You may have seen this picture of my cat Jewel floating around my Twitter and Instagram lately, and that’s because last Thursday I had to have her put to sleep. This is my first time ever losing a pet that I had had for a long amount of time and having to do it without my parents was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve had a few pets over the years: Tony and Flipper the goldfish, Lucky the Yorkshire Terrier, Tushie the tomcat and Jewel (my baby). I never knew cats could last as long as she did and each year that passed made me love her even more. Let me tell you her story.
I first met Jewel on 19th November 1998 after getting her from my local Cat Protection. The home we fetched her from wasn’t part of the charity but they had told them that they had kittens for sale. I have never been in a house that I wanted to wipe my feet on the way out and had a pet that needed a vet almost straight away. She was 5 weeks old and already had ear mites and fleas. I was actually really scared that she would die before I even got the chance to know her but thankfully she was born a little fighter!
She was so cute and teeny! I had to carry her in my dad’s woolly hat to keep her safe and from climbing around the car! Since she was still so cute, she couldn’t drink cat milk or water from a bowl just yet so my mum fed her from a teaspoon.
As she grew up, it was obvious that Jewel had an amazing personality! She constantly tried to attack our feet as we walked, tried to bite them when they were under my duvet, bite my head if I didn’t quick enough to feed her and she had the best love/hate relationship with my Dad. He loved to rough play with her where he would hold her round the middle and gently push her around the floor while she bit him and scratched his arm with her back claws. It was so funny to watch him swearing when she did and knowing it was only his fault! That and her rolling around in front of him since he was the only man in the house and needed to get spayed. Unfortunately she only got to know him for 3 years before he died but at least I still remember those moments between them.
Jewel was never the friendliest cat as a teenager. She never wanted to sit on my lap, my bed or butt her head against mine like I’d seen in all the Youtube videos I’d watched. She was even vicious with the vets we took her too! She bit 2 of them, hissed at multiple dogs and had one insane moment where she yowled, hissed, spat and scratched a nurse trying to clip her claws. Crazy cat or what! I noticed that she mellowed a lot in her final years where she more and more wanted to sleep on my lap or next to my head, followed me from room to room and just seemed content to sit with me. It made my heart so warm to finally have a pet who wanted my company!
Unfortunately she started to have more health issues that came along with being an elderly cat. Her teeth were going, she developed arthritis in her hips and back, started to go a bit deaf and couldn’t jump up onto my bed or my lap so I ended up lifting her up.
On the Thursday I’d noticed just how skinny she’d gotten especially after having her fur shaved to get rid of some mats. She was eating absolutely fine but wasn’t putting on any weight and was having a lot of toilet issues. Since I was already visiting the vets to sort out the last of her mats, I asked if I could see her vet to see what he thought. It was then I discovered that she was severely constipated (she’d already had two operations to clear her) and realized that I couldn’t put her through another operation. She’d stopped breathing during her first and had been diagnosed with a heart murmur on the second. She had reached such an incredible age and I’d known for a while that her time was coming.
I think the reason why this was more devastating other than the reason that I was having to say goodbye to my baby girl was that it was only a year and a bit after losing my mum. Jewel was that final connection to both of my parents and now I felt like I truly alone.
The vet was really nice and let me hug her as she slipped away and it wasn’t until I was paying the bill that it hit me that I was having to leave without her. That’s when I really started to cry and the people who I’d been talking to in the waiting room (two were owners of black cats as well) actually looked teary for me. I did appreciate that even if I didn’t at the time. As soon as I got home I had to get rid of any evidence that I’d had a cat so I threw away her dishes, her cat litter and the last bit of food she had. It might sound cold but I knew it was the only way I was going to be able to cope and, already having depression, I had to make sure that I didn’t wallow.
Thank you guys for all of your tweets and DMs on Twitter. I will be looking for a new little cat in the New Year (my local RSPCA has a bad case of cat flu there right now) so I won’t be alone for too long. If any of you have gone through the loss of a pet this year or may possibly have to say goodbye soon, you can get through this. It feels like your heart has shattered and that you may never get another pet like the one you lost ever again but you can get through it!