I cannot believe Murphy is dead. I just cannot. It happened so fast, doesn't seem real. Just feels like I have not seen him in a really long time.
I called Murphy, "Beau", so that's how I will refer to him here. Murphy was my parents' cat - he was a seal mitted with a blaze Ragdoll cat adopted from Bluegrass Rags in Kentucky in 2004.
The very first Ragdoll I knew and fell in love with was seal mitted with a blaze, and that's how the search for Murphy began. And that's also why we had him - because I wanted a seal mitted with a blaze Ragdoll. He lived with my parents and was truly my mom's cat, but wrapped my dad around his tail too.
Murphy died on June 6, 2021 - 6 months after his brother, Caymus, passed on 12/12/21 at the age of 16 years and 9 months.
Diagnosed with Renal Disease:
When Caymus was diagnosed with end stage renal failure on June 7, 2020, Murphy was diagnosed with earlier stage renal disease.
So, his veterinarian at the time suggested we start fluids on Beau every other day - 100 ml.
I was not confident in my ability to do fluids on Murphy. My Rags died of kidney failure on March 30, 2009. The last time I had given fluids to a cat was around that time. Your confidence wanes when it's been that long.
I had much more confidence to give them to Caymus because of Caymus' laid back personality. But much to my surprise, Murphy let me give him fluids. He, of course, not being the same personality as Caymus and also being healthier than Caymus wasn't as compliant to sit for the fluids, so often he would stand.
I would just gently hold my palm over his sternum, so he knew I did not want him to move and he would stand there while I gave him fluids. He was a very good boy about it, and somewhat gave me confidence in potentially giving Charlie fluids some day.
Murphy only bit me twice in all those months I gave him fluids, which was almost for a year. And the bites were more like, "Ouch, that hurt!" But he never broke any skin.
I usually just spoke to him the whole time, told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was that his buddy Caymus was gone. He usually purred the entire time.
Murphy was a good cat. He was a soulmate cat for my mom. He was a busy kitty - liked to be involved, be around, be in the know. He was the dominant cat of Caymus and Murphy. He was a good patient at the vet (unlike my Charlie who turns into Chucky).
He had early stage kidney disease, and also GI issues. He had some really good months in the last year before his death. He was switched to a new veterinarian who specializes in holistic and traditional medicine.
He got chiropractic work and acupuncture done. Many of the meds he was unnecessarily on were removed - and he seemed to get younger acting.
His eyes started to look good and clear again, and I thought we would have him for several more years.
I did this video on the channel shortly after Caymus passed to give everyone an update on Murphy one of the days I was over there to give him fluids.
My sister and I would switch off who gave him fluids - I did it a little more than she did because she was pregnant, so didn't want to inconvenience her too much. When I would get to my parents, I would find him - sometimes sleeping alone upstairs by himself.
Caymus and Murphy used to sleep together a lot - and sometimes on the pillows on my parents' bed. One day, I couldn't find Murphy. So I searched and searched and found him on the pillows, but behind the decorative pillows on the guest bed.
When I found him there, sleeping by himself, he looked so lonely. I burst into tears and told him I missed Caymus too.
He was often so sound asleep when I would go get him upstairs that he didn't even know I was in the room - so I would faceplant into his tummy, which would startle him slightly awake and then he would realize it was me, start purring and put his head back down to fall back asleep.
I would eventually pick him up and tell him that we were going to go get fluids. Sometimes he would get up from where he was sleeping to come get the fluids - he SHOWED an appreciation for the fluids. I feel like he knew they gave him vitality and he wanted it.
I always preferred to give him fluids when he was sleepy, as he was less motivated to fight the process.
Often times when I came over to give him fluids, we would go outside before or after fluids.
Beau loved going outside - and I believe he would have preferred to be an outdoor cat.
He would have been one of those cats that made friends with everyone in the neighborhood. He was a blaze cat through and through. My family, although I do not like stereotypes, have always found blaze cats to be outgoing, vocal and social.
So was the case with Murphy - he always showed up at parties at my parents' house and loved to interact with strangers.
I also could always get Beau to have full conversations with me - so we talked back and forth a lot.
We do not really know the cause of his death, but believe it started in his digestive tract (an infection of some sort) and eventually traveled to his lungs. He started acting funny about 6 weeks before his passing - not wanting to eat.
We took him to veterinarians - there wasn't a clear understanding of what was happening and since he had been a picky eater his entire life, it was hard to know if it was just another episode for him. Looking back, I don't think we could have done anything differently. I think we did all we could have done.
In fact, the Thursday night we took him into the emergency vet - he had seen his regular vet the earlier that day who had listened to his lungs and they sounded clear. When she got the radiograph of his lungs the next day, she said, "Wow. I was worried they were overreacting, but they are not."
She also thought it looked like a really bad asthma. His blood chemistry was normal but he was mildly anemic and had a high white blood cell count.
They gave him steroids as well as other asthma clearing drugs and even antibiotics as a last resort.
It was a Thursday night when my mom called me to tell me that she thought Murphy was breathing funny - harder than normal. I was tired. It was 10pm, but I went over to their house to see for myself.
I didn't really see what she saw, but my mom has very good intuition. So she made the decision to take him to the emergency vet.
We got there about 10:30pm. Hours later (1:30am) after x-rays and ultrasounds, it was advised that they keep Murphy over night in an oxygen cage (a cage that is sealed off, so the kitty can have more oxygen). So, we did.
The next day the radiologist looked at the x-rays and said it looked like bad asthma, so he was treated for that. And any time they took him into "room air" he had respiratory distress, so they advised to keep him in the oxygen cage. And since he needed oxygen, we could not take him home.
By Saturday, he seemed to be doing better - and an acquaintance of mine that worked at the emergency vet even took photos of him (included herein) and I thought he looked pretty good. We weren't allowed in to visit him because of COVID protocols.
But Sunday morning, he took a turn for the worse - had a grand mal seizure and his organs started to shut down. They gave some drugs to help him come back from it, but by 5pm it was looking pretty grim.
My dad, my mom, my sister and I headed there to say goodbye to him before we put him down.
We have never had to put an animal down who couldn't breathe. I am not sure I ever want to again - even though we don't really have a choice. He was wheeled to us in an incubator - like the ones they put little babies in for the NICU. His heart rate was 120 when they rolled him in.
He was laying down in the incubator, and as soon as my mom saw him, she exclaimed, "OH MY MURPH!" I will never forget this - his heart rate (which was being monitored and on another wheelie cart with the incubator) shot up to 350 when he heard my mom's voice. I will never forget that. Ever. The power of the heart and love - it was so beautifully sad.
He reacted to every one of us - and it seemed like he was like, "I've been waiting for you, where have you been?" Like he was saving his last ounces of energy to say goodbye to us. His body was clearly in the process of dying.
My mom wanted to hug him one last time, so they pulled him from the chamber and put the oxygen tube to his nose. We each held him - holding him while he was struggling to breathe was not fun - but this was only a few minutes before they administered the sedative and the death juice.
Murphy's death was the first death I have been present for. I left the room for Rags. I left the room for Caymus. I had stayed for the sedative for both - but was too scared to see them dead. But had decided I would be there for Murphy.
I was grateful to the doctors at the emergency vet who warned me that he might defecate and pee after he passed - and also said since he had fluid in his lungs that it might be bloody and come out his nose. Luckily, none of that happened and it was very peaceful.
Caymus' death was a marathon - 6 months of caretaking before he passed. Murphy's was a sprint. Their deaths matched their personalities. Looking back, I am grateful for how they both passed - I needed to be ready for Caymus' passing, so I needed that time.
I didn't have the energy for another marathon (I am still recovering from caretaker fatigue from Caymus, so I am grateful Murphy went quickly - and given what he went through at the emergency vet, I wasn't sure how well he would recover, if he would have).
Don't get me wrong - I wish that Murphy had survived that ordeal, so that we could have had more time with him. Although at the time, I didn't think so, in reflection, I think it was his time to go. I am a believer in when it's our time to go, it's our time.
I loved my Beau. I am so sad he is gone. He was my last connection to Rags - the last animal that was alive that knew my Rags. He taught me so much - gave me confidence to give a feisty kitty fluids. He helped me understand cat behavior with Charlie and Trigg - he accepted them as newcomers faster than Caymus did. He also loved to try and play with them when they were all 4 together.
As my dad said in the emergency vet parking lot after we put Murphy down, "I am done with cat deaths for awhile."
Happy heavenly 17th birthday to my Beau.