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So far, ’08 not so great.

standard January 23, 2008 13 responses

We had to put the cat to sleep this morning.
After one great day at home it became apparent that his bladder was obstructed again and that he needed to go back to the vet. We gave him his meds and his subcutaneous fluids last night in the hopes that it would help, but he grew increasingly uncomfortable so we took him back in this morning.
The wonderful vet was able to empty his bladder and make him comfortable again, then we had a talk about future care and quality of life. She thought that once this second obstruction was cleared it possibly wouldn’t happen again, but she said that he was suffering from kidney failure and that he would always require subcutaneous fluid injections and constant medication.

Last week, before we knew just how sick he was, M and I discussed what we would do if the only way to keep our first baby alive was to medicate him daily. This was one cat who did. not. like. to swallow pills. All his medicine had to be turned into liquid and I had to run after him to inject them in his mouth. It’s always been something I was willing to do for 10 days for antibiotics, but not something I was willing to subject him to forever. Throw thrice weekly needle pricks into the mix and you can understand why we were leery.

Then the vet explained that, while she could make him comfortable, and could make him pee on his own again, she couldn’t ever make him better. In her opinion he’d have good days and bad days, but eventually there would be many more bad days than good. He’d be able to go outside, but he probably wouldn’t want to, he’d be able to eat his own food, but he might not have any appetite.

To us that was unacceptable. Janvier loved life. He spent his days outside hunting and exploring. He raced around the house after bottle caps, batting them under furniture and pouncing on them when they were least expecting it. He loved cuddles. But above all he loved to eat. He’d wake us up at the crack of dawn to feed him. He’d scream if we were even five minutes late with his evening meal. He’d steal food all the time, especially from the indignant C. He was a smart, loving, trusting, funny cat.
We didn’t want him to settle for less than optimum quality of life; chased around by syringes full of bitter medicine, poked by big ol‘ needles full of saline. We didn’t want him to endure pain he didn’t understand. And we didn’t want to restrict his exploring and foraging outside. He wouldn’t have understood. He would have lived out his life in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety, and as much as we want him with us, we couldn’t do that to him.

Sleep tight little buddy. We promise we won’t let the neighborhood cats take over the garden. We’re going to miss you more than you’ll ever know.

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13 responses

  • I am so sorry for your loss. You made the right decision, but it’s a hard one.

    Janvier sounds like a remarkable cat.

  • So sorry that you had to make that decision. Those pictures are absolutely priceless. No doubt who the baby in the house was! My 9yo kitty was just dx’d with kidney failure last August so I know that decision will be in my future at some point. Thanks for sharing.

  • That’s so horrible. I had to have my cat put to sleep a couple of years agao and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

    I am truly sorry.

  • I’m so sorry about the loss of your baby. Good on you for making such a selfless decicion about Janvier’s future, even though it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. You did the right thing and I’m sure Janvier is thanking you for it. Sending love & a big hug.

    Flic.

  • Oh I am so so sorry. He was much beloved and that makes all the difference. He had a good life because of you.

  • I’m so sorry for you. I had to put down two of my dogs in 2006. The first, Jake, was our baby, too. For weeks, I burst into tears with just the slightest hint of him. I can only say it does get easier and though you’ll still miss him, the pain is not so sharp. It’s about dogs, but the poem Rainbow Bridge, helped me a lot. Wherever it says dog you can “insert cat here”. (Hopefully that was a little comic relief.) I wrote an essay for Newsweek after my dog died and it seemed to touch a lot of people. If you want to read it it’s at http://www.newsweek.com/id/46533 . I’m really sorry.

  • So sorry to hear that you have to part with your cat. You made the right but hard decision. I don’t know if the time comes for my dog, I would be strong enough to make that call.

  • I’m so sorry, and I know it is terrible to go through. You made the right choice, though it’s probably small comfort right now.

  • So sorry about your cat! Um, sorry for the akward transition, but you have been tagged!

    http://fromtalbotstotarget.blogspot.com/2008/01/tagged-im-it-and-now.html

  • I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I know you must be so sad and I’m so glad that you have such adorable pictures to remember him by.

  • Oh, J, I’m so sorry to hear about Janvier. My first dog, I lost to old age (17 years) … that was like 20 years ago … and I still get wistful thinking about her. *HUGS*

  • Jules

    Oh, honey, that’s terrible news!! The worst part about losing a pet who means so much is that when you try to tell people how much pain you’re in about it, they say things like, “At least it was just a cat.” So please give yourself permission to treat it like you’ve just lost a member of your family.

  • Audrey

    So sorry – I teared up reading this and seeing your first baby with all of the baby stuff. I know how hard this was for you – I’ve been there – and I hope you find solace in memories of a great cat! A bird bath or bird feeder in the yard in his memory might be a nice way to memorialize him.

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