all times.

What Is a Female Cat Called Addie Seal Bicolor Ragdoll Cat IMG_0959
If your cat is stressed in its day-to-day life, this can negatively influence its health and lifespan

Stress

If your cat is stressed in its day-to-day life, this can negatively influence its health and lifespan. Cats can be stressed by other cats, family members, noises, inability to sleep, dogs or other animals that can scare them, and many other things. The only thing you can do is observe your cat and make sure that it is calm and relaxed. If not, try to identify the stress factors and work on removing them.

Activity

A sedentary lifestyle will actively shorten a cat’s life because it predisposes it to certain chronic diseases and diminishes its ability to fight disease. This is why playing daily with your cat is very important. Choose cat toys that exercise their body and mind, and your cat will be healthier.

Cats are independent animals, of course, but they still need a great deal of affection.

Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat with a Blaze Charlie IMG_9847
Cats are independent animals, of course, but they still need a great deal of affection.

Affection and involvement

Cats are independent animals, of course, but they still need a great deal of affection. If their owners are affectionate with them, cats are more engaged and happier, which also helps them live longer. A state of happiness means a cascade of “positive” hormones in the body, which definitely provide a longer life to the cat. So, spend time with your cat daily, and it will live longer!

Do you have a Ragdoll cat? Or have you owned one that has passed? How old was your Ragdoll kitty when they passed?

How old is your cat now? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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177 Comments

  1. Gale Marshall says:

    I could not remember how old my seal point mitted Ragdoll Diva was and was surprised to see she will be 15 in September.

    She has lost some teeth, but otherwise looks the same as she was when younger. She has a bit of arthritis according to the vet, so she uses the litter box now.

    Her weight has never changed. She eats well, drinks well and loves my parrots. All my dogs have passed, but my Diva is still going strong. She misses the dogs, but she has the birds.

    Here’s to many more years.

  2. We have a 10 year old Ragdoll, Oliver. Aside from urinary crystals that he’s had his entire life (and is on prescription formula food for), he’s healthy. He’s so attached to me, and loves being with us (he’s strictly indoor, so he spends plenty of time with us – I’m home pretty much 24/7). I hope we have him for a long time, but whatever time we have with him is worth it. Oliver is an amazing cat!
    We’ll never be without a ragdoll in our lives. We always have 2 cats, and we usually rescue one, we’ve already spoke. With our breeder about adopting 2 next time… we just love raggy’s SO much!

    Thank you for your article & information♥️

    1. Gale Marshall says:

      My cat used to get crystals. I did some diving into my animal nutrition course, and found upping the protein level helps. So, like my dogs, I started giving her chicken hearts every second day, like the dogs, and she has never had another crystal or infection. She loves them.

  3. We had to put our almost 13yr old Ragdoll Zippy to sleep a week ago, she had Chronic Kidney disease that we had only found out about a few weeks ago, she just went downhill so quickly and we couldn’t see her like that any longer. We are all devastated and struggling including the kids, my 5yr old keeps asking if we can go and wake her up yet she was 10 weeks old when we brought her home and I’m lost without her

    1. Ugh, I am so very sorry – CKD is not any fun, and I am sorry you didn’t have a lot of warning! Hope you can see the collateral beauty through your grief – like the reason it hurts so damn badly is because she was such a joy and love in your lives.

  4. Shr Gu Gu ( mourning dove in my husband’s dialect of Chinese) has a great story but suffice it to say we found him as a stray -yes- in southern Wisconsin over 16 years ago. He was sitting so quietly under the dogwood tree, I commented , “Is that a mourning dove?’ Slightly tan then grey in sunlight. Anyway, we took him in and confirmed with the vet that there was no micro-chip. Neutered him… loved him….he is still doing great. He is easy-going but when he wants to go out, he let’s us know -loudly. Nowadays, he mostly sits in the sun on a cushion or in the shade on the hotter days (Wisconsin, remember?). He will turn 18 in two months. Just went to the vet today and we are told he lost a pound since last year. I am not worried (13 to 12 lbs.) and my husband had cut his long hair off in Spring… so at least half a pound. Shr Gu Gu is now the leader of our six strays. The most recent is a chocolate Siamese….a stray. Life is grand..love your pets.

  5. Christy B says:

    Thank you, I loved my rags, fed her organic food, fresh water, only got her vaxxed 2x since she had severe allergies and arthtitis. had since she was a bottle fed baby. I went on a trip and left her with her two other adopted sisters and she had a stroke, was goining into DKA diabetes and the stroke caused neurological damage, after $1,500 and her not wanting to fight but to sleep I made the choice to put her down. She did not fight but held my hand and went to heaven. My first cat ever, she lived to be 3 months short of her 15th birthday. I figured she died of a broken heart. I still cry over her and miss her like crazy. I felt like a failed her since she had not had a physical in 6months, but I had covid then a car accident and no car for 2 months this year. We can only do the best we can and I took to the vet 1 week before she died for an eye irritation and within days she got sick and went so fast

  6. My ragdoll, Fiona just turned 19 this April and she is still looks and behaves like a young cat – so it’s great to hear I have the chance to have her around a few more years. She is my first cat, alongside a black domestic shorthair, Frodo – they were born a week apart and they grew up together. Both are indoor only, feeding them age-specific high quality dry food with occasional wet food and treats. And of course, regular vet check-ups. They had their teeth checked every few years, tartar removed and blood tests to check out their kidneys. Both show signs of decreasing kidney capacity so I switched food again and started adding supplements and immune boosting drops and they seem to work for both of them. I had a 3rd cat (Tade, domestic longhair), I lost him last September at the age of 11 – he had chronic kidney disease and needed a regular laser surgery to remove his epulis from his gums – a type of disease most typical for dogs… Anyway, since all 3 got the same food/care/treatment, I strongly believe genetics can be a huge factor too in their life span.
    Thank you for the great article!

    1. That’s awesome about Fiona – be sure to check out catinfo.org – lots of info on there about dry food! Dry food is not a good diet overall – but yes, genetics play a huge roll. Sorry about your Tade – that’s young for CRF.

  7. My 13 year old female, Abby, was diagnosed with heart failure on Sunday and I am devastated. I had it in my mind that she would live to 18 so hearing that she has 6-12mths to live if I’m lucky is breaking my heart. She is and will stay on a diuretic for the rest of her life and she has perked up some. Deciding when the quality of her life has declined enough to euthanize her will be one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. All I can do now is love her and make sure she stays as comfortable as possible.

    1. I am so very sorry! Have you looked into alternative treatments? Or supplements?

  8. Thanks for the article. I lost my first ragdoll Tigga at 4 years of age from pkd he was such a spunky boy broke my heart still miss him. After that we got two boys Shadow and Zimba who are now 9 years old hard to believe Shadow will be 10 in October. Both had their vet check and vaccinations this week so happy they are both fit and healthy. We have a outdoor contained enclosure for them they can access thru a dog door which has cat towers to climb and grass in a tub to lay in so they get lots of fresh air but are completely safe.

  9. we bought 2 ragdoll brothers both neutered as kittens. we lost our blue colourpoint at 18 due to a non malignant growth on his liver, we were heartbroken. His brother a blue bi colour we still have and he is going to be 22 in July. he was diagnosed with kidney disease 4 years ago and we put him straight on a renal wet diet. He has numerous supplements including seraquin for his mobility and psyllium husk and katalax to keep his bowels moving. Fellaway cystease for the odd bout of cystitis and maxi guard gel for his teeth. all these extras have kept him in generally good health. He is obviously an old boy now but he is loved beyond belief.

    1. My fur baby is 21.1/2 but sadly he has only one week before he passes onto a better place. I am absolutely heartbroken at the thought of losing him. The most beautiful of breeds

  10. John Waugh says:

    Good morning my name is John and
    We have a chocolate brown ragdoll cat and I’m trying to find out why when I go to pick him up and cuddle him he then starts really attacking my arms and hands and bites?
    Kind regards. John Waugh

    1. Our raisin is fourteen been diagnosed with cancer in her sinuses and face they say 2 to 3 months awfull

    2. Have you had him checked out at the vet John? Could be an underlying problem

    3. Hi John! Ragdolls, while known for being docile, are still animals with individual preferences, personalities and quirks. My 16 year old (Kumo) is known for having a “strong personality” (!!), and if he wants you to cease what you’re doing, he will take measures to insure that you do! (Usually starts with a warning *licking the hand, which will evolve into a nip if not heeded.)

      Your cat is letting you know the aforementioned interaction is unwanted. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to snuggle EVER, but he might not enjoy being picked up. (Kumo used to but doesn’t anymore. ‍♀️) I’ve had cats my whole life and the one thing that works with every age, breed and personality is PLAYING HARD TO GET. Ignore your floof and he’ll be all over you!!

  11. Ivan C Dubbs says:

    My Ragdoll Dewey is now going on his 20th birthday he is the love of our life. He is an indoor cat that always tries to sneak outside but we go crazy and get him inside asap. I was thinking god for bid he passes away of doing freezing him and sending to a company that can preserve his body.

  12. Thanks for the post. A very interesting article. I have 2 cats, 1 of which is a ragdoll. As of next March, he will turn 13yo. He is my best bud. I hope he lives to 25. But statistically, males don’t live as long as females. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

    Btw, you can’t neuter female cats. You can spay them though.

    1. Thank you. Got that sorted as well as a few other mistakes. Diet is the most important factor as well as lack of stress =)

    2. Our raisin is fourteen been diagnosed with cancer in her sinuses and face they say 2 to 3 months awfull

  13. Beth Wilhelm says:

    My beautiful, sweet make Ragdoll Sunny died at 6 of renal disease. I was crushed. He was my first cat- I loved him to the moon and back. He was a flame point.

  14. Wendy Killian says:

    My ragdoll Fran passed at 6 from cancer. It was really fast. Just a week from when we noticed she wasn’t eating till she was gone. She was a runt. Only 4 pounds her whole life and tiny like a juvenile cat. She was a great cat. Very affectionate and playful. Miss her much.

  15. I love this post because I am a Ragdoll mom of Coco Kimba Mufasa

  16. Susan Montgomery says:

    My kittens have a classic rag doll father and a slim black medium hair mother. They are 5 months old and look exactly like their mom, medium black hair (I can see some stripes almost like shadows. Mom has gold eyes and dad blue. Their eyes are brown with turquoise around the iris and we’re green for a time after their baby blue at birth. They are floppy but quite assertive and will struggle to be put down when “done” being held. I have a 10 1/2 year old neutered male tabby who is Mr mom to the girls and has cleaned them daily since he got to know them. I brought the kittens to visit since they were 4 weeks old twice a week (in a closed playpen) until they were allowed to come permanently at 8 weeks. He always hissed at them including at 8 weeks but only for about 1 1/2 days when they boldly walked up to him and touched noses. I would send photos of their interactions at being mothered if I new how. They both also attempted to nurse on him and one still does even though he now mounts them after they shamelessly flirt (my vet won’t fix them until 6 months., and that’s our story.

  17. We said goodbye to Woji today. She was a 15-year old seal point ragdoll. She had cancer in her tummy up but was happy, comfortable and alert up until this AM.
    I’ve lost cats before but wow nothing takes up residence in your heart like a ragdoll.

    1. Oh, I am so very sorry for your loss! Hugs and love to you!

  18. My kitty just passed away at 16yrs and 10 months. She was a lilac lynx Ragdoll.. She was loved by everyone who met her. She is greatly missed.

  19. ALWAYS A SUPER FABULOUS & PAWESOME & VERY RELEVANT POST TO RE-SHARE, Jenny honey! TYSVM!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

    1. I am Robin. Just had to put down my 10 yr blue seal at 5:30am on 5-14-22. His deteriorated health came out of nowhere, no warning, just a week, no health problems, came home to find him, not eating, drinking, and not able to stand, sit, or walk anymore, an indoor cat, never around other animals, heart broken, was my all!

  20. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with lymphoma in cats.
    I had to put the love of my life Elliot (Ellie) to sleep yesterday—he was 11 1/2, and I am devastate beyond belief.
    I got Ellie from a pet rescue 11 1/2 years ago—he was about 4 months old.
    Until last year I thought he was a Himalayan/Siamese mix because of his long silky coat, point markings & he loved to talk! A friend came over last year & said “that’s a Ragdoll!” I had heard of Ragdolls, but wasn’t familiar with the breed—sure enough, when I did some research, he not only had the physical attributes of a Ragdoll, it all the personality traits too: followed me EVERYWHERE, slept on the pillow head-to-head, became “floppy” when I told him he was a good boy, thought he was a lap cat despite his 19 lbs, absolutely loved people, and was the most loving creature I’ve ever encountered.
    He’s always been healthy, was strictly indoors, was feed Wellness & Weruva since I got him, minimal kibble, & filtered water. Last week I was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. My friend—a very cat savvy, cat-loving cat owner, watched Ellie (& Zoli—my Russian Blue) while I was in the hospital for 2 days. I wish that week of recovery was clearer—I’m trying to remember everything I can, but because of the anesthesia & surgery, much of it is fuzzy. I got home Sunday afternoon on 9/16. Fed “the kids”as I call them, & hit the couch to rest. Sometime around probably Thursday (9/20) I noticed that Ellie hadn’t eaten any of his food, and he was camped out on an armoir in the other room—still with visibility of me, but not by my side as he always was. Friday the same thing, although he took a few bites of food & was drinking. I thought maybe he needed to cough up a fur ball, so I gave him some Petromalt. But his behavior continued to change. He wasn’t sleeping on the pillow with me, but on the edge of the bed, & seemed to want to be on the kitchen counter or armoir rather than by my side. Sunday night he had a near miss while jumping onto the kitchen counter—I heard it, didn’t see it—I went in and he appeared to be favoring his left leg. Monday I had to go into work, but made an appointment with his vet for the next day. That night he slept on the bathroom floor—something he’s never done, and he appeared weak in hind legs. He wasn’t eating at all, even though I was giving him his favorite food. I noticed now that he seemed to have lost muscle mass: I could feel his spine & leg bones. I knew something was very wrong, & couldn’t wait to get him to the vet. I took him in Tuesday morning, & by then the sclera of his eyes, his oral mucosa & the area right in front of his ears was jaundiced (yellow)—the vet said his gums also looked anemic. He had lost 2 1/2 lbs since his checkup 7 months ago. He had some tenderness in his abdomen on palpation. The vet’s initial diagnosis was pancreatitis, and suggested keeping him overnight with IV fluids, pain medication and something for nausea, which we did. They ran labs & got abdominal x-rays. The vet called that evening & said his WBC was 46,000–very high, but congruent with pancreatitis—he was waiting for the final breakdown of white blood cells which would zero in on what was going on. I called the next morning right after they opened for a status on Ellie, and I spoke to vet who said he had deteriorated over night & that he was now having some shortness of breath & there was fluid in his lungs. I left work to go see him, and omg I couldn’t believe how rapidly he had deteriorated. He looked ravaged, & seemed short of breath. I picked him up to hold him, and he was so uncomfortable, just miserable. The vet came in & said they’d received the WBC breakdown, & that the prognosis was very poor: Ellie had lymphoma. I was crushed & stunned. So quickly? He had been himself just 6-7 days ago, eating, playing, nothing that would indicate he was so sick. Looking at how miserable he was, and knowing I wouldn’t put him through the chemo experience ( It wasn’t even an option at that point), I put Ellie to sleep. I am so emotionally derailed, I can’t stop crying. The house is empty: he had such an amazing presence, so full,of life , such a happy boy all the time. Please help me get through this—I am crushed.

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