I have been quite neglectful of this blog recently which comes down to feeling very deflated and emotional.
When I was 13, my mum, sister and I bought two kittens from the same litter and named them Frodo and Arwen. Frodo, a gorgeous fluffy black kitten and Arwen, a pretty tortoise shell coloured kittie. I lived with them until I was 18, spending countless hours with them in the garden and watching TV whilst they fell asleep nose to nose on the radiator, rolling off when it got too hot. At first they were exactly the same size but Frodo soon outgrew his sister, becoming the dominant alpha male I suppose; Arwen would only eat after he had started eating!
Even when I went away to uni and moved to different places for work, I always deeply looked forward to seeing them when I returned to Cornwall for holidays; after all, they felt like my babies.
Almost a year ago, I made the decision to return to Cornwall and move in with my mum, Frodo and Arwen. These past eleven months have been more meaningful than I could have ever known as I was able to spend time with my beautiful cats again, helping to look after them in their old age.
A few months ago, we took Frodo to the vets because we were worried about him losing weight and he appeared to be breathing very fast. It turned out he had hyperthyroidism and so we were given tablets for him to eat every day. On the whole, he was very good about eating his tablet once a day; we hid it in his food at first but after a while he just seemed to get on with eating it, with it being disguised. I like to think he knew we were trying to make him better.
Things went on nicely for a while: Frodo began to put on more weight and he was always waiting at the front of the house when I returned home from work. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped eating and didn’t seem to be drinking. He was losing wight rapidly and started dribbling from one side of his mouth. Obviously concerned, we took him back to the vets for a check-up.
The vet suggested that it might be a tooth or a tumour – the blood tests had shown that his kidneys were ok for his age and his hyperthyroidism was under control. He was given a shot of antibiotics and we took him home with a tin of recovery food. We managed to get him to eat a bit more, but only wet food – he seemed unable to eat anything he had to chew and he still didn’t seem to be drinking.
During the next seven days, I fed him as much as he would eat and gave him lots of cuddles. We made an appointment for him to have a general anaesthetic so that we could determine the cause of his problems. Mum and I decided that we wouldn’t put him through a major operation at his age and were hoping that the problem was a tooth or something which could be easily removed.
We took him back to the vets last Friday morning and went home to wait for the phone call. I had mentally prepared myself for any outcome and had spent the previous night with him sleeping on my lap, purring continually but clearly in pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, Frodo had a tumour at the back of tongue which was very large and inoperable. We told the vet that we didn’t want him woken up to distress him and that he should just put Frodo to sleep. It was heart-breaking but I felt I had said my goodbyes the night before; I had even held his sister Arwen next to him so they could sort of say goodbye.
I still can’t believe how much I cried that day and the day after; fifteen years is a long time I suppose. Frodo was a cat that had a distinctive and loving character; he will be sorely missed by the family, neighbours and all that knew him. Of course, he will also be missed by his sister and companion, Arwen – he may have growled and hissed at her, but they still cuddled each other at night!
It’s been a tough few weeks, seeing him struggle and look up at us pleading for help. I am glad he is not longer suffering and that he was put to sleep peacefully. Now I am just paying special attention to Arwen, making sure she doesn’t get lonely.
At least she has first dibs on the food now! Losing a beloved pet is harder than I could have ever imagined; our old cat ran away when I was young which was awful, but we had only had him a year or so. We buried our rabbits and guinea-pigs in the past but, again, is incomparable to burying a large, intelligent and affectionate cat.
Sleep tight Frodo Bean, thanks for all the memories.