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Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: Goodbye, My Love. Part 4 of 5

I offered Bob some treats. He didn’t really want anything. He couldn’t seem to sit normally. He was “meatloafing” and then hung his head. He was sitting in the sun, at least. He wasn’t cold. I moved his bedding around on the floor to make him more comfortable. I offered him a sniff of catnip, but he didn’t notice it any more. I kept checking on him every few minutes. In the afternoon I picked him up and put him on his favorite blanket on the sofa. I rolled one edge up so it could act as a pillow. Bob rested against it, but never really settled down. I sat next to him and jumped, every time he moved. Did he need the litter pan? Did he want water? He was very weak now…where was Sam?

Bob and Nicky the Last Time.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the last times Bob & Nicky had a nap together.

I called Sam, he was on the way home. I told him to hurry. Once he arrived we decided not to leave Bob alone any more. I fed Bob around 5:30pm. He really didn’t want it. I got two syringes into him, but he didn’t want the third. He threw it back up. He hadn’t vomited in months. He was so weak he could barely move. I gave him some water. He was so thirsty. He almost drowned in the bowl. He could barely hold his head up. When he was done, I dried his face and gave him a kiss. I’d been with him all day. I needed a break. At 8 pm I asked Sam to sit with Bob so I could look in on the kittens and get them fed. I sat with them for a little over an hour. I didn’t want to go back downstairs. At 9:15 pm I walked back into the living room. Sam was sitting next to Bob. I asked him how Bob was doing. I looked at Bob and he was lying awkwardly, with his head hanging over the rolled up edge of the blanket. I said something about it to Sam. He thought Bob was too warm. I’d put a heating blanket over Bob and he had gotten out from under it and laid down away from it-more like fallen over.

Bob on the Deck Sweet.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Growing ever thinner, Bob still enjoys being outside.

I lifted Bob’s head. He was facing away from me. His head was curiously heavy. He wasn’t resisting me at all. I put my index finger near Bob’s open eye. He didn’t blink or react. I could have touched his open eye, but didn’t. Bob was still breathing.

I realized that Bob was in a coma.

He was no longer responsive to our touch. It was time.

All I could say was; “Oh no…!” as the tears began to roll down my cheeks.

Just Bob.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. All of his glamorous fur gone and still losing weight, Bob still had his dignity.

Sam sat on the sofa and I sat on a footstool so I could be just about the same level as Bob. We started to pet him and I talked to him. I told him I loved him. I told him it was okay to go, but that we would miss him for the rest of our lives. I told him to let go. I wanted this over and done, but I didn’t want this to happen at all. I wanted my old Bob back. My fluffy sweetheart who never growled-who everyone loved, but now he was dying in front of me and there was no turning back. I had to stay strong for Bob.

Forelorn copy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

Bob stretched out suddenly and put his front paws together with the paw pads touching. I suddenly smelled feces. Bob was letting go of his bodily functions. We didn’t move to clean him up, we just kept petting him and talking to him. His body was shutting down. This is what happens. We had to stay with it.

Bob’s breath became a struggle for him. He would take in a sharp breath, then let it out raggedly. Each breath was paced further and further apart. Then, Bob stretched out again, his body suddenly relaxing. I realized it was the first time he really looked comfortable in weeks. Then he took another breath…and a few moments later, there were no more.

Bob was gone.

It was 9:53 pm EST. September 3, 2011.

We got some warm water and paper towels. Sam and I washed Bob’s body. I lit a candle. We kept petting him and talking to him as we worked on removing the soil from his body. Though he was gone, it mattered greatly to me, to respect his remains and to treat them with great regard.

When we finished bathing his body and he was in a comfortable position, I tried to close his eyes, but I could not. I looked at his face and he still had that “Puss in Boots” look…emaciated and hollow-eyed, but it was still there. I loved that face more than I can say. I loved that cat more than all the others-even dead, his body growing cold, I was glad to be near him.

We sat with Bob and didn’t say much. After an hour or so I asked Sam to stay with Bob so I could go back upstairs and tuck the kittens in for the night. I walked into the foster room and sat on the edge of the bed. I didn’t want to see these two month old kittens-with their entire lives ahead of them. I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to think about cats. I looked at Amberly and her five kittens and said; “My cat just died.” I hung my head and cried.

Bob on the Bed.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Goodbye my sweet friend.

Within seconds, every one of those kittens along with their mother, Amberly, came up to me. They formed a semi-circle around my crossed legs and started to purr. A few reached out their paws and touched me, wanting to be petted. It was if they understood my pain and were trying to comfort me. I told them thank you and gave them some pets, turned off the light and left the room, the tears racing down my face leaving a trail of drops on the floor behind me.


Goddess Bless You, Robin

Robin - my heart goes out to you. We've lost two of our fur babies this year and I'm afraid it really never gets easier. I don't have the right words but I have such admiration for you and for how you honored Bob by letting him go on his terms. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

I wish I had something profound to say.....and yet all I can think of is how sorry I am....

Robin, I remember this vigil with Peaches just last October, and others before her. It's painful, but an honor to be with a living being when they cross over from this presence to the next, a moment later, honestly, to always remember.

I truly appreciate your series about Bob. I'm sure it will be a learning experience for many who read it.

Our thoughts are with you, mine, my current feline family, and all those who watch over me.

I'm so sorry for your loss. May the end of his battle begin to bring you a little peace, where the memories of the fabulousness of his life outweigh the sorrow of his death.

I've written about anything and everything, cat-related and not, but I've never been able to really write about the death of any of my sweeties. Thank you for expressing all the pain in words I could not express.

Bob couldn't have asked for anything more than to die happily and quietly, with you and Sam to love him. You did what was right.
Those dear kitties, to come and comfort you - so sweet. Cats often can pick up our feelings/ thoughts - I'm sure they understood. Maybe Bob was there with them too. I'm sure he won't be far away, Robin!

My deepest deepest sympathies.
You and Sam were so brave to give Bob this moment to go on his own.
Letting go is the hardest thing. Even though Bob is always in your heart, letting go of the day to day physical pleasure of just having him there is so hard. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

It is so sad!!! I can't stop crying and I am at work right now in my lunch break... Big hugs to you Robin!!!

So much love to you, sweetheart. I could never do what you have done. I do not have the strength. Our dear Dr. Patrick Kotter in NY helped us with Sweet Pea, my beloved Cougie-bear, and our June-Bug. Lord knows what I'll do when it's Quincy's time.

Bob was loved, and he knew it. He still knows it.

How are the other furry ones handling the loss?

Again, love and head bumps.


Dear Robin, you and Sam have my eternal gratitude and respect as a cat lover for all that you did for Sweet Bob. I have been following his story and have fallen in love with him through your words – My heart is broken at his passing and I know that your mourning for him is deep and that you will miss him forever – Bob will live on in your heart and memory as he runs free over the Rainbow Bridge, with his beautiful coat restored to it’s glory – he will have many patches of sunshine to curl up in and all the fresh catnip and grass to nibble that his heart desires. Our beloved cats are with us on earth for such a short time – bless you for making all the cats that touch your life happy, safe and healthy. Thinking of you at this trying time and sending you a big hug.

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