Published on Jan 23, 2020
in category cats
On Monday I had to put my beloved cat, Irida, to sleep.
Twelve years ago, I wanted to get a pet. My friends helped me find one via a post about a stray young cat which was found under a truck in my area. After two days the cat was in my house and that's how one my most beloved beings came into my life.
I was thinking of names and I ended up naming her "Irida" (which is a variation of Iris) after a server in my university. It worked well for me that everybody thought the name was given due to her special look.
This blog is named after her.
If you are a cat owner you must already know that you are the only person that really knows and understands his/her behavior. Cats are not as expressive as dogs are, but sooner or later we do feel their love and we can understand their mood and their needs.
In my case, living with Irida was as if I had another person in the house. We had conversations that always ended when her look was telling me "You do know I can't speak, you're speaking alone".
As the years were passing by, our relationship was changing and even more feelings were being expressed from both parts.
Every single post of this blog has been written with this thing on the side.
Whenever I was in the house, Irida was next to me. She was following me everywhere I was going.
After the first two or three years she started "requesting" my arm to sleep on it during the night.
In the winter, she was scratching the blankets to force me elevate my hand and create some kind of a nest for her to lay down.
So many more things to say in this section. View photos instead.
In September, while I was petting her, I noticed something like a pimple outside her mouth. After a very stressful process of tests instructed by our vet, she was diagnosed with Squamous cell Carcinoma on her jaw.
The cancer was really aggressive and we had to act fast. The doctors said that we can remove the bottom right part of the jaw which was the part that the tumor was located at. It was very hard to take a decision when you couldn't know how things would turn up. Would she be able to use her mouth afterwards? How much time would she gain? Would she be suffering after such a surgery?
We decided to have the surgery. And everything went fine.
The first days she couldn't eat on her own and we used a tube in order to feed her.
I feared that this might be it, she might not be able to use her mouth.
After 3 days she started eating on her own. And not only canned food which was soft. She started eating her dry food as if nothing had happened. The surgery went fine, the doctors did a really good job.
Everything was fine until recently. Irida was happy, she was playing with her toys, purring and doing her usual crazy moves when she was bored.
During Christmas though, she started keeping her mouth open. The scheduled tests (including scans) didn't show anything in her lungs or somewhere else. The doctors couldn't see anything developing in her mouth either. I was hoping that something else was the cause of this, like the feline asthma or the exposure to the heat of the radiators.
Few weeks ago though, she started having difficulties after eating: she was choking and she was heavily breathing. The doctors used general anesthesia and checked her larynx and that's where the problem was. There was a metastasis in her base of her tongue. The tumor was not huge but big enough to cause big discomfort.
Even if a surgery was doable, everyone was not convinced that it should be done. I didn't want her to suffer again with such a bad prognosis. When the moment came that even canned food diluted with water was hard to be consumed, putting her to sleep was what should be done.
I cried a lot, I am in pain but as the days pass by I'm feeling a bitter sweet better. We had some really good moments till the last days. The loss would hurt me the same if not more if she died in a few years from now. I feel better thinking that she didn't die too young or in pain.
When she was two, I got another cat, Phoebe, thinking that they both would make a good company the hours that I was away from home. This never happened, Irida was the boss and Phoebe was always afraid of her. But, in hard times (ex. when the vacuum cleaner is on or when about to visit the vet) they were hiding, one next to the other as if they were hugging, under the bed.
Phoebe is now the cat of the house, enjoying a full time care. She is a totally different character, more independent but very cute.
When I feel ready again, I will get another cat so that Phoebe can hug her under the bed.