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DonMagee
12-22-2006, 09:54 PM
I want you guys to meet Immie. I'm going to get a website for her and post her pictures. I only knew her 1 month but it was long enough to steal my heart. She was the greatest cat I ever knew.

Immie came to me on thanksgiving day. I was sitting outside and she strolled up and rub against my leg. A large orange maine coon cat. She let me pick her up, rub her belly, look at her teeth, and play with her paws. She purred the entire time.

She was in rough shape. Her owners had obviously abandoned her and she had no front claws. She was about 8 or 9 pounds, and starving to death. I fed her some turkey, and played with her on the porch. Eventually, I talked my mother in law into holding her inside for awhile while I tried to get her a good home.

I called every no kill shelter in the book, NOBODY would help me. I'm not the kind of guy that gets all emotional, but for some reason this cat called out to me, it needed my help. I went everywhere, looking for anyone who would help me find this cat a good home. After one week I finally begged my mother to take her. But I had to take her to the vet and make sure she did not have any illnesses that my mother's cat could catch.

I would point out we could not take her because we already have 3 cats. It would be too crowded here with a 4th. I took her to the cheapest vet I could find because we were hurting for cash. He did a blood test, and fecal test, looked her over, said no flee's, spayed female cat, no parasites, and no aids/leukemia.

We took her to my mom's. Everything was great, she got along great with my mom's cat, ate well, no problems. Three days later the phone rang. My mom was concerned, she told me the cat was drinking a lot of water and using the bathroom a lot, and that she had gone to the bathroom on the floor in front of the litter box. At first I dismissed this, but after doing some reading, I got worried. I drove out the next night, picked up the cat, and took her to my vet. My vet was a lot more costly then the other vet. The suspected a infection in the bladder/kidneys, and did a test on her urine and blood. The tests were a few hundred bucks, but I decided I was going to keep this cat. She needed me and I was going to help her get well and live with me and my wife.

The results came back the next day, it wasn't good, Immie's kidneys were failing. We had to get her in right away and decide how to proceed. They explained that it could be one of two things.

1) Accute kidney failure - This would be caused by an infection, or something and could be curable.
2) Chronic kidney failure - This is incurable and fatal.

The tests would put us even deeper into the hole. I could not bring myself to kill an animal that could be fixed by a quck round of antibiotics. So I authorized the tests. They did more blood work, flushed the kidneys with a process that helps restore kidney function. A ultrasound and X-rays.

They found 2 things. First, Immie was a boy. Second, my Immie had incurable cancer. HE had only 30% of his kidney function left. It was suspected he had this for years, and this was near the end. However, I was told that the kidney process they did + a daily pill could cause the cancer to go into remission, and he could live for months to years happy, and pain free.

We took him home. He was the happiest cat I've ever seen, he ate all his food, had no accidents with his bladder. Played, jumped in windows, chairs, ran around. Layed on my lap and purred. He was the happiest I had ever seen him. My wife and I went to bed last night the happiest we had been in a few days. Hoping this medicine would give us time to get to know our new friend.

I awoke this morning, fed the Immie, played with him for a short while, told him he was a good kitty and went to work. My wife did the same thing around noon. All was well, he was playing, looking out the window, and happy as can be. Our plans were to give him his meds around 8pm.

I left work at 4:30pm. I was almost home when the phone rang. My wife was crying, he had vomited all over, was lethargic, drooling, and hiding. The vet wanted to see him ASAP. I rushed home, took him to the vet, I could tell in his eyes it was too late. He purred, let me hold him, and shivered. The vet said it was his time, we had done all we could do.

They gave him a shot to relax him. He slept in my arms purring. Eventually it was time, they came in and painlessly took away his life. I held him in my arms. I cried. I have not cried in almost 20 years. I bawled like a little baby.

In the last few weeks this kitty had stole my heart, my wife's heart, my mother's heart, and everyone else that he met. He was the friendliest cat I had ever known. He loved everyone, he was full of life, and everyone turned his back on him. It is probable that his owners kicked him out because he was peeing on the floors, because he was sick. Had the cancer been caught then, he might of lives years of happy healthy life. But instead he was forced to starve, suffer, and live on the cold streets, though harsh winters (the people in the area said he had been on his own for years) with no food. It's obvious from his scar's that he had to defend himself without claws.

Nobody would help him, he depended on me to save him. I did all I could I spent 1300.00 of money I do not have. There was nothing I could do. I love him with all my heart. I love him so much I had to take away his life so he could have dignity and peace without pain and suffering.

I stayed for an hour after he passed. I wanted to make sure he was really gone. I wanted to make sure he died knowing that someone loved him.

My time with him was cut short. I do not know why he was brought into my life with such little time to share. The vet took a paw print on clay and gave it to me to keep. They are going to cremate him and give me his ashes.

I have some video of him. I am going to get it and put it up on the web so I can see him full of life and happiness.

I told you this so I can get it all out, and so I can say this.

If you choose to get a pet, you are making a life time commitment. Throwing a pet to the side because it is ill, or not taking it to the vet is a death sentence to your pet. If you do this you are trash, you are not deserving the title of human being and I hate you.

If you do not commit yourself fully to the life long commitment that a pet is, feeding him, loving him, playing with him, and eventually treating him for illness and keeping him pain free, PLEASE do not get a pet. To get a pet would be a great injustice.

I'm the saddest I have ever been. My only solace has been burying myself in my training. I miss his purr, I miss his smell, I miss the soft fur, I miss the happy face and run. I miss it all.

I have to tell myself I did all I could, I did the best I could and I actually went beyond my means. I have no idea how I'm going to pay for these bills. But I don't care. I would of given anything for just one more month with him. I begged them to tell me there was something else I could do.

But this is part of being a good pet owner. There comes a time when you must choose beyond your own desires, and do what is best for you pet, letting them die a painless dignified death, surrounded with those who love them.

I love you Immie, I only wish I could tell you that a million billion times more.

For now, here are some pictures of him, when he was happy.
http://don.magee.googlepages.com/immiepics

Bronson
12-23-2006, 12:56 AM
You're a good man Don and you did a good thing. You loved him and when his time came you didn't let him suffer. He got to live his last weeks in comfort with a family who cared. A peaceful end to a hard life.

Best wishes,

Bronson

MM
12-23-2006, 06:45 AM
There's probably a reason Immie found you. You gave him your time and love when he needed it the most. Not many would have done what you did.

Take care of yourself,
Mark

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 07:09 AM
Thanks for sharing this with us Don. I am sorry for your loss.

DonMagee
12-27-2006, 05:41 AM
Thanks for the kind words.

Ron Tisdale
12-27-2006, 08:07 AM
Osu!

God has a really nice place waiting for you.

My cat Paki was a stray. They make the nicest friends.

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
12-27-2006, 09:48 AM
My cat buddy, Sammy (an orange tabby), was with me for sixteen years. A few months ago we were napping with my two dogs on either side of me sitting on the couch and Sammy was laying on my chest. When I woke up the dogs started stirring and Sammy rolled off onto the floor. He had died during his nap on my chest. The dogs, Max and Susie Q, along with me, still miss Sammy.

I suspect another cat will find you at some point. People like you are like magnets for cats.

Best regards,

Kevin Wilbanks
12-27-2006, 10:00 AM
I went through something like this with several cats, dogs, and a litter of kittens in Jacksonville, Florida. People treat animals like crap in the south - far moreso than other places I've been. I had neighbors that obviously went through several pets per year.

One of the first things I encountered when I got there was a wandering dog and her puppy, the mother was obviously dying of malnutrition and the rest of the litter had obviously died. I took them to the pound because I had no way to keep them and saw no other option at the time - I later discovered that the pound had something like a 90% kill rate. I saved one dog from drowning in a backyard pool. It was scrambling to get out but couldn't. The owners of the house just left the backyard open. Sometimes I let stray dogs go because the area was so glutted with puppies and dogs that there was nowhere to take them, and they seemed healthy enough that they might have a "home" nearby that fed them and let them in sometimes.

I kept one puppy and gave him to my parents in Minnesota six months later. Someone saw him being thrown from the window of a pickup truck onto the pavement going about 30mph. He was pretty skinned up and his belly was full of mites. Much like the cat in Don's story, within a day he revealed himself to be such a friendly little guy that I knew I couldn't send him to the "puppy store", which I eventually found was the only pathetic hope for his kind there - a place where he would be sold to someone probably not much different from the owner of the pickup. His name is Trotsky, and he now has good life in the frozen north.

The cat situation was worse. Cats aren't treated much differently there than rats are in other places I've lived. Feed a stray and you'll have more than a dozen hanging around in a few days. My girlfriend at the time was a vet tech and covertly trapped and spayed many in our kitchen. We adopted several. Most had the cat version of AIDS, or feline leukemia. We called our favorite 'Snaggle Tooth' because one of his teeth stuck straight out. He seemed to wince when he was eating and puked every day, so we took him to the vet and it turned out most of his teeth were rotted out and he had the cat AIDS - when they were done with him he only had three teeth left....

I suppose you get the idea. If you are moved by the plight of wayward pets, you can make a difference, even without getting so personally involved. You can give money to your local humane society. If you moved from some hellhole to a much nicer place, like I did, consider sending the money to the humane society back there, where it is surely needed more.

As far as cats go, check to see if there is a fix-and-release program in your area. It is really the only way to address the stray cat problem.

Also, consider supporting what I think is the best animal charity in the world, Pasado's Safe Haven.:

http://www.pasadosafehaven.org/

I first heard about them when they went into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina:

http://www.pasadosafehaven.org/KATRINA/HOME/HOME.htm

DonMagee
12-27-2006, 11:16 AM
Neat link, my wife and I have been talking about how the shelters in the area were of no help. They didn't seem to care what we did with the cat. Even with promise of adoption, there were no offers to help get us discounts on vet visits, help on getting i adapted, references on what we should be doing, or help in any ways.

We have been talking about what it might take to start our own shelter. Costs, requirements, legal stuff, etc. You never know. I'd like to target older animals with problems. It seems nobody wants to help them in this area.

Chuck Clark
12-27-2006, 02:38 PM
Don, I have a good friend, Paul Smith, that has a small dojo near Bloomington, Indiana. He and his wife usually have 15 to 20 or so cats (many very old) that they take in when no one else wants them.

Send me a PM and I'll get you in contact with him if you like. I'm sure he can give you lots of info on their experiences in a similar undertaking.

Yoi otoshi o!

Kevin Wilbanks
12-27-2006, 06:09 PM
Neat link, my wife and I have been talking about how the shelters in the area were of no help. They didn't seem to care what we did with the cat. Even with promise of adoption, there were no offers to help get us discounts on vet visits, help on getting i adapted, references on what we should be doing, or help in any ways.

We have been talking about what it might take to start our own shelter. Costs, requirements, legal stuff, etc. You never know. I'd like to target older animals with problems. It seems nobody wants to help them in this area.

I had the same problem in Jax. I actually drove the kittens we found up to Wisconsin, so they could go to a shelter where they had a chance. If you find yourself in a similar position again, try calling local vet clinics and ask them if they know anyone who can help place the animal in your area. I did this and networked to a fellow in a nearby town who had a thing for pit bulls to help place a puppy - which most shelters won't take. Some dipshit had on a short chain in his backyard next door, going insane from loneliness and boredom (he said he bought it as "an investment" and I had to buy it from him to give it away).

Another possibility, if the animal looks like a pure breed is to contact breed-specific rescue groups in your region. Find them via Google. They won't do squat for you if it's not their breed, but if it is, the animal will really get the red carpet treatment.

I encourage you to call up Pasado and ask them questions about how it's done if you want to start your own shelter. They are one of the few four star animal charities. Taking animals that no one wants is standard for them - they even take in farm-type animals. They also run their own mobile fix-and-release, and have done things to help animals in foreign countries. Their creed seems to be that they will not turn away from a problem once someone appeals to them, no matter the details.

If you do start one, contact me privately. I'll help with a donation.

roninroshi
12-27-2006, 06:37 PM
Sorry for your loss...your sweet pet did experience love and caring and I am sure felt that love deep inside...OM MANI PADME HUM !!!

Budd
12-28-2006, 10:22 AM
Don, thank you for sharing that story. It is with both sadness and happiness that I read about your sharing of heart and home with Immie. You have displayed honor, heart and courage in the telling of your story and I can relate on many levels.

Your story definitely touches a nerve here. Both my wife and I were raised by our parents to be animal lovers. All of my father's cats have been rescues. My wife's family has always had a cattery-bred Siamese, along with at least two rescued kitties at any given time.

One of our current cats, a calico who is (and is named) Sassy, picked us out at our apartment complex years ago (where we were not allowed to have any animals) in the winter. She had been abandoned and was cold, hungry and crying. When we first brought her inside, after eating furiously, she sat on our bed, purring and partially awake, for many hours.

She bounced back quickly and declared war on our Christmas tree. We quickly reached a compromise with her that she was allowed to occupy the territory beneath the tree, but was to refrain from attacking the ornaments (though, judging by the ornaments' continued proclivity for winding up on the floor, we strongly suspected that stealth raids were still being carried out). She soon went into heat, which made concealing her presence nearly impossible. Fortunately, my in-laws came to the rescue and we were able to keep Sassy with them until we eventually moved out of the apartment and bought our own place.

It's been eight years since that time and Sassy is still a very bright light in our lives. Our other cat, a cattery-bought blue-point Siamese male, pretends to rule the roost and is very much the baby in the house. Sassy indulges him like a much older sibling might, but will send him running to hide under the bed when he pushes things too far.

Her favorite play-time is right after we've gone to bed, when she'll bring her sponge balls to the top of the stairs, drop them down the stairs, chase them, then carry them back up to the top of the stairs to repeat the process -- making deep gutteral mewing sounds the whole time. It's a regular occurrence that there's at least one sponge-ball left near both of our sides of the bed when we wake up.

Most days, as part of the morning picking up routine in our household, we'll put the strewn about cat toys back in the toy box. It's no surprise when we come home from work to find Sassy's spong-balls grouped near the front-door, much like an offering. When we do catch Sassy playing with them, her eyes have the big-pupilled glaze that a kitten so often displays.

While to the casual observer, she may seem aloof, the reality is that she wants you to follow her away from everyone else so that she can monopolize your attention. Her favorite time to sit in your lap, which is not frequent -- she's more of an in-the-same-room-kitty than a lap-kitty -- is while you're on the computer. If you're typing something sensitive and aren't petting her, then there's a very real danger that your hand will be head-butted to remind you that petting takes precedence.

I had to share the above, because especially during the holiday times when we are most reminded of how lucky we are to have the lives and loves that we do, Don's story reminded me how lucky my wife and I are that Sassy chose us.

Don, despite the pain that you feel from Immie's loss, I bet you also feel very blessed for the time you had with him. I could not agree more regarding what you've said about pets being a "lifetime" commitment. The angriest I've ever been has been what I perceive someone as abusing animals. Please keep us in the loop regarding any efforts towards a cat shelter.

Thanks again for introducing us to Immie.