Shamille
My favorite cat of all time, Shamille

I’m likely in the last days of Shamille’s life.  A few months ago she was diagnosed with cancer. We’re not totally sure since she is too old to think about biopsy or complex diagnostics. I did decide to give her prednisolone to help ease her labored breathing. It gave me a few extra months with her. She’s not doing much these days, not eating anymore, just fading away. She still looks great, those big eyes of hers still melt my heart. She’s so fuzzy it hides her emaciated frame.

I’ve been losing pieces of her for the last few months. First she stopped sitting with me for many hours a day. My studio and office felt emptier, even though I still have her sister there. It’s just not the same. I miss the warmth and daily snuggling. Until this past week she’d still get up and greet me at the door when she had the energy. I find myself not wanting to leave for long wondering if she’ll still be here when I return.

I’ve always been allergic to her so we kept her out of our bedroom for many years. Once she was sick, I insisted she sleep with us. She’s spent the last few months between our hearts purring softly off and on all night. It gave me a sense of getting more time with her.

Shamille

She has been totally zen with the whole dying process. I wish I could say the same for me. There have been times I thought my heart was literally breaking. I’m still wondering if my whole being will shatter when she goes. Feels like it might. I just don’t know, I’ve never been so close to a pet before.

She’s not purring much anymore. I really miss it. There is something deeply soothing about a purr. It has gotten me through many challenging times over the last 14 years. Every time I felt upset or if I raised my voice she would come running from where ever she was to soothe me. She has been salve for my heart and soul.

Pets are magic. I’m so grateful for the years I’ve had with her.

 

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35 Comments

  1. I had to do this with my dog, who I had for many more years than my husband at the time. It is a really, really hard process. Big hugs to you Christine.

  2. I had to do this with my dog, who I had for many more years than my husband at the time. It is a really, really hard process. Big hugs to you Christine.

    • Jill, it’s good to know that it really is hard, and that you can go on afterwards. Thanks for the hugs.

  3. Christine, my heart goes out to you. I know how hard this is.

    Elvis’ situation was very similar – cancer was suspected, but he was too old for a biopsy to make sense. He had the laboured breathing, stopped eating, and then lost mobility all within the scope of a couple of weeks. When I think of it now, he had started pulling away from us physically months before, so slowly we hardly noticed.

    Cuddle that kitty as much as she’ll let you – she looks like a beautiful and sweet being.

    xoxo
    Jody

  4. Christine, my heart goes out to you. I know how hard this is.

    Elvis’ situation was very similar – cancer was suspected, but he was too old for a biopsy to make sense. He had the laboured breathing, stopped eating, and then lost mobility all within the scope of a couple of weeks. When I think of it now, he had started pulling away from us physically months before, so slowly we hardly noticed.

    Cuddle that kitty as much as she’ll let you – she looks like a beautiful and sweet being.

    xoxo
    Jody

    • Thanks Jody, I know you were where I am recently. It helps to know others have gone though so similar. I just keep being with her. It’s all I can do at this point.

  5. My love is with both of you. It is a such a gift to have made such a deep bond with another sentient being. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of her, and allow us to have an experience of her depth, and a glimpse into the precious friendship you have shared together. May these days… and this release be filled with grace for you and Shamille. Warm hugs.

  6. My love is with both of you. It is a such a gift to have made such a deep bond with another sentient being. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of her, and allow us to have an experience of her depth, and a glimpse into the precious friendship you have shared together. May these days… and this release be filled with grace for you and Shamille. Warm hugs.

    • It has been an amazing gift to walk with this soul. I am full of so many emotions that seem so conflicting. I guess that is part of the transition to the next phase.

  7. Oh Christine, my heart goes out to you. My eyes filled with tears as I read this because even after two and a half years your writing evokes so vividly what it was like with my beloved Princess. Our sweet kitties are a priceless gift. Love to you and your sweet, fading fluffy kitty and may things go as well as possible for her transition.

    • Thanks Laura, they bring so much joy into our lives. I’m grateful we get to walk with them for their short lives.

  8. Oh Christine, my heart goes out to you. My eyes filled with tears as I read this because even after two and a half years your writing evokes so vividly what it was like with my beloved Princess. Our sweet kitties are a priceless gift. Love to you and your sweet, fading fluffy kitty and may things go as well as possible for her transition.

    • Thanks Laura, they bring so much joy into our lives. I’m grateful we get to walk with them for their short lives.

  9. Oh Christine, my heart goes out to you. My eyes filled with tears as I read this because even after two and a half years your writing evokes so vividly what it was like with my beloved Princess. Our sweet kitties are a priceless gift. Love to you and your sweet, fading fluffy kitty and may things go as well as possible for her transition.

    • Thanks Laura, they bring so much joy into our lives. I’m grateful we get to walk with them for their short lives.

  10. OMG, she looks just like my Penelope cat in her last days in these photos. Penelope beseeched me let her go when she was ready, and she really was one day. I hope you have that moment with Shamille ( what a wonderful name!) . It’s so hard. It’s been 20 years since I had to let my Penelope cat go and I still think of her fondly.

  11. OMG, she looks just like my Penelope cat in her last days in these photos. Penelope beseeched me let her go when she was ready, and she really was one day. I hope you have that moment with Shamille ( what a wonderful name!) . It’s so hard. It’s been 20 years since I had to let my Penelope cat go and I still think of her fondly.

  12. Christine,

    Those of us that have animals love all of them. However, once or twice in your life, if you are lucky, you will get a heart animal. This is the animal that you are attached to with very big strings on your heart. Losing a heart animal is probably one of the absolute worst things you will go through….. but you will survive…. and you will guard your heart tightly for quite a while afterwards….you will get through it, I cannot tell you that you will get over it, but I can say that eventually you will smile when you think them.

  13. Christine,

    Those of us that have animals love all of them. However, once or twice in your life, if you are lucky, you will get a heart animal. This is the animal that you are attached to with very big strings on your heart. Losing a heart animal is probably one of the absolute worst things you will go through….. but you will survive…. and you will guard your heart tightly for quite a while afterwards….you will get through it, I cannot tell you that you will get over it, but I can say that eventually you will smile when you think them.

    • Yea, so hard to imagine having the opportunity to have another animal who I am so close to. But I’m holding out the possibility that it could happen again.

  14. Christine, I am so glad you had those extra few months with Shamille. I know how special she is to you, and I’m glad I got to meet her, too. Thank you for describing perfectly how close you two are!! How very difficult it is to say goodbye. I guess our only other choice is to not love at all…but then that’s not much fun is it? I’m sending warm thoughts your way; Cynthia

  15. Christine, I am so glad you had those extra few months with Shamille. I know how special she is to you, and I’m glad I got to meet her, too. Thank you for describing perfectly how close you two are!! How very difficult it is to say goodbye. I guess our only other choice is to not love at all…but then that’s not much fun is it? I’m sending warm thoughts your way; Cynthia


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