Goodnight, Sweet Newton…

Newton the CatToday was one of the most difficult days I have had in a long time: I put my cat of 10 1/2 years to sleep, never to awaken again.

He’s been with me through thick and thin, and while the dogs went with my ex when we split, he was always my pet, with my mellow personality, and he was always wandering around looking for me. In the six years I’ve lived solo, he’s been a great companion, helping fill the void when the kids weren’t with me. And today his ailments just combined to make him uncureable, even though he was relatively young for an indoor-only cat.

By the time we reached this decision, he’d manage to be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, a possible lymphoma, a raging kidney infection, an aggressive respiratory ailment and an injured eye. And taken together, the treatment for one cancelled out the treatment for the other. We tried a variety of drug cocktails and I even got him some acupuncture treatments, all to no avail.

A month after the first issues surfaced (weight loss) he continued to get worse, and after two weeks of hospitalization the five vets on the case (yes, five, at two different facilities) and I agreed that there was no glimmer of light, no promising developments. Just a cat that gave up eating and drinking weeks ago.

I have been very open with the children as this has proceeded too: no secrets. In fact, A-, my 16yo, has listened to all the voice mail messages from the various vets and hospital facilities, and after a tear-filled discussion where I made it very clear with the children I wanted their opinions, but that it was going to be my decision, not theirs, to say “stop”, we have come to this juncture.

And so I headed into the vet’s office this morning, returned a few extra cans of cat food they’d given me back when we were optimistic about him eating, and was led into a room where they had a heart-shaped piece of clay for a paw print. Which I did, and wrote “Newton” along the top and added a heart on the bottom. We’ll hang it on the wall along with a photo of Newton.

They brought Newton in and he was a limp dishrag. Whether it was the ailments, the drugs he was on, or just him being done with this go-round on Earth, it was heartbreaking. And I said goodbye.

Goodbye, sweet Newton. You were an awesome cat. We’ll all miss you.

12 comments on “Goodnight, Sweet Newton…

  1. Dave,

    As a new cat owner, I just want to weep for you. My little fellow has wrapped his paws around my heart. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I love that the vet offered you the paw print. I’ve not heard of that before. It will be a wonderful momento for you.

  2. Very sorry for you and the kids, Dave. I know firsthand how difficult putting a pet down is, but you certainly made the right choice. We’ve had to put three cats down in the last couple of years and it doesn’t get any easier. The good thing is that we are humans and we know how to take the bad times along with the good. Soon your heart will be ready to adopt a new little ball of fluff.

  3. Sorry for your loss, Uncle. It’s always hard to say goodbye. He’s with my Buddy dog now and one day we will both get to see all our beloved pets once again.

  4. You are a good Dad all the way around, Dave. To show such loving care of your cat, as if he were a child, is rare. You will be rewarded…on the day you get to see him again. And, he will be surrounded by so many others – his picture is such a wonderful tribute – to him because it’s so expressive, and to you, because you shared it with us.

    Be well. Newton is well… and with friends.

  5. So sorry for your loss, Dave. You’ve eloquently expressed the pain, sadness and inevitability of your decision. I’ve had cats since I was a child and have two old boys now who’ve been with me for 12 and 16 years. I dread the day I have to make those decisions. Sounds like you did everything for Newton and now have a wonderful keepsake. Hope your kids are alright. Take care.

  6. So sorry Dave, feeling for you. Been there many times…….you made the right call for sure. Rejoice in the great friend you had. Today was an act of kindness. –S

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