Friday, February 12, 2010

Rest In Peace Big Boy


First off, I apologize to all of you whom I thought to be crazy. I just didn’t understand why you would spend so much money to keep your pets alive. I also couldn’t understand why you became so involved with them on an emotional level. In the world of my childhood, it was very unwise to be emotionally attached to anything, or anyone. That most definitely included animals.

Today I received my comeuppance, in spades…

We’ve had Batman for about 12 years. One of the girls found him as a kitten, wandering around a grocery store parking lot. Of course she brought him home. I was pissed at first, because I’m allergic. The wild little shit grew on me. So much so, that I got allergy shots for two years. He is the reason that I now know how pet owners feel and why they do what they do.

Batman grew up to be a huge tomcat. He never acted like one though. More evenings than not, he could be found on my lap. Most nights he could be found sleeping with his head on one of our pillows. If he was awake, he was probably purring. Even if he wasn’t actually on us, he’d always reach out with a paw and rest it on us. “Just to be sure of us” (like Piglet to Pooh).

In early 2007 we noticed a bump on Batman’s left hip. The bump was a malignant tumor. It was operable, but not curable. The oncologist who performed the surgery on him came very close to amputating his leg. The surgery was touch and go, but she was able to save it. Things went well for about four months, but a subsequent follow up exam revealed that he had more tumors in another spot on the same hip. This time the surgeon was very concerned that the leg would have to come off. We were very upset about it. She told us not to worry because a cat’s rear legs are so overpowered, that they can easily get by with only one of them. She added “the cat will get over it in two weeks, we would get over it in two months, and our friends would take a year.” A little medical humor I guess. It made us feel better though. He managed to keep his leg both times, but gained two hellacious scars

Two years after his second surgery Batman was declared to be in remission. We were very happy because the type of cancer he had was not curable. Everything has been great. Batman was back to his normal self and we’d almost forgotten about the cancer.

Several months ago we noticed that Batman was losing weight. We had another cat that had recently lost weight with some stomach problems, so we didn’t pay it much mind for a while. The weight kept coming off though, so we took him to our regular vet. She thought she felt something in his abdomen and took an x-ray. The results were not good. He had a large tumor in his abdomen and six small tumors in his lungs. Of course we had a thousand questions. None of the answers were good. She told us she would put him down that day, if that’s what we wanted. We were floored. My wife said we wanted to take him to his oncologist before we made any decisions.

His oncologist looked at the x-rays and told us there was nothing she could do. The tumor in his abdomen would eventually make it impossible for him to eat and poop and the tumors in his lungs were going to make it hard for him to breathe. We asked her what we should do. She said to take him home and enjoy whatever time we had left with him. We asked her how long that would be. She said she had no idea, but Batman would let us know when it was time. When he stopped eating, pooping, or grooming, we’d know it was time. She also said we’d know when he started having pain.

We got two extra months with him, they were good months. He continued to lose a lot of his weight and only started having troubles eating and evacuating very recently. We made an appointment for today to make sure he didn’t suffer.

The process went quickly and painlessly. I held him when the vet put him under and when she stopped his heart. Then the strangest thing happened. His body seemed to relax and he no longer looked so skinny. He looked like he did a year ago. He looked healthy. He was gone, but he looked healthy. His eyes were open and when I was petting him I thought he might respond. Of course he didn’t. When I looked up at Dr. Wood, she was crying also. They knew Batman and what he’d been though over the past several years.

Batman purred right up until the time that he was gone. I would have expected nothing else from him.

Rest in peace big boy...


  1. mrscolombo@yahoo.comFebruary 12, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    God's creatures one and all. Very sweet blog Pat. Beautiful cat. What a love. It's hard to lose a love like that. But aren't you glad you had him! God bless. Give Paula a hug for me!

  2. There are no words to explain what a love he was and how we enjoyed having him be a part of our lives. How could you say goodbye to something you don't want to leave? We know it was the best thing for him to let him go today, but how can you inflict that much pain on yourself? I know, by knowing it was best for him, no matter how much it hurt us. We have a very heavy heart today and will for a long time to come. Pat gets it and doesn't know whether to thank me or be mad at me for introducing him to the love you can have for your animals.......Thank you honey for opening up your heart for him and for loving him as much as you did, even though he caused you to sneeze and be allergied everyday. He was your boy and I'm so sorry!!!!

  3. I've had cats my whole life, and I feel for you. It's always tough to lose a pet. They just become a part of your life. Sounds like a great pet. Great name too. Sorry to hear about this.

  4. Thanks! He got the name because he had such huge ears as a kitten...

  5. Melissa Norris-PaladinoFebruary 12, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    So sorry poopa... Im not very good at goodbyes, so I kept my distance. I wouldn't have left your house if I would've come by last night. Poor Batty, but D said the same thing about Lucy, he said she was the most peaceful she had ever been in the almost 8 years we had her...Rest in peace Batty...

  6. I'm sorry. This is so sad. Its amazing how animals become our family and we have an emotional relationship with them. My cat Buddy is my best friend. He's helped me through a rough time or two.

  7. Thanks Noelle!
    I know what you mean. I feel like I just lost a best friend. We have three other cats as well, but he was my boy...

  8. What kind comments from people that didn't even know Batty Boy!!! Thank you!!!

  9. I can very well empathize with the loss of a loved animal, and in particular a cat. We had an incredibly social Siamese named Sam Siam who was the king of the cul-de-sac. He'd go out and fight dogs and get slobbered on by coyotes and bring home rabbits, quails and lizards and the occasional well-batted hibiscus flower.

    We got him when he was some 2 or 3 years old and had him for many years until one day we noticed a growing tumor/cyst on his chin. He was an old kitty by this time and the vet didn't think there was much to do except try to make him as loved and comfortable as possible and hope against hope it'd go away.

    Unsurprisingly, it didn't, and he couldn't stop drooling and couldn't eat so we gave him all the love we could until it was necessary to have him put to sleep to make sure he didn't suffer any more.

    He was a great cat, as it sounds like Batman was, and it's always sad to lose such well loved and such loving pets.

    I hope the good times with him remain in your memory well and that maybe one day the appreciation for pets that he taught you will motivate you to help out another animal.

  10. Ah, the back's of my eyes are stinging! How tragically sweet & sad. I'm glad you were able to experience having a pet--they give things to us that people cannot. They are not judgemental, they don't talk back & they give unconditional love. I believe pets show the love that we ought to show for one another.
    Batman! What a wonderful name for a cat!

  11. Thanks so much. It's going to take a while. We have a few other cats, but Batman was just different.

  12. Kerrath,
    Thanks! Sounds like "Sam Siam" was a real character. Batman was also. He was big and looked like he would do those "tom cat" things, but he was a total moosh. Of course there is no replacing a pet like that, but...
    My wife works for an org. called "new beginnings for animals" and about a month ago we got another "rescued" cat. Taken from the pound on the eve of the day she was going to be euthanized. She's a sweetie...
    thanks to everyone for commenting and sharing your feelings about animals

  13. Kerrath, I forgot...we couldn't ever let him or our other cats outside because of the coyotes. Outdoor cats only last a short time here, as the coyotes are all over the place...
    we're in south orange county and see them walking down the street like they own the place!

  14. Dear Pat,
    I just wanted to let you know that I'm so sorry for your loss. I wish you and your family all the best with your new rescued kitty.

  15. Thanks Kate,
    We appreciate the nice words.

  16. I'm sorry to hear about your kitty, Pat. I had to put down my dog a few years ago, and I've never stopped missing him. :(

  17. thanks so much. I miss that boy...

  18. uuuuuuuuugh. I finally got the courage to read this one! needless to say, my box of kleenex on my desk came in handy just now! <3 Miss that boy!

  19. Me too!
    except I used my sleeve.
    our house just isn't the same...

  20. Oh god..I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the stress, pain and hurt you went through.

    My heart was aching for you and I had to re-read through tears twice.

    I don't know you but I am sending hugs and understanding your way.

    RIP Sweet Batman.

  21. Penny - Thanks for the nice words. After I read your comment, I read the post again. I still really miss him. We have three other cats, but it's just not the same around here.
    thanks again...

  22. Pat, I don't know how I missed this the first time around but something today just made me click on his picture and read the post. It brought back memories of our pet Boston terrier who was a "rescued dog". We took great care of him for the last ten years of his life. He was the best, considering how he was treated before we got him. I still remember rushing him to the animal hospital on New Years Eve 2008. It was the most devestating night of our married life. My wife was destroyed and I was thankful I did not have to work for a few days. Our other Boston kept looking all over the house for Juno for days. We had him creamated and his ashes are in a small box on the movie rack in the living room. Funny, I still talk to him every morning before work. Pets are like kids...except they never learn to wipe their own butts! Belatedly sorry for your loss.

  23. Chuck,
    Yeah it was really hard. Our house and family aren't the same without him. The vet's office later sent us a condolences card with his inked footprints on it. They also gave us a plaque with a single footpring and has name in it. Geez, even writing this is getting to me. I still miss the heck out of him and like you, I think about him every day. We have three other cats and sometimes one of them will walk into the room and for just a second, I think it's him.

    Sorry to hear the story of your terrier. I can tell that it ripped you guys up. It seems like animals get to a spot in our hearts that people don't have access to. Thanks for the nice words, my friend...

  24. Found your blog via the hop and am now following. I love the pictures!

    So sorry about the loss of Batman. I know how hard it is to go through. He is very pretty.

    We work with a rescue for cats and currently have five and a confused dog.

  25. I appreciate you sending me to this post. You capture Batman's tug on your heart and I like the story of your love and willingness to sacrifice for a stray who became your precious pet. They are all precious to me and we've had many cats. Maggie was the extra special one...just something about her. Everyone said so. I thought she'd live forever because the fox, weasel, bobcat never got her. Not meant to be.

    Batman's photo at the top is terrific. Cats are so deep, aren't they? You capture that too.

  26. SenoraG - Thanks! I bet your dog is confused! LOL... Thanks for commenting and following!

    California Girl - My pleasure!
    You are right, cats are very deep.
    We adopted another one. She was in a cage for 7 months before we got her, she had taken over our house! She's the larges female I've every seen, but so gentle with our other cats...
    Thanks for reading!

  27. I'm so glad you joined our ranks and learned to love a cat. Loving an animal always brings heartache because their lives are so much shorter than ours, but the time we spend with them makes it all worthwhile. I'm glad Batman found his forever home with you.

  28. Betty - I'm sorry! I don't know how I missed this comment. Thanks so much. Still miss him...

  29. I saw your comment on Altadena Hiker and thought I'd stop by. As soon as I saw the picture of Big Boy I had to read about him. Your story of his passing has me in tears, my big girl, Frieda, at my feet. Sounds like Big Boy was an amazing cat, the perfect feline spirit. I'm glad he opened your heart and you got to love a cat in such a big way but I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how it tears at your heart. You wrote a wonderful tribute to him.

  30. Susan - thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! After reading your comment, I read the post again myself. I'm also in tears. I suppose it's going to get easier, someday, but I'm not sure..
    He was a great soul. A gentle giant. thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.

  31. Hugs my friend. It's rare we can say we understand and really do--but this time I feel your pain, loss and also the JOY that you had with Batman!

    RIP Big Guy--say Hi to Gabe for me!


  32. That is the sweetest story! Made me bawl at the end of course, but who wouldn't? That photo you have in your sidebar is incredible, and if I ever have a cat, I want him to be exactly like Batman.

    So sorry you had to lose him!! ='(

  33. Janet - thanks Janet! It's just over a year since he's been gone and I still get weepy when thinking about him (like right now). We got another rescue after we lost him and she is doing everything she can to take his place. She's a huge tortise shell and has extra toes on each foot!
    thanks again, I really appreciate the kind words...

  34. I just found this post because of that amazing photo you have of Batman. Such a beautiful creature. Reading this story of him reminds me of a comment left on our blog many, many years ago (after my sister had to have her much-loved Great Dane put down):

    Every puppy is a potential heartbreak,
    but oh the in-between.

    We do love those furry creatures; we let them into our hearts. Our kitty cat Bonsai is 13 years old and has never been much of a healthy cat. We watch him carefully now, and know that someday we will have to say our farewells. I will remember this post and Batman.

  35. Robin - Thanks for commenting on this Robin. Batman has been gone since January of 2010. I still can't think about him without feeling the pain again. Like you said though, "oh the in-between." That makes it all worthwhile.
    We have four cats again and 3 of them are pretty old. I already feel the faint tugs of future heartbreaks coming our way.

    Hopefully, you will have many years with Bonsai (love the name). Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Robin.

  36. Anonymous - Pets really are good for us. Thanks so much for the comment. I still miss Batman also. Just looking at the post and his photos really got to me. I loved that boy...

  37. If it helps, feel good that you gave Batman a lot of love and a good life. You were both better for the experience. It is amazing the effect pets have on us. -Mike


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