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Bye Bye Folds

Bye Folds

Folds seemed to be doing better immediately after her surgery. But a week or so later she took a turn for the worse. She was lethargic. Then she got more lethargic. She couldn’t make it to the litter box. She didn’t have the strength to eat. She could barely take a drink of water. She was losing weight almost before our eyes.

We took her back to the vet. They gave her fluids intravenously for a couple days but she didn’t really improve much. It seems her kidneys were giving out. I guess this might have been triggered by the surgery. In any event, when I talked to the vet today he made the point that if she was a human being she’d be getting dialysis and would be on the list for a kidney transplant. But since she’s a cat such treatment options don’t exist.

I expressed concern about her suffering and asked if he recommended euthanasia. He said yes.

After I hung up the phone, I thought to myself: This is surely the right thing to do, and I don’t even like this cat, so why am I crying?

So I went there, signed the necessary papers, and then got to hang out with Folds for a while while the doctor treated another patient. She was in a truly pathetic state, skinny as a rail, and unable to stand erect.

I wondered, of course, if I was doing the right thing. I wondered if I should consult with Xy first. She loved Folds more than me. I figured she might appreciate me dealing with this, but then again maybe she’d want to say goodbye? I remembered how she had cradled Folds in her arms for a good hour or more Wednesday night. So I figured she’d said her goodbyes already. Maybe she sensed what was coming.

I stroked Folds’ head. She tried to nuzzle my hand but she hardly had the strength.

When the doctor came in at last he was very apologetic that it had come to this, and he took pains to emphasize that this was the humane course of action, as she wouldn’t have much quality of life going forward.

Then he shaved her foreleg, found her vein which was shrunken due to anemia caused by her kidney failure, and he injected her with a fatal dose of some barbiturate. I thought I might look in her eyes and see if I could tell the moment of her passing, but she turned her head away slightly, and the drug acted so fast she was dead before the doctor withdrew the needle.

So then I gave the doctor a hug, got on my bike, and rode away to pick up my daughter.

Post Script: This makes six cats we’ve lost in nine years. And yet only the third confirmed death. (The other three cats just disappeared. In some ways that’s more difficult.) I believe this is the closest I’ve ever been to any actual death. I mean I’ve swatted bugs but that doesn’t seem the same.

Published inAilurophilia


  1. Julie (Marietta,GA) Julie (Marietta,GA)

    If it had not been for the loving care you guys have been giving Folds for the past eight years she would not have lived nearly as long as she did. She would probably have starved in that shed or perished in Katrina. She was saved on both occasions by you and XY. I know what you guys are feeling right now and please know that you really had no other choice. I respect you both for trying everything to save Folds and not giving up without a fight.

    R.I.P. , FOLDS

  2. Jaime Coffman Jaime Coffman

    It is so hard to see our pets suffer. As mine are pretty much my children it is particularly rough on me. I cannot imagine having to make the decision to euthanize, but that being said, it is the best thing when they are suffering and there is nothing else that can be done. Folds was lucky to be loved by your family and to have you with her as I am sure it comforted her. I lost my beloved Kelsie–a 4 YO Australian Shep mix–after she had spent a week at the vets. We thought her surgery was successful, but she died sometime during that night. I think the hardest part for me was not being with her as she left.

  3. David David

    You are to be commended for going to the lengths you did. Folds was a street urchin and y’all gave her a real home and a real life.

  4. mike paxson (and susie) mike paxson (and susie)

    Sad day in Bloomington. Folds had a good life and was lucky to come across you guys.

  5. Julie (Marietta,GA) Julie (Marietta,GA)

    Re your post script — that experience is one you will never forget. I’m hoping neither you nor XY will have to go through this again.

  6. AnnaAnastasia AnnaAnastasia

    This fall was the first time that I ever had to do the same thing, only it was to our dog. Even though there were no other options, it still makes me cry from time to time.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You are compassionate, and Folds was loved.

  7. Holly Holly

    My condolences, Bart. You did the right thing. I’m a day late, but I’ll light a candle for Folds tonight.

  8. toneknee toneknee

    This is probably one of your saddest postings to date. That last picture of Folds affected me. I’d have to say thanks for showing this poor creature compassion though she wasn’t your favorite.

  9. Brian Rice Brian Rice

    Last July I had to put down our 17-year-old dog, Baby, and in June of the year before, her sister, Gypsy. I’d had them since they were 9 months old. I had no doubt that it was the right thing to do in each case, but I cried like a baby and still miss them terribly. Domestic animals become a reflection to us, I think, of the more nobler parts of our nature. They seem purer and more true to themselves than humans can ever be. Cats, despite the tendency to be aloof, still possess a certain admirable, independent spirit. Dogs – well, an outside dog is a dog, but an inside dog is a member of the family. Our pets are us, only better. My wife is an ICU nurse who deals with human pain, suffering and death every day. She appreciates the outlet we have for ending a suffering animal’s life with dignity – an outlet that is, tragically (in many cases), denied to humans. Rest assured, you did the right thing, Bart.

  10. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    There is some ancient cultural rap that
    cats are monitors of our souls, reporting to the cosmos,
    or to the hemi-semi-demi-Gods as to our
    karmic status, whether we’re naughty or nice.

    Keep being Nice, B & Xy

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