Pooka passing away


My cat, Pooka, has been with me for 16 years now. About 4 weeks ago he started getting ill – quite seriously ill and nothing to be done about it. 3 weeks ago we didn’t think he’d last the weekend. Well, the little sucker is quite a fighter. He’s been tentatively diagnosed with aggressive (large cell) spinal lymphoma. I say tentatively because we know it’s lymphoma from the blood work, but we can be 100% sure of “spinal” without some very invasive procedures which we just weren’t going to do. Karen and I have been nursing him for the past three weeks as best we could – in Karen’s case fantastically. Giving him some medicine to retard the effects of the cancer, feeding him (sometimes by hand) to keep him eating, and otherwise just watching over him and making him comfortable.

Last night/yesterday he reduced his eating dramatically again. He’s way down on weight now, and has considerable trouble walking. He has pretty severe anemia as well – and what we really don’t want to see is Pooka starving to death. We agreed that if he didn’t pick up his food intake today, that was the sign and we’d call the vet to have him put to sleep. Nice words for euthanize, really.

I swear to god that the call this morning to set up that appointment was the hardest call I’ve ever had to make. Thank god I have an office at work – I closed the door for a good 30 minutes until I could pull myself together again.

I know that we are taking a route to maintain the absolute best quality of life for him, and that at some point – assuming he didn’t pass away from the disease – we’d likely need to do this or watch him starve. It’s a damn tough call to make, and there’s some part of me that’s just sure I’m making a mistake and murdering my own pet.

The vet – a really great lady who does house calls and specializes in feline medicine: Dr Aimee Castor, is going to come by tomorrow morning. She’ll check him out too – but really she’s here for the end of him. I’m not sure I’m going to really sleep well tonight. I haven’t been sleeping too well for the past three weeks to be honest.

So this and work are all I’ve been doing lately – apologies for a lack of anything else here or elsewhere online. iPhone development, ranting about enterprise software, etc – it’s all just really paled in comparison. We’ve still got our other cat: Wormwood. He’s been getting pretty jealous of the attention that Pook’s been getting – and that’s about to all turn around. He’ll have more than I think he’ll be expecting. Well, and he needs a diet now too – he’s been hovering up any food that Pooka wouldn’t eat.

That’s the news from the house. The picture above is a link to a flickr image set – pictures of Pooka and some scanned drawings that Karen made of him over the past little while.

7 thoughts on “Pooka passing away

  1. I feel like a clod for not calling yesterday. I wanted to, but I let some house tasks get in the way. I’m sorry for not making it over to say goodbye.

    Pooka was an amazing kitty. A noisy boy when he wanted to be fed. His eyes took in everything around him. He liked to be on the dining room table when you guys were out of town. Guess it’s OK to tell you that now.

    We’re thinking of Pooka. Peace.


  2. No need to feel like a clod – frankly, you wouldn’t have even recognized him. It’s been weeks since he’s been the energetic little fellow you knew. And you saw him a week or so ago and said hello. And yeah, we knew he was on the dining room table a lot. Somehow… maybe the cat fur left on the tableclothes gave it away.


  3. I don’t know you but I do know that I lost my cat of 16 years – about this time of year 4 years ago, and even reading this made me cry. It is the best thing to do for your cat. I look back and realize that we should have put Kisa down much sooner than we did. I know you are doing the right thing. My thoughts are with you – All the best… Peace.

    Dennis Groves


  4. Joe, I know it’s been a long time since UMC, and getting yelled at together by “Big Ed”. But my thoughts are with you, even late, after the loss of a “family member”.

    No other will ever replace him, but sometime another might make their own spot in your hearts.



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