Goodbye, Phantom

2018-04-03 13.29.20Phantom had not been eating at all yesterday and would not even drink water today. We had to call a veterinarian to euthanize him at home. He passed away peacefully at 2:30pm today.

We first heard of him four years ago when fellow cat-lover Brian Vo reposted a Facebook entry from Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue about him: he was considered unadoptable because he was an older black cat (reported as 15 years old by the people who surrendered him, although vets later said he was more likely between 8 and 12), with a blemish, a mast cell tumour over the right eye. It was a Saturday in July and the rescue volunteer who worked at the San Francisco animal shelter thought he would not make it to Monday if no one claimed him, so we decided to take him in. 

At first he was terrified — he had reportedly been an only cat and had been scared to death at the shelter. Eventually we reassured him enough that he started thinking of us as his. More than any cat I have ever met, he liked to be in physical contact with his humans at all times. Whenever he could, he would position himself to touch both Edmund and I, like when we watched movies. He really loved watching telly!

His favourite was Edmund, but I got lots of love too. When he saw Edmund come in, he would cry: “Meow-OW” (I usually just got the more sedate “MeOW!”) He loved playing with the Cat Dancer toys and eating Greenie treats. When he could not be in contact with one of us, he would nest among my collection of teddy bears.

We had him treated through pancreatitis and had the mast cell tumour over his eye removed, but the vet warned us that she had been unable to get it all; it would grow back and likely become cancerous over time. When I was getting cancer treatment, I used to have whispered conversations with him. He guarded my side, and I felt he knew what it was like to be sick.

He’d been ill lately, with what was eventually identified as a big cancerous mass on the pancreas and liver, inoperable. We kept him comfortable for a few more days, but yesterday night it became clear that if he was not better this morning, we would have to call the vet. We’re pretty sure that by mid-day today, his kidneys had shut down.

At least we had him taken care of at home in his familiar surroundings, petting him. It was very quiet and he purred softly until the sedative took effect. When the final needle was going in, I nearly yelled “Stop! I changed my mind!” but that would not have been the kind thing to do.

I know that we did good by each other, we gave him 51 additional months of life, and he gave us unconditional love. But we miss him so much already.

3 thoughts on “Goodbye, Phantom

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