Recently, an old friend from my high school days and I had planned to talk on the phone after many previous delays. I got a message from him that his cat, Simone, had died that morning and he needed to take care of the situation and needed time to grieve her loss.

Cleo our theatre kitty.
Cleo our theatre kitty.

I was immediately reminded of what my partner and I had gone through last Oct. when our cat, Cleo had to be euthanized. We had had her for about 6 years. We rescued her after we found her living in an old movie theater in downtown Clarkdale (AZ). The theater was nearby our design studio and we would see her out sitting on the steps of the old fire escape.

I had first encountered her one night after a theatre production. She was outside of our office meowing at me and climbing around on some old palettes in the business yard behind our office. I showed her how to get under the gate and let her come into the office where I feed her. It was pretty certain after that that she would be coming home with us. But, I needed to make sure that my partner was okay with it, too. We had another cat at home that I hoped would accept this new cat as a companion.

We agreed to take her in and I took her to the vet for a check up and to have her spayed. But, it turned out that she was already spayed. She must have been a pet for someone and had been abandoned. We were happy to add her to our little family. But, our other cat, Kali, was not so happy. Two unfamiliar female cats in one household is not such a good combination.

That was more than six years ago. During that time, we moved to the Phoenix metro area and we also added another female cat to our little household when my partner’s mother passed away. Her cat, Emma, needed a home and we happily took her in. Cleo was happy to be as far away from Kali and Emma as possible.

Cleo had always been a little rotund. I used to call her a “girl of girth.” Last year she began to loose weight. She lost a lot of weight and she began to have very runny bowl movements on the carpet. The vet did not find any intestinal problems but she did test positive for feline leukemia. A close friend who is a really gifted homeopathic healer gave us a remedy for her. Her intestinal problems cleared up the day we finished her remedies and she seemed to make improvements. However, she was not gaining the weight back.

I undertook to put her on a special diet that I prepared myself and high quality canned food. I was doing all I could to help improve her health and help her gain her weight back. I know that she was doing everything she could to “please” me, making every effort to eat what I prepared for her and patiently going along with my efforts to help her in every way I could.

As the weeks went by, she was clearly getting better. In late Oct. last year, we had a chance to spend a few days at a friends time share in Sedona. We didn’t feel we could leave Cleo alone for even two or three days, so we took her with us. She seemed to be doing well while we were there. On the second night, she was actually very animated and the most affectionate I had ever seen her, especially toward me. But, the next morning, she was acting rather strange. Around midmorning, she had a seizure and it was clear that we needed to take action quickly to relieve her of her suffering.

We had live in Clarkdale, which is near Sedona, for 12 years and we ended up taking Cleo to the vet we had used all the time we were there. The decision to euthanize her was a very sad one for me. I had held out hope for so long for her to heal. But it wasn’t to be. The vet said her liver had definitely failed. She didn’t know if that was the primary cause but it was evident that had happend.

I was devastated. I had worked so hard to help her heal and she hadn’t. It was one of the saddest times I can remember. But, I know she needed to be freed from her body and the suffering that she was experiencing. I still think of her often and find myself still grieving for her loss. Loosing our pets is as painful as loosing our family members and friends.