Happy 17th Birthday to Caymus in Heaven

Today would have been my parents’ Caymus‘ 17th birthday.  I have celebrated it on the site for so long that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do today for it.  Skip it?  Not mention it?

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus laying on hardwood floor 9-5-20 IMG_5735
16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus laying on hardwood floor 9-5-20

But then I decided I would go through the last 4 months of his life – the first 4 months of his 16th year.  As I am writing this, I am looking through these photos – many from just short of a year ago, and I am so grateful I had the time with him that I did. Caymus died on December 12, 2020 after a 6-month battle with chronic kidney failure.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 12-1-20 IMG_8117
12-1-20 He was the biggest cat we have ever had in our family – in length and height. I loved the length of his tail. He and Murphy both had great tails.

The last 6 months of his life was such a stressful time, but also such a precious one….one that I wouldn’t have traded anything for.  I say stressful because you know the end is inevitable, but you don’t know when that end is.  A month?  A week? 

Although we changed veterinarians in the final months of his life – last 6 to be exact – the veterinarian he had had for 15 years gave him about 2-3 months to live based on his bloodwork.  The new one told us it was up to Caymus – and she was right.  It was up to him.  I never begged him to stay.  But I thanked him for every day he gave me.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 9-12-20 outside IMG_5925

What a magnificent soul he was, and so elegantly displayed that until the end.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 9-13-20 IMG_5968

We had a daily routine.  My mom would give him a few pills (think he was on 4-6 pills – I have it written down somewhere and hope to put it all in a blog post one of these days) in the very early morning and then I would get there around 9am to give him fluids. 

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus wanting to go outside 9-12-20 IMG_5916

He knew the routine.  I would come into my parents’ house singing his name – “Ahhh…Cay-cay-newin!” over and over again until he came sauntering into the kitchen (where I was running warm water into a bowl to get his fluids warm) and then we would go to the basement where there was a door to the outside and nice steps to sit and smell on. 

Of course, as his disease progressed, he wouldn’t always come sauntering in.  Sometimes I would have to go and find him – which was always scary too, as I didn’t always know what I was going to find.  I tried to stay in high spirits and would always cry on my way to my house.

Most of Caymus’ life, I pulled on his energy to find peace and serenity. As soon as I found out he was sick, I gave him all of my energy and never pulled on his energy again. So by now, it’s been over a year since I held him with sweet relief and complete peace. I miss that tremendously.

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 10-16-20 IMG_6800

Back to our daily routine – while I was waiting for fluids to warm, we would go outside and stroll or simply sit and smell.  Often times that was also when I would do a live video for Floppycats’ Facebook to give you guys an update on how he was doing.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 9-13-20 outside IMG_5950

It was always pretty obvious when Caymus needed fluids – his “fluid boob” from the night before would be gone and you could just tell from how his energy level was.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus outside 9-7-20IMG_5802

Murphy (Caymus’ half brother) and Caymus were a bonded pair – not terribly surprising that they died 6 months apart – Murphy died on 6-6-21. Murphy, though, was in much better health than Caymus at the time Caymus was dying.  Murphy always joined us on our walks outside.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus and Murphy steps from basement 9-21-20 IMG_6149
Caymus on the left and Murphy on the right
16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus and Murphy on brick ledge 9-24-20 IMG_6211
Caymus and Murphy

Once Caymus was ready to come inside, we would do his fluids.  He was just a good boy about his fluids – nearly always sat there and just let me poke the heck out of him. I always tried to get a good stick the first time, but I wasn’t always perfect. Sometimes I would poke from one side of his skin to the other – straight on through his skin. So then I would have to repoke to make sure I got the needle under his skin. And as they get skinnier, it is harder to knock that out.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 12-1-20 IMG_8138

I learned sooo much from him.  I learned how to give fluids by myself (I had given fluids to my Rags, but always had help) – thanks to my sister who had the courage to try it by herself and gave me the motivation to do the same. 

But, not only did I learn how to give it to Caymus between his shoulder blades, but I also learned how to give him fluids near his back or side belly.  I learned this spot because as his body deteriorated, the fluid boob would fall to his leg and then make his leg incredibly swollen, so his veterinarian taught me how to do it towards his side belly so that the fluid boob would fall to his belly and not to a leg.  Sometimes I would still screw up, unfortunately and he would have a swollen leg until the fluids were absorbed through his capillaries.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus outside on brick patio front 8-29-50 IMG_5625

If we didn’t have a veterinarian appointment, and believe me – we had a lot, then I would go home to work and be with my cats and then return about 11-12 hours later for his next round of fluids – the evening fluids.  My mom was too scared to do the fluids by herself – and sometimes my sister helped me by coming over and doing them, but mostly I did them and it was always my special alone time with Caymus.  I would love on him and tell him how awesome he was and thank him for all the peace and comfort he brought to my life.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus and Murphy on a evening stroll walk 11-9-20 IMG_7427
Caymus and Murphy on a evening stroll 11-9-20

We would then go outside again – usually Caymus, Murphy and me – to the front driveway and they would walk and sniff.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus and Murphy walk outside 8-26-20
Caymus and Murphy walk outside 8-26-20

When we had days where we were headed to the veterinarian, I stopped putting Caymus in his carrier and let him ride on my lap – it was a 25 minute trip both ways and well, he was dying anyway, so wasn’t a big deal in my head if we got into a crash and he died (this is my way of saying I know it’s not safe for him to ride on my lap in my car – but I also didn’t really care about safety in those months).

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus in car 10-6-20 IMG_6541

I mean, it would have sucked for him to die in a car crash, but chances were low and he was dying anyway, so might as well let him live as much as he could until then.

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 10-20-20 IMG_6873

So he rode on my lap or wherever he wanted to be in the car, but it was usually on my lap looking out the window all the way there.  I loved it and miss that. Caymus wasn’t a lap cat – the one cat I wish would have sat for hours on my lap, so I loved that he wanted to be on my lap in the car.  I would talk to him the whole way to the vet, cry to him, whatever just came my way kissing and hugging on him when I could.  

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 11-16-20 IMG_7586

He was such a champ at the vet’s office – he let so much happen to him that I am sure Charlie will never go for – from ozonated saline (cold) being injected sub q near his kidneys to ozone gas being shot up his rectum. 

What veterinarians were and what I was allowed to do to him was unthinkable, unheard of.  He knew I was trying to help him and for sure, ozone gave Caymus several more quality months of life.

Caymus had so many veterinarian appointments because he was getting acupuncture at one veterinarian and ozone at the other.  Sometimes he got acupuncture and ozone at the same vet – I learned how to juggle it, so that he definitely was getting his weekly acupuncture treatments – and coordinated those with what each of the veterinarians we were using had open. 

We went to see Dr. Linda Faris at Northland Animal Hospital for ozone therapy and also for acupuncture when needed, but his main veterinarian was Dr. Sally Barchman of State Line Animal Hospital. Dr. Sally also did acupuncture on him and was a total angel and godsend when it came to answering my constant questions about his comfort via text.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 8-27-20 acupuncture needles IMG_5561
8-27-20 acupuncture needles

After his rectal ozone appointments, we had a 25-minute drive home.  And one of the benefits of rectal ozone was that the penetration into his anus helped to stimulate his need to poop.  This was a great benefit of ozone for a kidney cat.  I learned early on to give him some time to go #2 before we left the parking lot. 

He would always explore my car and then when he was ready to poop, he would go back into his carrier and squat to poop.  I would always have a paper towel ready to catch the poop as it fell into my hand.  I would then bring the poop into the vet’s office for disposal, so we wouldn’t have a stinky ride home.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 10-26-20
exploring my car before pooping after rectal ozone 10-26-20
16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus at northland animal hospital in the car 9-8-20 IMG_5827
getting ready to poop after rectal ozone 9-8-20

As Caymus’ body changed chemically, so did his sleeping spots.  He always slept at night time on my parents’ bed – probably 5 months or so before he died, he stopped sleeping on their bed and started sleeping in a Fukumaru box I had brought over.  A Floppycats’ reader had posted about the box, so I got one for Charlie and Trigg, but brought it over for Caymus as soon as I found out he was sick.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 11-7-20 with heating pad in fukumaru box IMG_7243
16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 11-7-20 with heating pad in 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 11-7-20 with heating pad in fukumaru box

He slept in that Fukumaru box day in and day out.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus and Murphy in beds on bench 9-18-20 IMG_6111

I think it was 1 week or maybe less before he died – he moved to a spot by my parents’ bathtub. I had remembered from my Rags’ passing that cats switch their sleeping spots when they are getting close to death (a healthy cat also changes sleeping spots seasonally – but a sick cat changes sleeping spots more often/frequently – and they are usually spots they didn’t sleep when they were healthy).  So the change to a new sleeping spot made my stomach hurt – and sure enough, days later, I knew why.

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 12-8-20 IMG_8352 IMG_8281

He ate the day he died, but he could not defecate on his own any more. He struggled to walk as well.  I would have put him down a day earlier than we did, but it wasn’t my decision alone to make. 

Euthanasia is a difficult decision and Caymus had bounced back so many times that we had doubted ourselves.  A reader just sent me a link to this PDF that helps you know when it is time to euthanize your cat.

16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus Saying goodbye 12-12-20 IMG_8435
Saying goodbye 12-12-20

We were lucky enough to be able to get to do it at home.  Our new veterinarian was available that day to come to the house and put him down.  I sooo appreciated this gesture on her part as I didn’t want to drive him to the vet’s office.  He seemed very uncomfortable if I even picked him up, so a car ride would have been dreadful.  Likewise, driving your cat to it’s death isn’t fun – I have done that too.

I stayed with Caymus until the sedative that the veterinarian gave him was working – which was only minutes.  I said my final goodbyes to him and left the room.  I was unable to stay for his death.  I didn’t want to see him dead.  But my sister stayed, her husband and our father stayed for what-I-like-to-call the “death juice”. 

And my sister told me it was very peaceful.  She watched as his belly stopped going up and down (stopped breathing).  The vet wrapped him up in my t-shirt which I had set next to him – they say that sense of smell is one of the last things to leave. So I wanted him to know I was there, in a way.  I still have not washed that t-shirt.

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus curled up 11-2-20 IMG_7128

Caymus was a source of pure peace for me – I could hold him and my worries would melt away.  I know he was a soulmate cat of mine.  I miss him every single day.

Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus 10-24-20 hugging after fluids IMG_6952
10-24-20 hugging after fluids
Jenny Dean and 16 year old Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat Caymus curled up 11-9-20 IMG_7283
Curled up on the floor with Caymus – I did this all the time. Those months were hard on me.

I wish you all could have known him.  The veterinarians who met him in his final 6 months were so impressed by his easy going, do-anything-to me nature and came to love him too.

Happy 17th Birthday to Caymus in heaven.    Please come back to me.

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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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  1. Susan Whitney says:

    Jenny. I am crying watching this and know how much love you gave Caymus.

  2. Monica Skaggs says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful love story, Jenny. Love the photos of your evening stroll together, in particular. I also watched your YouTube tribute to Caymus again just now — and am bawling again. I understand exactly what you mean about being soulmates and bonded with your beloved Ragdoll. And I understand how much you are grieving. I am sure you’ll be together again someday. Take care and thanks for all you do for our Ragdoll Community.

    1. Thank you for reading and watching, Monica. Thank you for helping me honor my Caymus.

  3. Beautiful story, thanks for sharing.

  4. galen Klassen says:

    I am very sorry to hear about your beloved kitty. Love your newsletter.

  5. Jenny what a beautiful tribute to Caymus. I cried with you both during the video and reading about his final moments. Thank you so very much for sharing all the happy memories you have with this amazing gentle sweet soul. He was really blessed to have such a loving, caring family. Sending you all much love xx

  6. Armida Commesse (‎أرميدة كوميس) says:

    Happy Birthday in Kitty Heaven dear Caymus. You left a hole in our hearts but hoping that you are now healthy, running and having fun up there.

    Jenny, this tribute to Caymus brought me to tears again. My heart goes out to you and your family. Shaheen, Junius and I are sending our love and admiration for your dedication and I hope one day to be able to care for them as good as you did for Caymus. Hugs ♥️

  7. Clair Squires says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Here I am again in tears, sniffling over a cat I never met but was so grateful to have shared his (and Murphy’s) adventures on Floppycats.com for 11 years!

    I know this must of been so difficult to write, the predicament of whether to post about Caymus’s heavenly birthday and potentially bring back all the final memories with him, rather than the years of good times.

    Caymus was so very special and he touched so many people’s lives without ever knowing, but that was Caymus, always sending good vibes into the world.

    I wish our FluffyButts could stay with us forever but sadly their time often comes before our own.

    Just know that Rags, Caymus and Murphy are all up in heaven soaking up the sun rays and finding a warm patch to stay and watch over you.

    Thank you for sharing your world with us, it’s an honour to be a part of.

    Happy heavenly birthday Caymus ❤️

  8. Hi,
    My heart goes out to you..4 yrs ago I went through the same thing with our cat…Rusty was 17yrs old too…He died of Kidney Failure as well…I cryed for months after having him put down…It was the hardest thing I have ever went through…

    1. yes, it is so dreadful. i am so very sorry for your loss too.

  9. Pamela J Curry says:

    Thank you for making Videos of the various treatments you did. I gave two cats IV therapy after the 2007 pet food recall. It went on for 2 yrs, I was overwhelmed with grief, anger and guilt the entire time. My 2nd family is called the Ginger Cat Family, we thank you for being such a good cat mom. Don’t be afraid to start again.

  10. Edwina L Sanborn says:

    Happy Birthday Beautiful Caymus,
    Jen, Thank you for sharing this special posting of Caymus. I miss seeing his sweet face and lovely personality. I miss my three Persians, Sinbad, Sultan and my little girl, Meenu. Sinbad was just about twenty years old, and Sultan and Meenu were almost eighteen years old. List all three to cancer, but not all at the same time. Again Jen, Thank you for everything with Floppycats!!

    1. Thank you, Edwina! I am sorry for your losses as well =(

  11. Patti A Johnson says:

    Happy 17th Birthday, Beautiful Caymus! Such a SUPER PAWESOME & FABULOUS & VERY LOVING & HEARTFELT Happy Birthday Tribute post, Jenny honey! Caymus was a OOAK Sweet Soul for sure! RIP Dear Boy….Very well done, honey (I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I write this…) Sending more extra love & condolences to you and your family for your heartbreaking losses this year…. <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

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

    1. Thank you, Patti =). I am so glad you got to know him through our posts.

      1. Patti A Johnson says:

        Me, too!!! <3 <3 <3

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