Celebrating My Rags
I am crying right now because I just completed a note to my dad. Last year, after D-Day (death day – one year ago today), I addressed two notes – one to my dad and one to my mom. I wanted to write them “thank you” notes for my Rags.
But, I didn’t get them done. I hauled them around with me for a year – I even took them down to Albuquerque (went there for six weeks last summer), but still didn’t get them done.
For those of you who don’t know…when I expressed interest in having a Ragdoll cat at the age of 7, my mother and father told me that my father was allergic to cats. This was total crap, however. My dad actually couldn’t stand cats and told my mom that he didn’t want one in his home.
Man, how times have changed! But, my mom heard me beg over and over again for a Ragdoll. My Aunt Nicky had an incredible Ragdoll – one of the most gorgeous kitties I have ever seen – named, Halston – and I always wanted to go to Aunt Nicky’s house to see Halston. He was the coolest cat. You could go up to him, put your cheek next to his face and ask him for a kiss. He would lick you, just like a dog! I thought it was so funny though because his tongue felt so weird (like sandpaper, as we all know).
I really cannot believe that he is gone. I wanted to write about his dying process today. I think it will help me release more of it and also help those of you who haven’t experienced renal failure. I also would have appreciated reading something like this when Rags was going through this because I really wanted to know more.
Of course, every kitty’s renal failure is different. I was warned that Rags didn’t have too much time left in December 2008. Actually, I think it was December 23rd or 22nd, and my Christmas gift was being told that Rags had about 2 weeks MAX to live. Man, that was awesome. NOT.
Since you know he died on March 30, you know that he lived a lot longer than 2 weeks, but GOOD GOD was I scared. I never knew I could cry so much. I took many photos of him because I knew I didn’t have much time left.
I was ashamed to share them at this time last year because he was losing that beautiful sparkle in his eyes, and I knew it and didn’t want to share it. But now I realize it was what it was.
So about 3 years ago this August, I quit my full time job and started to work from home. I tried to sell some multi-level marketing crap, and soon realized it wasn’t the thing to do. I moved on to a website about fruit, but found my true passion with this site. I also was trying to make a huge decision about my Graves Disease – whether or not to remove my thyroid or do radioactive iodine. Neither one, I wanted to do. My generous father offered to support me financially while I tried to work out my issues with the disease and while I was getting myself on my feet for my new websites.
Therefore, I had the INCREDIBLE FORTUNE to be at home with Rags day in and day out. I would have definitely lost my job if I had had one when Rags was dying – as I would have called in sick every day.
I was a total and complete mess during that time. I am a very neat and clean person and my house looked like a bomb went off. My days were consumed with Rags and that’s all I wanted them to be consumed with. The only half healthy thing I did was workout three times a week. When I got home, I would go and find my little buddy (usually in the basement – his sleeping spots changed on almost a 2-week basis – my aunt had warned me that when animals get close to dying that they sleep in the most unusual spots and change them) and take him outside. He loved breathing the fresh air and soaking up the rays of sunshine…and I cherished watching him.
I found in the weirdest places – inside a mop bucket that was full with clean rags for cleaning. Also found him behind my desk and inside cabinets. It was scary too (when I couldn’t find him) as I thought I would find him dead. I am not sure which would be worse, finding him dead or having to put him down. I think they are both equally horrible in their own ways. Towards the end – the last month or so, Rags had a kitty crack house in my storage closet in my office downstairs. As you can tell, I had a litter box on either side of him and food elevated by books. He didn’t want to move from his bed that much, so I just made him as comfortable as possible. The last few days, he didn’t make it to his litter box – hence the towels to protect the carpet.
I knew there were days when he wasn’t up for going outside, but I believe my encouragement made him live as long as he did. I didn’t ask him to hold on. I told him I would be ready when he was ready, but he knew I wasn’t and that’s why he waited. And man, he waited. I talked to an animal communicator, Linda Trent, during the entire 3 month extravaganza, and he told her that it pissed him off that the vet told me that he had two weeks to live because he was in charge of when he wanted to die, not her. Gotta love cats!
We took Rags on walks and I held him as much as I could. Rags had told Linda that he enjoyed the outdoors and appreciated me taking him outside and liked that I stayed outside with him, as he wasn’t sure if he would have the stamina to fight anything off (Rags only spent one night outside his entire life – so I am not sure where that came from). I did stay close to him though and allowed him to take his time to cruise around the yard. He usually walked the perimeter and then wanted to come back inside.
Cruising around the perimeter helped him pass his bowels too. I had to give him fluids (50 cc twice a day) and also an enema about every 3-4 days depending on if he had gone #2 himself. I realize that most people wouldn’t have done this, but he showed a will to live and I couldn’t put him down when he still showed that will.
He ate a combination of baby food and wet food. I didn’t want him having any more dry food because he was in renal failure, so his kidneys were drying up and I didn’t want them to dry up any more.
I asked Linda if he was in pain. I asked this often. I probably spoke to Linda about every 10 days. He always told her that he was weak, but not in pain. I believed it. I believed it because he never looked like he was in pain. Had he been in pain, I would have put him down.
One of his weird sleeping patterns was that he wanted to be between me and my computer. He would sit at my feet (photo above) and want to be lifted up and sit between me and the keyboard. My computer and desk are in my basement, and in fact, he stopped sleeping with me altogether. When I asked Linda why he was doing this, he told her that he didn’t want to die in my room. He thought that would be a bad memory for me. I hated it. I hated it that he wouldn’t sleep with me anymore….but I tell you what, it certainly helped when I went to bed on March 30th. He hadn’t slept with me for two months, so I had become used to it.
In the last few days that Rags was alive, his back legs stopped working. He couldn’t hold himself up on his back legs and when he couldn’t do it with his front legs, I knew it was time.
It was a Sunday and I wasn’t expecting it, so I hadn’t planned and besides, who wants to plan for that! I wanted Dr. Gloor of the KC Cat Clinic to put him down because I knew he respected her and I liked her as well. She has similar feelings/thoughts about death and reincarnation as I do, so it helped me get through it.
I must have called every Gloor in the phone book that day. None of them were her (I found out later that Gloor is her maiden name and she is listed under her husband’s name in the phone book). So I decided that because I couldn’t get a hold of her, that it was a sign that it wasn’t the day.
So I knew I would do it on Monday. Ugh. The rest of that day on Sunday was so freakin’ horrible. I cried and cried and told him how much I loved him and thanked him for all the extra time he gave me to say good-bye. That night before we took him on a walk at midnight and he just let out these pathetic little meows. I don’t know if they were thank yous or if he was hurting, but it felt okay to take him on a walk.
I think I finally fell asleep at 4am. I had asked Bill (my boyfriend, who I live with) to call KC Cat Clinic promptly at 8am and tell them what was going on and that I wanted Dr. Gloor to do it. Of course, she wasn’t due in that day until 10:30am, so they called her at home and she said she’d come in at 9:00am.
So about 8:30am, I grabbed Rags and wrapped him in a towel. Bill drove us to my parents’ house where we got into my dad’s car (unfortunately, my mom was out of town and really, really upset she wasn’t there) and my dad, Bill and I drove to KC Cat Clinic. I asked my dad to drive by the house I grew up in (and that Rags grew up in) and Raggies had soft, sweet little meows and smelled the air the whole way there (I had the window down).
When we got there, we found out that Dr. Gloor’s car had gotten a flat tire, so the receptionist was leaving to get her. It SUCKED holding him in the waiting room waiting to put him down. Oh my god, that was horrible!
Dr. Gloor finally arrived and we went into a room. I asked her what the process was and how he would react physically. They first give him a pain reliever and then the “death juice” as I like to call it. I was scared to see him dead. I didn’t want to. I asked her if I should hold him or if I should put him on the table. My brother had reminded me of how he held one of our dogs and how her head went all limp once she was dead and that made me sick, so I decided I would put him on the table and see if he was okay with that. He appeared to be fine with it, so I pet him while they put in the pain reliever.
They left the room while we said our goodbyes (which I had said to him over and over again for 3 months), and then they (Dr. Gloor and technician) came back in with the “death juice”. Ugh. I asked her to please wait to insert it into his vein, as I wanted to give him three kisses (one for me, one for my mom and one for my sister Amy – who was with my mom!). I told my dad and Bill (who were in the room that I would give him the three kisses and then would leave the room). My dad was crying and asked me what I wanted him to do, and I told him that he was welcomed to do whatever he needed to do to say goodbye and that I would meet him outside.
So, I gave him the kisses (the pain reliever made him act like he was in a deep sleep and his breathing was very shallow at that point) and left the room, walked outside and called my mom to tell her that he was gone.
Crazy enough, I had a really good day that day. It was a relief to know he wasn’t fighting anymore. It was a relief to know that he had gone to what I think was a place where he felt good again. I was also relieved. It is a lot of work day in and day out to give a little kitty fluids, enemas and be worried about him all of the time.
I also had the good fortune of taking Caymus and Murphy back to my house for a week. My mom said that I could have them for a week after Rags passed. Good gracious! I was sooo thankful for them. They knew I was sad and provided great company. Because they were young and healthy, it also reminded me of how sick and weak Raggies was. And, well, as you all know, Caymus is my favorite living Ragdoll, so I will always welcome any time I get with him.
I still think of my Raggies every single day. I will carry him in my heart forever. Thanks for letting me talk about his last few months, days and hours.
Hi. It’s Monday morning march 12th i think and i just read your post about the passing of rags. I’m happy that you got to be there for his passing, you know for sure he’s in kitty heaven, making god smile.
I too have tears sliding down my face as i read your msg, thinking of my own beautiful beloved ragdoll, Franklin, my monster kitty. It’s going on 3 years now that he’s been gone. I drove a truck for a living and we were n chicago and went inside to check in and when i came back out, the door was cracked and he was gone. I called the microchip ppl at 430ama crying my eyes out asking if there was a way to find
him, begging really n of course they couldn’t.
There’s not a day that goes by that i don’t think of him. It makes me happy to watch ur videos w ur beautiful babies. Keep them coming. Through ur videos i have a monster kitty again. 🙂
oh, i am so sorry to hear about franklin – that’s horrible. that’s too bad that the microchipping companies do not put GPS in the microchips – they probably will some day!
jsut found this post I read them all with a tear ! your cats were so blessed to have you and you them loved hearing about rags and all the other rag stories .. such a old soul …
I adore my rag doll Isaac .. I see your cats too have got you through some dark times and health issues .. I got my first cat and a rag doll wen my hubby died . Ithink people think i enjoy those cats a bit too much and donlt really understand the bond but I can see you all have a strong bond too .. they are like my childrens and I furry babies and sleep and know when we are down much laughter and healing has come and sad when one went …
I think often people see us as crazy cat lady but they are totally loved spoilt mm yes hope you have many more love with your cats
thanks, sarah. yes, i think they are way more than just cats. they have taught me so many lessons that a human isn’t capable of teaching! glad you enjoyed the post!
Just got an email update of your last comment… reread this whole page tearfully with all the posts. Yes, Jenny, each of our pets is special in its own way and gives us so much. I’ve gone through it with mine after losing one, feeling a little guilty for loving those I have left. (It happens when we lose a person we love, too.) Kitties tenderly move in to fill the empty spot where the lost love used to sleep; they lie on our chests or next to our ears and purr their way deeper into our hearts. Nobody comforts like cats do. They are so dear and so perfect.
I have been on this website many, many times but I have just read this story. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face I hurt for you. At the same time I know how blessed you were to have Rags as part of your life. I have had to put down two cats in my life and both were heart breaking. Neither sickness was as long and drawn out as yours. I am in the floor typing because when I do this my rags Henley lays on the sofa behind me. She is currently in a belly up sleep. Neither of my previous kitties were raggies, but both were special. Last year I finally had to give in and adopt two ragdolls. They are both so wonderful! They are very different – one old soul and one that I believe will be a kitten forever! Your tribute makes me want to make sure I treasure the differences in each one – and treat each day as a gift. Thank you for sharing such a painful (but loving) experience. My mom, who is not really an animal person at all, comes to my house each week while I am at work just to spend some time with her two grandcats. They are just a different kind of kitty! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading everything that is posted here.
Thanks, Angie. I miss him every day and still say goodnight to help before I close my eyes. They are so special and sometimes I still catch myself upset that Trigg and Charlie aren’t him and then I have to think about the fact that they will give me their own gifts. They are cool cats in their own rights and I have much to learn from both of them. I am so pleased you are enjoying your beauties. I hope you will share them on the site more often! I love that your mom loves them.
We’re told when someone is grieving the worst thing we can say is, “I know how you feel.” But I really do. One of the last nights I cuddled my Moosie, I heard a song that was perfect for us. Listen to Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol: “If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world…” It made me cry then and I still cry but it’s like a message from him. I think it fits you and your Rags, too. They truly were/are such magic kitties!
Jenny, I just read your story and cried all the way through. You were so brave writing it for Rags’ sake… and to help others going through the sorrow of a beloved pet’s last days. No kitty could have had more tender care or more love. He was your angel kitty and you were his guardian angel.
Believe me, I understand with all my heart.
A comforting hug across a thousand internet miles…
Beth, thank you for the kind words. I would cry if I read it again – I did the other night. I totally miss him and fear that I will always long for his return. He was my rock during some of the hardest times in my life – the growing pain years, if you will. Still when I am VERY VERY upset to the point where I cannot stop crying, I love for him. There was magic in his purr, a comfort that is/was like no other and I loved his body. WHAT AN AWESOME CAT HE WAS!! Thanks for understanding!!
Just passing thru your floppycats site & read your heart-wrenching
story about your journey with Rags, wow I admire your strength &
perserverance. Rags was so blessed to have you care for him.
Eve, thanks very much. I stayed at my parents’ house last night because they are out of town and my sister had her tonsils removed, so she cannot really take care of my parents’ animals and I was laying on the floor with Caymus and Murphy and thinking that they got to know my Rags….and I thanked them for being nice to him. I would give anything to hold him again and hear his purr next to my ear.
I had a ragdoll I named Nuzzler who had a ton of allergies & feline
acne problems, WHen she was almost 6 yrs, she contracted ringworm.
Many many vet bills later, I gave Nuzzler away to a vet tech cuz I
could not medicate & care for her properly – Nuzzler was very
angry & would clamp her little mouth shut, run away & hide, LOL.
I could’ve used a cat whisperer.
I have a ton of good memories of Nuzzler & keep in touch with a vet
who knows Nuzzler’s whereabouts – last I heard she was doing well =)
I bought another ragdoll, the choc. lynx torbie bi-color Snuggler in 2006.
I love her, take her to bed with me, she is so beautiful.
I cannot imagine the pain of losing a precious pet.
Take care & many purrs,
I just read this Jenny and I have tears pouring down my face. This had to be so hard to go through, but I know you cherish the time you had with him. I hope my daughter has many wonderful years with the ragdoll we are getting for her. She is getting her ragdoll for her 8th birthday. Maybe she and her ragdoll will be as close as you and Rags.
Meredith, thanks for the sweet words. It was a very hard time in my life, but one I will cherish for the rest of my life. I just went to a funeral today, actually…for a man who was on the Alumni Committee of my Alma Mater – he was only 45 years old and suffered greatly before his death. Thinking of his wife and daughters and experiencing the exhaustion of seeing your loved one in that much pain, on a small scale reminded me of my precious Rags. Rags taught me a lot. I always thought of him as older than me – isn’t that funny? And now I think of Charlie and Trigg as younger. Charlie is an old, wise soul though. I am so excited for you to get your baby – no doubt your daughter will totally love her.
I had no idea you went through all of this before Rags passed. I’m so sorry 🙁
No need to apologize. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Teddy will sucker you into as well – if he has kidney failure – but I hope he never does! I was looking at Charlie and Trigg today and took a deep breath, hoping I wouldn’t have to go through it with them…but I know I’d do it again if I had to.
Although this is a very heart-wrenching post, your love for Rags is apparent in all aspects and the ways love can be portrayed. Although it is a sad post, it was absolutely beautiful to read. The emotion, care, affection, and tender love can be felt by readers who read your poetic tribute to Rags. I knew that his passing away hurt you terribly, from reading your past posts, his biography, and his poem but I did not know to such an extent. I have probably said this to you about five times now, but that is because I truly believe Rags was an extremely lucky feline with a human-like soul. You two were obviously close and linked by the soul, that is what I feel whenever I read any written work by you about Rags. It was as if Rags really was preparing you, as you mentioned above, he knew how you would feel and so he got you ready just like Gerard Butler’s character did in the movie P.S. I Love you, Rags knew how hard it would be and so he helped you in the only way he could. Rags is one of those once in a lifetime companions a person can have in their life, those special unique souls that some articles I have read mention. Not only was Rags lucky to have you as his loving owner, but I think you were blessed to have him in your life, along with the love and care from your friends, boyfriend, and family. Charlie, Trigg, Caymus, and Murphy are all lucky to be a part of your family just like Rags. Rags will definitely never be forgotten, even though I did not know him and even though I recently met you, Jenny, I will not forget Rags either and his story. Rags you were a special and unique soul with a life story that I will always remember.
Melody, I appreciate the message and the compliments. I am ready for Rags to come back to me. Sure wish I could clone him so I could have him forever. Oh well. Jenny