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Thursday, August 22, 2013

One month on

A month since I was forced to put him to sleep.  Obviously its not been an easy one and I never expected it would be.  But what I wasnt ready for was the absolute emptiness I'm left with.  Kyo was practically my best friend.  I rarely ever felt depressed or even upset for long because I'd go to my room and most of the time he'd be there sleeping on whatever object he decided was to be his bed for whatever length of period he felt.  Sometimes he'd be in the hallway sleeping, or in the spare room, now and then in the lounge sleeping on the carpet or the treadmill.  He was always somewhere.  Now all those areas are empty.  The house feels completely different with him gone.

I remember when we got him back in 95.  My sister brought him in as a kitten, he was a late birthday present her boss had given her.  My parents were furious, they didnt want any pets because of the amount of care they need.  She couldnt take him back so they'd leave him outside, mum outright refusing to let him inside the house.  When he came it was during the time the storms had started up here so there was heaps of rain and thunder every day.  I always found him hiding behind the washing machine.  He always looked frightened.  I cant remember who was even feeding him for the first few days, but I got frustrated at the lack of attention he was getting and I  brought him upstairs sometime during the first week and told my parents he was going to be inside during the rain.  Oh they tried arguing.  Did them no good.

Of everyone in the house it was pretty much myself and my mother who looked after him.  My dad had no interest and my sister was the typical useless one of the house. More interest in going out with friends than doing anything else.  Because of the start he had I believe it may have affected him mentally as he was always scared of most things.  Except that one time I had to grab him quickly because I noticed he was just about to lunge at a dog that was being walked past our house by his owner.  The guys eyes went completely wide.  Was pretty funny.  He was always a large cat.  And when he got vicious, my word...

Anyway, I bonded with him pretty quickly.  My mum would feed him during the day and I'd look after him during the evenings.  He never wanted to stay inside during the night.  Always wanted to be outside.  He would walk to the screen door and just sit there.  If he knew you were aware of this and didnt do anything after a few minutes, he would claw at the screen.  Keep ignoring him and he would jump onto it and cling to it.  It was pretty funny when he was outside wanting to come in because you cant see outside through the screen if its dark.  So out of nowhere you'd hear a huge SLAM as he smashed himself up onto the screen door wanting to be let in.  So many times my dad or mum would just shit themselves.

I remember when he was still a kitten I'd sit on the balcony late at night when everyone was asleep and prop him on my lap for company, to get him to be less afraid.  At the time I loved a song called Ano Hi Ni from an anime called Video Girl Ai, and everytime I'd hum that specific tune he'd start purring and fall asleep on me.  I'd sit there for an hour or two while he slept on me, sometimes at 1am or later.

He also had a vicious side to him.  I blame myself for the amount of time I used to spend playing with him and riling him up.  He loved to bite and claw at me.  Very often he'd draw blood.  But I knew he was playing because of his facial reactions and how he'd move after he'd just destroyed me.  Which is why I could never get angry with him.  He was just different with me compared to how he was with others.  Like with my mumf or instance, he'd follow her around during the mornings when she was doing the washing, just sit there and keep her company.  Sometimes he'd follow her when she walked off to the shops.  She would have to stop and tell him to go back home.  And he would listen.  I know plenty of people say their dog or cat is super smart etc, but mine had something different.  The understanding in his eyes when you said something, being able to know multiple words and phrases.  He was seriously fucking smart.

He was also a lot like me.  For example with food, if you put something in front of him and he didnt like it, he'd look at you for a moment then walk away.  My parents always say he'll come back when hes hungry enough.  But he didnt.  He would not eat the whole day if you gave him something he didnt like because he was an absolute snob when it came to food, just like I am.  I'd frequently gone 2 days without food because I either didnt know what I wanted or everything didnt appeal to me.  I would sometimes get 2 tins and hold them in front of him.  He'd look at them both then nudge his nose on the one he wanted and he would always eat it.  I once gave him the one he didnt pick when my parents said I was being stupid and he'd eat both anyway.  He wouldnt touch it.  I'd spend quite a bit of time reading up different types of cat food and what ingredients to keep an eye out for that werent good for cats.  It would get fairly expensive but I never bought him rubbish.  He never meowed for food either.  Was always very quiet and patient.  Unless we were grilling him fish or chicken breasts.  Then he'd meow lots.  And I would cut everything up into little pieces for him all the time.  Spoiled is not a strong enough word for how I pampered him.

I recall the neighbours had a cat they were looking after for some friends who were on holiday.  They had their own too.  Lots of people in my area have cats.  This one they were looking after was a really attractive black coloured female.  Kyo took an instant attraction to her.  He was neutered btw.  I'd catch him at the fence sitting there with the other cat during the afternoons.  They'd just sit there not saying anything, just mostly looking at each other and stuff.  It was adorable.  Only problem is this female cat was very stupid.  She was always on the road, sometimes sleeping on it for warmth or whatever.  And sadly 2 weeks later a car ran her over.  It was pretty sad.  It was worse seeing Kyo go to the fence and sit there for an hour or two just waiting, and she'd never come.  He stopped after the second day and you could tell he was fairly depressed over it for the next month or so.

The worst thing about having him though was the amount of times he got sick or injured.  It was horribly stressful on everyone and himself.  Not to mention expensive.  A couple years ago I had a test done on his blood to see if there was anything wrong with him, cost like $500, and turns out he had a really low immune system.  So this explained how he was always getting infections from injuries.  I was always doing my best to go outside during the evenings just to make sure he was ok and there werent any other cats that had roamed in looking for trouble.  Sometimes you'd hear one of the other cats mewling really loudly in the yard and we'd dash outside and scare it off.  We'd even get woken up at like 4am if we heard the sounds and were straight outside.  We never worried about him losing a fight.  For a good number of years he handed every cats arse to them.  I saw him on many occasions running after a cat who was bolting away after losing a fight it had started.  He was fearless.

It was the cuts he got during the fights that really were the problem.  I cant tell you the amount of times he had infections that needed surgery.  Those were always the worst.  There was a part on his neck that got injured twice and flared up.  The doctor wanted to put a cone around his head so he couldnt scratch at it and dislodge any of the stitches or the tube they put there for drainage.  I told him good luck, you wont ever get that on him or get him to keep it on.  I told him it would be fine without, and it always was.  He never clawed at any injury that had been stitched back up.

Its hard to recall every single injury he had.  But there were plenty.  The first few years he was fine.  He was too small to get into fights and always hid.  But at about the age of 4-5 he started to think he was king shit.  He pretty much was though.  No cat in the neighbourhood could stand up against him.  And he never went off looking for fights either.  They always came to him.

I remember his first big issue was when he broke his tail.  I noticed he never raised it for a couple days and it just hung limply.  I thought he just injured it.  Vet said it was broken at the base.  Possible chance it wouldnt heal as he's seen many cats have their tails removed after breaking it.  But a month later he was moving it again and it was all good.  He just had a little bump where the break had been.  Pretty lucky.  After that it started to become more frequent.  I'd catch him the next day with a cut from a fight, and then the next day it would have swollen up.  Some times I could just him injections and then tablets for the next month and a week or so later the swelling would go down.  Other times it really needed surgery.  He should of lost an ear twice over but always healed somehow.  The vet was always stunned with how he kept fighting back.

The last 2 years of his life were the worst.  He'd got into some brutal fight, scratches all across his face, head and neck area.  Multiple ones got infected.  Took him to the vet and had to leave him over night for them to work on him.  Every time I left him there it killed me.  Couldnt sleep or eat while he was gone.  When I got him back the next day they'd shaved his head and neck, and there were so many injuries.  Just to give you an idea heres a couple pictures of him during then..

Both side of his face were the same.  He was fairly miserable at the time, quite a bit of pain too.  The top of his head you can make out all his past injuries that he'd gotten.  These are 2-3 days later.  On the first day he was all red and still bleeding some.  Was a really bad sight.  Took a few weeks for him to fully heal.  He was still energetic and liked attention, though it was really hard to play with him or scratch him because of his injuries, so I'd have to focus on the rest of his body which sometimes had a hidden cut here and there.

3 months later he got another issue on his cheek.  We're not sure but it was probably a spider bite.  It puffed up stupidly fast during the night.  Next day I took him in and the infection had spread quickly to the inside of his cheek and across the top of his gums.  It was really bad.  Had to have an expensive surgery to remove his entire top teeth and the bottom ones on one side.  Before the surgery the vet told me theres a good chance he'll probably get cancer during this and if I still wanted to go ahead with the surgery since it was very expensive.  Told him never to offer me choices again when it came to Kyo.  There is only 1 choice.  And that is to make him better.  We'll deal with what might happen after.

I was not handling that too well after I left.  But we got him back and to the surprise of my vet he didnt get cancer.  Its like every year Kyo kept punching everything that came his way.  Nothing could stop him.  I honestly believed he'd make it past 20 because of just how tough he was.  Even with stitches in his gums and him in so much pain, he still tried to talk whenever my mum spoke to him.  When he finally got over that, about 2months later one of the worst moments happened for him.  He just stopped eating, moving, talking.  Just one day I found him sitting there on the carpet and doing nothing.  He was like that all day.  The next day he was no different.  Couldnt get him to eat or drink or even talk.  The most he'd do was sway his tail slightly when we spoke to him.  He was horribly unbalanced so never got up, and his eyes were totally black because he couldnt focus.

This had to happen during a stupid public holiday so I couldnt take him in.  But since it was evening I decided to take him first thing in the morning and hope.  I didnt sleep, stayed with him the entire time and then called the vet in the morning.  Took him in, vet looked him over briefly and got this expression on his face.  Said it didnt look good.  He seemed to have gotten some kind of virus that was shutting him down.  Said to leave him there and they would try their best but there was a very high chance he wouldnt make it through the night.  I was an absolute mess.  First time I'd come to the realization that he might actually die.  He was there for 4 days.  On the 5th I got to take him home and he was doing much better, again the vet shaking his head saying he'd never seen a cat continually come through so many issues over the past decade as my cat had.  I thought yes, he's 100% dying of old age for sure.  And well past 20.  Nothing will take him.

From that point on he started to stay in doors and sleep inside which was a massive relief for me.  He still got a couple infections over the year but nothing requiring surgery, just medicine over a period.  He was definitely weaker though.  Not as energetic as usual.  He'd come and sleep where ever I was in the house.  If I went to the lounge to watch something, he'd appear after a few minutes and sleep nearby me.  Always near.

And then the final 6 months.  He'd gotten an infection on the other side of his gums.  Had to get all the teeth removed so now he only had 3 fangs at the front and nothing else.  I would cut all his food into the smallest bits, spend ages doing it all the time.  No more hard foods for him.  I'd stand next to him while he ate.  He also stopped going outside to the toilet and a few times did it in the house, which was very uncharacteristic of him.  If he wanted to go to the toilet he'd meow and then walk to the door to let you know.  Now he was different.  He wasnt completely all there mentally.  I think everything had finally taken its toll on him.  I'd carry him downstairs every 3 hours so he could do his bit.  I was sleeping maybe 2-3 hours a day for the past 4-5 months so I keep an eye on him and help him with food or going outside.  The infection however wasnt leaving.  It was different types of medicine over the next 3months.  Then it was injections ever 2 days for almost 2 months.  But the infection wasnt going away.

Come the final month I had a feeling his body had decided it just couldnt do it anymore.  My vet and I didnt want to say it, but we both knew it was most likely cancer.  During one of the last visits Kyo snapped and refused to accept the injection.  He was always very calm, almost never meowed or anything during them.  Only a couple times did he get a little pissed off.   But this time he hissed and tried to claw at the vet who was totally shocked.  During this he'd managed to cut the underside of his paw on the corner of the table and there was quite a bit of blood.  The vet touched it and rubbed it between his fingers and just nodded to me.  The blood was thin.  He had cancer.

It was hard to accept this.  Harder still to not break down on the spot.  We'd decided I'd bring him in the following week to have him put to sleep.  So I took him home, and just like the past couple years I spent every moment I could with him.  He'd permanently set up camp in my room by this time.  He must of been in so much pain, yet he still tried to give me affection now and then.  Eating must of been a nightmare for him.  He was always in pain but kept chewing, despite the meows of pain or the tiny pieces of flesh that came off his gums while he drank.  The strangest thing happened though.  Normally he'd go 2 days and then be in really back shape and need injections.  But he went for 5 days with nothing and seemed normal, despite his issue.  So I cancelled his final trip and just played it by ear.  He went a full month almost before he finally degraded over a period of 2 days and I was forced to take him in.

When I brought him in I couldnt even talk.  My throat was completely clenched from grief.  The vet couldnt make eye contact with me either.  He gave him an injection and said this would make him drowsy and sleep, and then left the room giving me a few minutes with him.  I started to hum the tune he liked and he would sway his tail during it.  After about a minute he started to drop his head slowly till it was on the table and he was out cold.  His eyes were completely open.  When the vet came in he said because his in a really deep sleep, his eyes stay open, its supposedly normal but Kyo wasnt aware of anything.  Then he shaved a little bit off his leg and was about to do the second injection which would finish everything.  I had my hand on him all the time just feeling his heart beat.  Once the injection was given, his heart stopped instantly.  Not even 1-2 seconds after.  It was instant.  I describe how I felt, but it was like something had grabbed everything in me and just made it vanish, I felt like an empty husk.

The vet shook my hand saying I'd done more for Kyo then he'd seen most people do for theirs and it was a miracle he'd made it to almost 19 considering everything he'd gone through.  A real marvel.  I couldnt talk at all and could just nod.  He let me out the back way and I went home and I just couldnt function for an entire week.  The vet and the girls working there were surprised when I came back a week or so later to pick up his ashes and other stuff.  They thought I wouldnt be able to come back.  I got my stuff, paid my bill since they were really nice not to ask for when I was there before, and then left.  Like I mentioned in a previous post I went back a couple weeks later with about $90 worth of cake and made them all pretty happy, vet even laughing and slapping me on the back, and I'd never seen him laugh before.

Now everything is different.  Theres no food I need to prepare for him.  The large office chair he used as his bed lies empty next to me.  No sudden claws or teeth biting my leg when I dont notice him during a game I'm playing.  The house feels empty to me.  He really was the closest thing to me.  There was a bond thats not there now. Not 10min goes by when I dont think about him.  Hes constantly on my mind.  I look through his hundreds of photos I took and dozens of videos at least once a week.  I wish I'd taken more.  I wish during those other years I'd spent more time with him.  But I did the best I could with extra years I really shouldnt of had with him as he should of died 4 times over.  Anywhere else he probably would of been put down 7 years ago.

I had the vet print me out a list showing how many times I'd gone in and how much I'd spent.  Unfortunately theres a gap of 5 years when he was 6-11 because they changed their system.  But going from memory and the frequency of trips, I estimate possibly 70-80 trips to the vet during his lifetime.  Dozens of infection trips.  At a guess I probably spent around 15-18k on bills.  The amount of money doesnt look like too much over that period,  But majority of it was in the last 10 years, and when you're paying $300 one week and then a few months down the track you get slapped with $1300, and it goes like that over a few years, you start to feel it.  And it was happening often.  Taking its toll on my cat from all the trips, taking its toll on me emotionally and probably physically.  He didnt deserve to end like this.  He was meant to go of old age.  Not in such horrible pain.  He'd suffered more than any cat I'd known.  He didnt deserve this ending.  Deserved so much fucking more.  But he did live 6 years longer then he should have, and 2 years longer then anyone expected.  So I'll have to hold onto that thought.

This was fairly long but I did it mostly for myself so I could remember, since I've forgotten a few things over time.  But hes definitely someone I will never forget.  He was the best part of me.  The one constant, always following me or playing with me.  I was never depressed with him around.  Losing a job, grandparent dying, nothing would get me down too much because he'd cheer me up by being there.  Now?  Thats gone and I find myself often just sitting there doing nothing.   Mum is always walking past and looking in to check up on me ever since.  He'll always be with me in my thoughts.  But the emptiness, thats something that wont go away.

Also wanted to mention my good friend Scott who also lost his cat Tink yesterday who made it to the glorious age of 19.  Stay strong mate.


  1. I've been a fan of you for years Con and after watching some videos of yours I decided to check your blog. As I type this I have tears streaming down my face, not a usual thing for me. Take care of yourself mate.

  2. I've followed all of your blogs regarding Kyo and I was so sad and shocked when I read that he had sadly passed away. This post of yours especially touched me and brought tears to my eyes. I can relate to your love for Kyo and I know how you must be feeling. I had to have my darling cat put to sleep 6 years ago and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life. He came into my life as a stray kitten, barely a couple months old, scared and unsure of everything. For hours at a time I would try to gain his trust and my hard work finally paid off, he accepted me into his life. I was devastated when he got sick and even though I tried to make him better his body just shut down on him and I had to say goodbye. He'll never be forgotten, every week I put flowers on his grave, I miss him every day and it doesn't get any easier.

    To me he is family, just like Kyo is to you.
    Kyo was ever so lucky to have you, just as you were lucky to have him.

    Try to take comfort that he is at peace now, maybe he's even sitting beside that lady friend kitty that he knew all those years ago.

    I hope you'll be alright, Con.

    P. S This is my boy -

    1. Thanks for that. Your cat looks adorable.