Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sweet Amy

Amy came to us in the summer of 1996.  She was born a barn cat, in the hayloft at my sister's father-in-law's farm.  She was cute, and fluffy, and the most beautiful cream color, and we brought her home to live with us when she was about 6 weeks old ... before she could get feral and barnified.  From the first time I saw her, snuggled with her sisters in the hay, their eyes barely open, I knew that Amy was different ... and that she was meant to be mine.

We discovered why she's different within a few weeks of bringing her home... Amy is deaf.  She probably has been since she was born.  It's been interesting to have a deaf cat ... she's not afraid of the vaccuum cleaner or other things that make loud noises, she's always been easily startled but she recovers quickly, and her ears are always perked forward in that cute way of hers.  She is incredibly patient, which was a good thing while my daughters were younger ... Amy was often the subject of the girls' photo shoots, which almost always included costumes and props.

Amy is our little opera singer.  One of her favorite things to do is to sit somewhere high and sing arias.  She howls SOOO loud, it echoes throughout the house.  Her favorite places to sing are the top of the stairs and the upstairs bathroom ... which are also the most echo-ey places we have.

One of the benefits of being deaf is that Amy can sleep just about anywhere.  We are known to find her curled up wherever she decides is warm and comfortable.

When our grandson joined the family, Amy loved story time.  She patiently let Drew play with her, like my girls had played with her when they were younger.  I was fortunate to be in the right place with my camera to capture this exchange shown below.

"Say Cheese, Drew."

"Wanna wear the hat, Amy?"

"Are you in there?"

"I love you, Amy."

Amy is my evening time companion, sitting in my lap while we watch TV, purring louder than any cat I have ever heard.  She also purrs MORE than any other cat I know ... often sitting alone, purring happily to herself.

14 years is a ripe old age for a cat, and Amy has recently begin to have health problems.  Her kidneys don't function as well as they should, but the deterioration is stable and she hasn't required treatment.  She has developed serious allergies in the past year, which haven't responded to antihistamines or allergy shots.  Last month, we made the decision to treat her allergies with steroids because her quality of life was getting pretty low.  She responded well to the steriods.  She isn't nearly as itchy now as she had been a few weeks ago, and her fur is even beginning to grow back.

Amy in 2007, for Drew's 3rd birthday.  She has always loved being in the middle of whatever is going on.

Yesterday, I noticed that Amy appeared to have something wrong with her mouth.  Knowing that cats on steroids are more prone to infection, I made an appointment with her vet to check it out.  Dr. Stamp checked her over, looked in her mouth, drew in her breath, and said, "She has a mass under her tongue."  Things like this are almost always cancer in cats ... probably squamous cell, which is aggressive and nasty.  I'm really glad that I was sitting down at the time. 

It's been twenty-four hours, and I'm still having trouble facing the reality of the situation.  My dear, sweet Amy has cancer.  With her other health problems, complicated by her age and the location of the mass, we cannot in good conscience put her through the stress of treatment ... doing so will reduce her quality of life, and is unlikely to have any benefit. 

I have done a lot of crying in these 24 hours.  We can never know how this will progress, but it will probably be a miracle if Amy sees the end of May.  As I do with all of my critters, I have promised Amy that she will not suffer ... I will take the suffering for her and I will set her free when she tells me that it's time ....

... and I will cherish whatever time Amy and I have left together.  It's never long enough.


  1. I'm going through the same thing with one of my corgis. It is so tough!

  2. Oh lovely, I'm so, so sorry for the pain you're going through right now. I wish I could take it away for you.

    It's incredibly and deeply sad when the end of a pet's life comes, particularly one that has been so much a part of your family as Amy has.

    She sounds as though she's had a wonderfulully happy life with you.....but I know that doesn't take away the terrible pain of losing her.


  3. Oh boy, I just went through this with my willow a little over a month ago... He got FIP and we had to put him down immediately. I hardly had time to bat my eyes... So at least you have her now and have time to give her a proper good bye and tell her how much you love her...

    I know you love your kitties as much as I do, so I'm feeling for you now... Love you Connie!

  4. Connie,
    I'm so sorry for you and Amy. They aren't with us long enough and letting them go is so very difficult.

  5. You brought me tears at the end of this. She is one truly beautiful cat. (and I'm not a cat person, I'm allergic) Bless you, for not making her suffer, when the time comes. It's one of the hardest decisions to make, but, I believe it is the right one. Prayers to you and Amy. (I'll cry with you)

  6. Oh Connie, I am so very sorry to hear this news. I have tears streaming down my cheeks for your sorrow. I can tell from your beautiful pictures of her that she is well loved and also very loving. She is beautiful. I wish there were words to take the pain away and we could all be there to hug and comfort you. I hope you will be able to put the pain aside while she is still with you and just share the wonderful love. I bet as I'm writing this she is in your arms and purring and feeling your love, as well.
    Sending you lots of love and hugs.

  7. Call me a pessimist, Connie, but I knew the end of the story from the first paragraph, and the tears started welling. Oddly, not tears of sadness for you (though you have my deepest sympathy) but rather that such a precious, beautiful life is ending. In one way I am happy for you, because you do have more time. I desperately wanted more time with my Pepper (a Standard Poodle) when we had to put him down after he had 'a stroke', but there was no time. I couldn't bring him home for one more week or one more day. He was gone. Of course, there can't be enough time for you and Sweet Amy so cherish whatever you have, cry if you have to but smile and laugh and enjoy her. I know you will. Truly, that part is a blessing. I hate it that pets have to die and leave us.

  8. Oh, Connie. I am so sorry that you and Amy are going through this. It's so unbelievably hard....{{hugs}}}

  9. Dear Connie,

    I've been reading your blog for several months now, primarily because I've become interested in old roses, but also because I love reading your stories about your pets. My husband and I have three cats (I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady!). Over the summer we made the difficult decision to put down our dear Little Bit. It was one of the toughest things I have ever had to do, and I think of her every day. Just remember that your love for Amy will never ever go away and in the end, that is what matters most: you loved her and she you.

  10. Connie, one of our cats, Rusty, was a feral kitten when we got her (and her mom, who was tame). She was afraid of us, but loved one of our other cats, Pindar. When Pindar passed, she became my lap cat, reluctantly. She was still skittish. Then I brought her to have her teeth cleaned and asked the vet to clean her ears (she always had yucky ears). She developed a double ear infection and went deaf. But it was a godsend. She no longer jumped up at every little sound and she could sleep soundly and I could creep up and pick her up and give her her pills (she became hyperthyroid). Sadly last year she developed cancer to the point where she could not eat or drink water and we had to make that awful decision to say goodbye. It's never easy, I guess it shouldn't be. More sadly two weeks later one of our other cats succumbed to kidney failure. We still have one 'old man' left, he's hanging in there. But when he goes, I may need to be medicate for a few days.

    Hang in there. Remember, they leave us, but that makes room for another homeless baby.

  11. I'm so sorry about Amy, but happy to have heard her story. We lost Sunny a few years ago-- he was about 14. He was an inside/outside cat. One day he went away and never came back. He'd live large and we loved him. We got him at the vet thinking he was a she. Sunshine was his first name then he became Sunny. I still miss him.

  12. Connie I have just fallen in love with your Amy from this post. What a beautiful and sweet kitty girl. I am so sorry for her medical problems. I know you will do the right thing...your love for her shines in every word you have written. I know in my heart that I am facing more medical issues with Charlie as he ages. It is the circle of life but never easy. Sending you big purring hugs! Linda

  13. Crying here. My heart goes out to you - spend every moment you can with her, love her and allow yourself to grieve. I'm so sorry, this is just horrible for you.

    my beloved Wilbur died a few weeks ago, and I'm still lost without him. Life is never the same

  14. You will be able to do the best for Amy. She has been a wonderful friend. When we lost our beloved 'Dee' it took us a long time to 'not' see her just around the corner. We still miss her unconditional love but we can tell each other great stories about our memories of Dee. I am so sorry to hear about her serious health problems. You sound like you have a very good vet, our vet was so kind at the end, we came in after hours on the last day and were able to help Dee have a peaceful and stress free goodbye.
    - Joy

  15. I have to add a few words of empathy to those already posted. I treated my toy poodle (Scooter) for heart failure for a year before the meds didn't help any longer. He was almost 15 when I had to put him down and the closest thing I'll ever know to losing a child. I still miss him and that has been two years ago last January. We have a sweet little girl (Pixie) in our life now, a maltipoo. I understand your heartbreak. I told my sister I should never have gotten Scooter at all...she said "well someone else would have bought him and might not have treated him as well as you have and he might not have lived this long without you loving him..that made more sense than anything at the time. You're in my prayers.

  16. Oh sweet heart just breaks for you. I can empathize with every feeling that is filling your heart right now. And I cry with you, friend. I wish I was there to give you a big hug. Amy is such a beautiful little girl. When it's time, she will be waiting for you a the Rainbow Bridge -- and heaven will receive another little angel with open arms. ♥

    xoxo laurie

  17. Connie, I know how much Amy means to you and how devastated you are. I wish there was something I could say to make it all better. Hugs to you my friend and hugs to sweet Amy!


  18. Your poor thing, and Amy too, it's so sad when you have to say goodbye to a constant companion. I have 4 dogs and the older two are starting to show their age. Breaks my heart. Don't let them suffer is the right thing to do and I feel so bad for you.

  19. oh, I am so sorry~ Being a cat lover my heart is going out to you~ and my tears are falling~

    She is a beautiful cat~love her color & you can see she is so special~ My prayers for Amy, you and your family~ May the Angels watch over her~
    keep us updated~

  20. Connie I am so very sorry. It is never an easy thing. I just recently had to put my dog of 14 years down as well as take my mom 13 year old dog down a couple weeks ago. We love them so and they love us. Amy is a very beautiful sweet cat and so lucky to have such a cat. My thoughts are with you.

  21. Oh, Connie - so sorry you have this to deal with. Amy is a beautiful cat! My thoughts are with you during this difficult time -


  22. My heart breaks for you! Your tribute to her as truly beautiful.

  23. I am so sorry. I saw the photo of your sweet cat on another blog's sidebar and linked over to read this story. It's just so sad. Again, I'm sorry.

  24. Your Amy sounds so much like my Daisy. Daisy was born in my Great Uncle's barn. She was one of two kittens, the other died at birth. We adopted Daisy, our first cat ever. We have two dogs. Daisy fit right in, but after a couple of months we realized she can't hear a thing. She's a white cat with green eyes and I guess this is a common occurance. We live on 5 acres and she knows how far she can explore. She also meows loudly and demands attention. She's not as patient as your baby. So sorry she's ill. They become such a part of our family. Be glad for what time you have had. They always live on in our memories.

  25. What a beautiful and precious cat. I can appreciate your distress. I had to put down my wonderful black persian cat, Mozart for much the same reason just before Christmas. It is one of the hardest but yet loving things we have to do. He was 14 like Amy. I wish you the best in dealing with this loss.

  26. I did not see this coming- your story made my heart stop. Amy is beautiful and so very special. We love kitties at our house- and we have had special cats that we loved as you do Amy. I could tell you stories that would make you weep. My heart breaks for yours you make these difficult decisions. I understand- I have been there- recently- and it still hurts. Amy is so loved- she has had a blessed and wonderful life. Our special kitty was as old as your sweet Amy. I am so so sorry-

  27. I'm so sorry about your beautiful kitty! No matter how many times we go through this it is an incredibly painful experience. My emotions are pretty raw on this subject right now as we had to put our 14 year old dog to sleep two days ago. I knew it was coming, but the end snuck up on me faster than I'd anticipated.

    I'm holding a place for both of you in my heart.

  28. Dobrý den, Vaše kočka Amy je nádherná...kouzelná.
    Našla jsem Váš krásný blog a musím pochválit krásné fotografie.
    Přeji Vám krásné a radostné jaro.
    Posílá jarní pozdrav z Čech.

  29. Google translation of Sona's lovely comment, "Hello, Your cat Amy is beautiful ... magical.
    I found your beautiful blog and I commend the wonderful pictures.
    I wish you a beautiful and joyous spring.
    Spring sends greetings from the Czech Republic."

  30. Oh how this makes my heart ache for you. It's never long enough to have a pet.... never. And they are always missed for years to come, aren't they. She just looks like the best kitty in the world..

    SO sorry to hear this news and I'm thinking of you.


  31. I'm so sorry to hear about Amy. My heart goes out to you.


  32. I love the way you've phrased it; "take the suffering for her". It is, I think, what every pet owner must do - or ought to do - at some point.

    I hope she will enjoy her remaining time with you, however long or short it may be. And vice versa.

  33. I'm so sorry to hear about Amy. She is such a beautiful cat. I know how hard it is to make that decision...we've been there ourselves. Will be thinking of you.

  34. I am so sorry to hear about your dear sweet Amy. It is difficult to find the right words - but I know you will cherish your time together - forever.

  35. I am so sorry about your Amy! My dear kitty is 16 now and has good health but I know it's only a matter of time.

    Amy is so blessed that you chose her to be part of your family!

  36. What a beautiful cat. So sorry for her trouble. We went through this in the fall with our 13 year old german shepherd. It's hard to watch our pets suffer.

  37. Having been through this too many times myself, my thoughts are with you.

  38. Connie, how sad that she has cancer on top of everything else. She is a beautiful cat. I really should have had Rusty put to sleep, but he didn't seem to be that uncomfortable. Just lots of sleeping. I knew he wouldn't last much longer and glad he just went to sleep for the last time. It is hard and I will surely miss him. I am glad I have Bailey here to pet on. I don't believe I will have any more cats. I have always just had cats in the house until we got Bailey in 2007. Poor Rusty's territory was taken over, but they had good times playing together. Thanks so much for the comment. It means a lot!

  39. She's a pretty cat, and very special. So glad you made the decision you made, but so sad for you. We had an adopted cat from over the road. He wasn't properly looked after, and was a beautiful caramel and white long haired affectionate darling. Our big dog loved him too. After a few months, we had to have him put down as he had blockages when urinating. I'm sure it was because of his earlier mistreatment. I cried and cried. Our dog fretted, and a few weeks later he was shot. That was 8 years ago, but feels like yesterday. They always have a special place in our hearts, and are never taken for granted. Sending you lots of hugs.


  40. I wept while reading this.
    Thank you for letting us in on Amy's wonderful life.
    xo, misha

  41. Hello Connie....!

    I've just popped over from Kat's & am sitting here crying....As I type I look out the door at my boy Baxter who has been my Friend, my confidant, my Family for the past 13 years....The sun is shining on his lovely tabby fur as he licks himself lazily....

    While my tears are in sympathy of your SWEET Amy's passing & the anguish you must endure until your loss is not so keenly felt, they are also for me at the mere thought of having to let him go....I ONLY hope....If & WHEN it comes the time & the choice is mine to do so, I am able to make the decision quickly without hesitation & send him on his way as you have done....For it would not be my want to see him suffer when he has known no such thing in all his years....

    I'm SO GLAD your BEAUTIFUL Amy had you as her Friend....Her life was no doubt filled with much happiness & LOVE....I HOPE the pain you feel & the lump of 'sad' in your throat dissipates quickly so you can enjoy the memories of her time with you & smile fondly once again....!

    Warmest wishes from Australia,


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