Fei Chai Mao, Victor (1998 - 2006)
Today, I had the sad task of euthanizing my cat, Victor. He suffered from a congenital defect that caused him to form large crystals in his bladder. He had several major operations during his 8 years of life and suffered a great deal from infections and urinary tract blockages. For the last few weeks he had developed a severe infection and had stopped eating. Our excellent doctor, Dr. Liz Koskenmaki at the Aloro Pet Clinic, concurred with us in deciding to end his life. Lisa, my partner and friend, went with me to have the doctor perform the procedure. Victor was in sad shape and could barely move when we put him in the carrier. We spent a good deal of time with him, reflecting on good memories we had; petting him and talking to him.
Eventually, we went into the examination room where Dr. Liz explained that she would be injecting him with an overdose of barbituates. We talked some about the history of his illnesses and speculated that his condition was probably congenital; brought about by in breeding at the pet store where we bought him. She took Vic away to insert an IV into his right front paw. She came back and set him on the counter where we touched him and petted him. I put my forehead to his forehead and held it there for a minute. Dr. Liz injected him first with a "flush" fluid (probably water) to make sure the passage was clear; she then injected him with the barbituates which was a strange pink color in the syringe. I asked her about it and she said it was to "make sure no one got the drug mixed up". I saw Vic try to pull his paw back a bit as the fluid rushed into his veins. He shuddered a bit (I could feel him through my hands) and then after a second or two, collapsed completely with his tongue sticking out of his mouth. The doctor put her hand over his side and said "he's gone". She told us that he might have some involuntary reactions after death, but that this was normal and did not indicate that he was aware or alive. She said we could stay with him as long as we would like and they would take care of his body (we had made arrangements for cremation).
We stayed with Victor's body for a few minutes; just saying goodbye and touching him. Twice he seemed to gasp for breath, but these were the involuntary reactions Dr. Liz had mentioned to us. Still, it was startling and both Lisa and I were overcome.. We gathered his carrier and while Lisa paid the bill, I went outside in cold, looked at the slowly darkening sky and held Vic's empty carrier in my arms. I felt very, very sad. We drove home in silence; holding hands and trying not to sob aloud. When we got home we went into the bedroom and started playing with our three other cats, Roxie, Sylvia and Buster. They were starting the process of accepting Vic's death and living with it.
Victor was a good friend. He liked to lie on his back in the middle of the floor and fall asleep. Everyone had to go around him because he was so big (18 lbs). He would follow me around the house and brush up against me with his big 'ole head so hard it would hurt sometimes. When I was at the computer too long, he would let me know by plonking down in front of the monitor. He loved to come in and lie next to me while I was reading in bed. I think those times were my favorites. Victor loved to eat. We called him "Fei Chai Mao", which is "Fat Cat" in Cantonese. All you had to do was crack the lid on the can of cat food and before the sound had stopped echoing, Victor would be at your feet meeowing for his dinner. He also had the delightful habit of throwing all of his weight on to your foot so you could scratch him with your toes. Lisa has put together a page of photos we've taken over the years. One photo in particular has to be the craziest photo of a cat I've ever seen. You'll know it when you see it. He was really something.
Goodbye, Fei Chai, I will miss you terribly.