I thought it was a great idea to move off campus and move in with my boyfriend Joe (now my husband) and get my first cat, Alex. Alex was a short hair gray and white cat who was full of energy. I was staying by myself over the summer in my apartment and we got Alex to keep me company.
A few months later I decided that since we left our apartment every weekend to spend it at Joe's grandparent's house, that Alex needed a friend. That is when the tortoise-shell colored Sasha came into the picture and turned Alex's life upside-down. At first Alex hated Sasha, and then they finally settled down and accepted each other.
About a year later I figured, well we have the room, let's adopt another cat and keep him from losing his life. We adopted TyTy, the orange Tabby. There was no missing TyTy (short for Tyler) was a male cat. His testicles were so big that friends would comment on the large size. Luckily that was no longer an issue once we had him fixed!
Finally in 2000, after we graduated college and moved to Royal Oak, Michigan we adopted Kali. I was doing volunteer work at a local cat rescue group and though I had three cats and was fine with my three, I literally feel in love with Kali. She was the cat I would hold in my arms and she would just lie there when I would clean the other cat's cages. She was just so happy and so soft. She looked a lot like Alex except she had a little tabby in her. She quickly made herself at home and became best friends with TyTy and made Alex's life a living hell. If three was a crowd, four was a disaster (at least for Alex!).
Alex was born in 98, Sasha and TyTy in 99 and Kali in 2000. Around 2005 I finally came to the realization that all of our cats would be getting old at the same age and that would probably not be good for us in terms of vet bills.
Fast forward to 2010. TyTy is my kitty that has seen the vet so much that he doesn't even mind the carrier OR the car ride! He had issues with diarrhea that after many unpleasant visits to an incompetent vet, our new vet finally found out it was food allergies. He had diarrhea and vomiting at midnight on a Saturday and had to go to the after hours emergency vet for fluids. He's had teeth removed and this year he started to lose weight and eat cat litter. We took him to the vet who suggested trying different cat litter. We did this and the problem didn't resolve itself so we just dealt with the issue by keeping him isolated from the other cats and giving him non-toxic, non-clumping cat litter.
As the days went on he lost all fat and was just skin and bones. He ate and drank fine. Just this week I took him to the vet. Christmas is coming and I wanted to make sure he was in good health before I left him in the care of my 15 year old neighbor.
My wonderful vet listened to me and thought at first it was hyperthyroidism. Then he did a organ exam where he felt underneath the belly and his eyes widened and he told me there was a mass in there. The first thing that came to mind was a huge blockage of cat litter in his stomach. He quickly dismissed that thought and said it was a mass attached to an organ.
Mass? Mass? You mean a TUMOR?
My vet said, 'Yeah, you can call it a tumor as well' and ordered an x-ray to see where it was.
The x-ray came back showing the tumor was very large and crowding TyTy's organs. I asked him what to do next. He said next we should get a blood test. If his kidneys are failing or liver is shot, we shouldn't even pursue the next option.
His blood work came back fine. Kidneys were slightly elevated but he thought it was because he was dehydrated. He had lost 2 lbs since July and was now 7.7 lbs. Very, very skinny.
Later that day we took him back to the vet for the next step - an ultrasound. They found that this was a tumor attached to the spleen and that if we wanted we could do a spleenectomy to remove his spleen and this tumor.
We talked about it and agreed to do the surgery the next day.
That night I spent some time with TyTy and in the morning I took a photo of him in his favorite place, on the clean clothes pile. I don't know why, but I thought this may be the last time he was home with us.
That morning I overslept so I was running around trying to get the kids out the door. I had TyTy in the car and Justin and I dropped him off at the vet. I wasn't able to see TyTy because he was so far back in the carrier but I opened the cage door in the lobby of the vet office, even with dogs in the lobby waiting with their owners to see the vet, and stuck my arms back in there and gave TyTy a pet and told him I loved him.
I do regret not looking him in the eye but I'm glad I decided that, even though it seemed silly at the time, it's one thing I am glad I took the time to do.
I waited until about 1pm and missed a call from the vet.
I called him back and told them I missed the vet's call. They quickly patched me into the vet. He started out with a sigh and I knew something was wrong. He said, 'TyTy made this decision very easy for us. He wigged out before we even got him into surgery, during the time we were putting in his IV. He started flopping around, drooling and wouldn't calm down. I called you to see if you wanted me to try heroic measured and he passed away slight after. Because we hadn't done the surgery yet and it didn't look like his tumor was bleeding on the ultrasound yesterday I wanted to see what killed him. I remembered yesterday that the x-ray had shown some fluid in the lungs so I did a lung aspiration and it came back all blood. The tumor had obviously spread throughout his entire body and to his lungs, which killed him. It was just a one in a million chance that he was here at the vet office when he died.'
At that moment in time I was so glad I said goodbye to TyTy that morning. I was glad I took the photos of him in his favorite spot.
It didn't hit me until later that afternoon how much I missed him. I had orange cat hairs on the sleeve of my jacket. I saw orange hairs all over the clean clothes and in his favorite spot to sleep. I saw the food bowl he'd never eat from again and the cat litter box he'd never use again.
I would miss the times I would sit on the recliner and he'd climb up next to me to sleep. Or the times I would sleep and he would lie next to me. When I woke in the morning he'd jump on the counter and meow at me until I petted him. He'd be the one meowing like crazy in the evening when it was time for me to feed him his wet food. He'd meow for me to run the water from the faucet and he loved to drink from it.
It's all these ways that he intertwined his way into my daily routine that will make me miss him. He may have been a cat but he was part of the family. He was part of ME and my memories.
TyTy was a special friend. He has been with Joe and I since we were dating and through multiple moves, through the birth of both of my children and he has been a wonderful friend.
I will miss him every day he's not here. He is our first pet I've ever lost and been attached to like this and his death was sudden and hit like a ton of bricks. I knew this day would come and though I tried to mentally prepare for it, I was not prepared.
I am very thankful he was with the vet when he died and they made him comfortable. I am thankful he's not suffering. I am thankful that I adopted him and he was part of my life and I was part of his.
As you can see the photo above and this photo was when he was younger and much healthier. I love these photos of him. He was so happy just laying around in the sun.
<3 RIP TyTy 04/99 - 12/10/10 <3