Monkey’s Story

There have been several requests for Monkey’s story.  Monkey, in case you haven’t read the previous post, was my third Persian – a little dark-faced tortie with copper colored eyes.

Her story begins with a cat show in my home town in 1996.  Daisy and Josephine were about 3 1/2 years old and I had a 16 year old Siamese (non-pedigree rescue) cat named, Sophie.  I knew that Sophie was days, if not hours, from death and I had chosen to keep her at home as she seemed comfortable and had an extreme fear of the veterinarian.  SO a cat show was a welcome diversion to get me out of the house for a little while.  Naturally I lingered in the Persian section.  One breeder had an adorable little twelve week old kitten for sale and allowed me to hold her.   But my grand plan was already in place.   The Plan:  Daisy and Josephine were brought in to be with me when Sophie passed away and there I would be, neatly back to my two cat limit.  As a master planner of ‘grand plans’ I could not deviate, so I reluctantly handed the kitten back to the breeder and walked on.  Unfortunately I left my heart behind.  I attempted to ignore its absence, but the further I walked the more panicked I became that someone else would buy the kitten that I was NOT going to buy!

Well, we all know what happened.  I held out for a good five minutes or so, then went back and got her.  Sophie passed away that afternoon, soon after I returned with Monkey.

It took me about a week to name her.  Back then I wasn’t nearly as quick with names as I am now.  ‘Monkey’ continues to be one of my favorite names.

She was a delightful little kitty.   The time she was with me seems so short.  Just the blink of an eye, and she was eight years old already.  Because she was a Persian I didn’t think too much of how sluggish she’d become.  Friends who came over commented on it, and I just thought:  “well, that’s Monkey.”  One symptom I did notice was that she drank so much water that her ruff was soaked all of the time.  I took her to the vet for that, but was sent home none the wiser.  At a following check up, I mentioned that she laid around a lot and didn’t seem to be a very happy little cat.  It was then that the vet did x-rays and she was diagnosed with HCM (heart disease).  She had a significant amount of fluid in her chest cavity and was working very hard to breath.   I treated her with medications for it for another two years.  For a while she was a little more active and even started climbing the stairs again.  That was another thing.  You look back and ask yourself when did she stop climbing the stairs and getting on the bed like she used to?  … and you can’t remember.  During those two years, she had a couple of frightening episodes — and this is where it gets sticky.  I feel this way about animals and in many cases about humans as well.  You are terrified and feel that you must do something, but if you do — if you rush her to the vet for intervention — then she is IN the MILL.  You are trapped.  Do you do this for an animal who has a fatal condition?  I don’t know, and I hate — I MEAN REALLY HATE — this part about being a pet caretaker.   In October of 2005, she stopped eating and once again I was faced with decisions.  At that time I decided to have her euthanized.  To this day, though I know logically that a day or two, or a month or two one way or the other would not have made any difference, it’s her death that haunts me more than any other cat I’ve had put to sleep.  In other cases, I generally have waited well beyond what is humane and that, too, can be questioned.

The moral to this story — is that there is none.  Just know that there is no right and no wrong except that if you loved the animal, then THAT was right.  There is NO way to feel at peace with end of life issues.  F O C U S on the  life you had together which was precious to you both.

Here’s my advice:  have a kitten or two waiting in the wings.  It never fills the hole, but it sure is diverting for us fickle humans.


35 responses to “Monkey’s Story

  1. That was such a moving story Molly. What a pretty little cat Monkey was. Is that common, the dark colors of her fur? I’ve never seen a Persian cat that dark before. I’m glad she had a happy life with you for as long as she did.

  2. OK…’ve managed to make me cry once again.
    She looks like a sweet kitty ……….a fluffy, sweet kitty.

  3. Where do you usually go for cat shows Moly? There used to be a couple of venues in the D.C. area a friend and I used to go to, but I haven’t even seen an ad for a cat show for years. (Except in England where they still seem to be a pretty regular thing). They even have an annual cat show in the Civic Centre in Southampton, where I used to live, many years ago.

    • Leslie, actually cat shows are something I don’t do often. CFA at that time had an annual cat show here in my town and I always went to that one. Then they stopped having them here in 2004, but this year they are back!! And I plan to go. I just wander around and look at the kitties. The actual competition doesn’t mean anything to me. I can’t figure out what’s going on .. lol. This year will be the first cat show I’ve been to since I started breeding. IF you go to you can find their show calendar. I suppose the other large cat registry (TICA) also has their shows.

  4. Monkey was beautiful…as if a Persian or any kitty we love is anything but. I have had to euthanize too many of my much loved cats but anything that we can do to shorten their suffering just shows how much we love them.

  5. Molly…thank you for sharing Monkey’s story! She was so beautiful with those magnificent orange eyes! I think every time we lose an animal they leave a little piece of themselves in our heart. As you know, my family lost our dog, Cassie, last February. She was 16 1/4 and had lived a more than full life, surviving cancer twice and losing an eye to glaucoma. Even though it was time and she needed to be at peace, it was so hard to take her to the vet. I held her and felt life leave her body, but it’s still so hard to believe she’s gone. My family still misses her so desperately! It’s never easy to lose an animal as they really are family members. Since I don’t have children, I really feel like my cats are my children and I felt like Cassie was my sister. I guess when we decide to become owned by animals, we have to prepare ourselves for the decisions of the future, even though we don’t want to…

  6. Yep, you made me cry, too, Molly. Eight years is too short, and Monkey was just precious. I’m going to go give my babies a love right now….

  7. This post, the timing is unbelievable.

    For the last 4 days I have sat with my dear sweet Lucy praying that the Lord would take her home so that I did not have to make a decision about her life, her health, her comfort, her peace, her death .

    I dont think I have ever prayed so hard in my life. I have BEGGED God to please just take her. On the eve of 3 really bad days, I told my husband that it was time. Today was a great day. She was alert and “talked” to me and my husband all day long. But I am sitting her writing this, watching her and her breathing is very labored. She has had completely incontinence for about 4 months now. Its so much work, so many loads of laundry a day but she is worth it. My husbands hesitation seemed to be weaning, today he made the connection, that we have to give Lucy medication for almost every function of life. Shots for her diabetes, meds to help her go to the bathroom, meds to help her pain, ect.

    I was going to email you. Ask your advice, how would I know when the time is right. After devoting all these months to 24/7 hospices care for her, how the hell do I get out of bed and what do I do with my day if she is not here.

    How do i love her enough to give her peace, how will I know when its time?

    • As I wrote above, my family went through that with our dog, Cassie, last February. We miss her terribly! I’m SO sorry you are going through this now. No one can make “the decision” for you…you just have to ask yourself if her life has quality or is she just suffering too much. There is no easy way to handle it, unfortunately. Please know my thoughts are with you and your family and Lucy…

      • Ditto what Mindy said. I also recently went through this, and I feel terrible for you, your husband and Lucy. I’ll be thinking about you.

    • Oh, dear! Now I’M crying. Unfortunately no one can decide this for someone else. In brutal honesty and disclosure as concerns myself only, I usually drag it on until I (ME!) can’t stand it any longer. Can’t stand the suffering … can’t stand everything the goes along with it. And I have never yet, with the exception of Monkey, scheduled an euthanasia. The very idea of scheduling it and knowing it’s going to be next ________ is far more than I can bear. Like you, I’ve hoped against hope, day after day that they will die on their own and relieve me of this burden, and in 60 years, Sophie was the only one who did. All the rest, I got up in the morning and watched my poor old friends struggling silently though yet another day and I caved in and call the vet. They’ve been good about getting me in the same day for that kind of thing, so perhaps I’m not the only one who manages this with such horrible grace.

      Obviously you love your kitty and it sounds like she is very aware of your love for her. I sometimes think that my kitties have stayed well passed the time when they would have preferred to pass over and be free of the pain and suffering only to allow me to come to terms with it. So, in a way, I”ve had it backwards all of these years in thinking that I carry a heavy burden of trust in having to make these decisions for my pets, when in reality they are ready to go when I can bear it. Before, during, or afterwards most of us will always have a gazillion guilty thoughts. I was tired of the incontinence.. I was worried about the carpet. I forgot to try X Y or Z … but let’s try not to do that to ourselves. Even if there is truth in those statements it doesn’t alter the fact that we’ve released a cherished pet from on-going suffering.

      • We hoped with Cassie that she just wouldn’t wake up from one of her many “deep sleep” naps, but life was just not that kind to us or to her. She was blind and had dementia and a “smile” on her face right until the end as she was unaware of what was going on. We could have prolonged her life as to our best knowledge she wasn’t feeling horrible pain (we know she had pain as her back was so hunched-she was a miniature dachshund), but on her final day her bowels finally completely let go. My father is disabled and had been having a very hard time emotionally watching her walk in circles and in to walls. My mom was in complete denial. So for my sister & I it was also about what my dad could handle. Our vet was wonderful and let me bring her in immediately so as not to prolong her suffering or ours. I will never forget those last moments that I shared with her…

    • You just know, you can see it in her eyes and sense her energy changing. Have also done this too many times (yes, had to euthanize Jazzy Wednesday and buried her today) and it doesn’t get easier. Life, death, rebirth – it’s what has to be. Just realize that as much as you love Lucy and want her with you, she is probably tiring of this and needs to move on. Loving a pet enough to do this is so terribly difficult, but that’s what love is. We need to be strong for those we love.

      Sending love and knowing tears your way…

    • Thank you Molly and everyone. I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to hijack this thread, but I am so deeply appreciative. Having never been in this position before I thought my answer would be very clear cut. Its not and apparently it rarely is for anyone. I desperately needed to know that. I had assumed that everyone had this burning bush moment of clarity and other than deeply mourning the loss, had peace in knowing “it was the right thing to do, the time was perfect.”

      Lucy had such a terrible night last night, but again seemed to rally as the day goes on.

  8. Oh my! =(
    Monkey’s story is so touching. She was one lucky cat to have lived with you, Molly, even if not long enough.
    What a beautiful baby. She will remain, lovingly, in my heart.
    Nothing makes me more emotional than heart wrenching cat stories.
    Peace to you Monkey.

  9. Absolutely beautiful cat. Thanks for sharing her story.

  10. Thanks for sharing the story of Monkey Molly. You both were very lucky to have each other, even if it was for such a short time.

  11. Lorraine Brattin

    Oh Molly what a sad story about your Monkey girl. She is absolutely beautiful and the pictures of her are do wonders to memorialize her. So sorry to hear her story and how the loss of her hurt so much, but I know the pain of losing these wonderful family members myself and know that it is really horrible. I’m sending you lots of love and hugs in the loss that was years ago, but in the heart was only yesterday. Keep up with the babies that you have and will have in the future because you are a wonderful Momma and your Furbabies love and adore you immensely.

    Sending you best wishes,

  12. Thanks for the info about the cat shows Molly. That’s what I liked to do, walk around and look at the kitties. Very hard to resist buying one I must say.

    • I wonder if they even sell kittens at cat shows any more?

      • Yes, they do, Molly. We went to a cat show before finding you, and one breeder had several half-grown American Shorthair kittens for sale.

      • Interesting! I’ve often thought about that breeder and what it might have been like for her to watch an impulse buyer and a total stranger walk off with her kitten. There was a contract, but she had no way of knowing if the check was any good, etc. She did follow up with me a week later to see how things were going and ask for pictures. And when I had Monkey spayed, I sent her the papers and she sent me the registration certificate. I tried to find her when Monkey died to let her know about the HCM, but her cattery was no longer in business.

  13. A very moving story, what a beautiful kittie she was – you have some wonderful photos and memories of her. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  14. Molly – everyone

    What moving stories. I was really touched.

    We too have had two dogs put to sleep, over the years, and the decision is always agoniing.

    Ultimately you have to try and do whats best for them, and whats best for those that love them. And also take advise from the vets who hopefully have deeper insight and more experience of such things than you do.

    But hang on to the many good and happy days you have all shared and the joy they bring to your heart and the joy and happiness you hope you bring to theirs over their lives.

    Bobin (greatly moved).

  15. Jennifer Heizer

    Thanks for sharing your story Molly!! And thanks to everyone for sharing their story about the most upsetting part of having a loving companion. Monkey was absolutely gorgeous and I don’t think I could have resisted bringing her home either (especially after holding her). I have had so many kitties in my life, all of them so unique and I LOVED them all but one of my favorite was a tabby Siamese I rescued from a shelter in San Jose, CA. He was amazing!! So even-tempered, loving, gentle, beautiful…just a wonderful kitty I named Sammy. Unfortunately, at around 8 years, he started lying around, tired, and not doing much of anything. I took him to the vet and did everything the vet recommended but most did not help. It was heart breaking…finally, after an episode of finding him just lying on the floor having extremely difficult time breathing; I took him to the vet once again where they finally took an x-ray. They discovered fluid in his chest and the diagnosis was inherited heart disease. I was couldn’t believe it. The vet drained the fluid but said it would continue to return. So now, there was the question of “should I let nature take its course and just make sure he doesn’t suffer” or “prolong his life so he can stay with me longer”? Although I would have loved for him to stay with me, I didn’t want him to suffer. His quality of life was not very good and I felt it was best to “let nature take its course” and just love him as best I could while he was still with me. He passed away at the young age of 8-years old and I was devastated. I decided my next kitty would be another tabby Siamese thinking, well, what were the chances of this happening again so…I adopted “Zip” who, not only looked exactly like Sammy but had the same temperament. But, alas, at an even younger age of 7-years, the same symptoms appeared with the same diagnosis. I couldn’t believe it! Needless-to-say, my next kitty was not a tabby Siamese…After Zip passed away; I decided to have more than just one kitty at a time. Two WAS the ideal but I now have three!!

  16. Dear Molly, what a wonderful story about Monkey, she looked a very beautiful cat.
    As I was reading your story my thoughts were with a very dear friend of mine who found out last week that one of her King Charles Spaniels has a very serious heart problem. My friend had been in tears and not able to sleep the previous night. ‘I’m going to lose her, she’s only eight years old’ she told me. All she can hope is that when it happens, it will be sudden and hopefully Tallulah will die in her sleep, but of course, no one can dictate how it will be.
    Having read through all the comments, it’s very clear that all pet lovers face the same concerns at some time. Are we being selfish by keeping our pets alive when their quality of life may be at an end? Or, do we feel guilty because we have given the final say to bring their lives to an end? Unfortunately, there is no wrong or right answer, but the one thing I do know is, we CARE and it’s about the life we give our pets up to that point that is important.
    My heart goes out to all the pet owners here who have recently lost or are loosing a beloved pet. My thoughts are with you.

  17. Thank you for sharing you experience with Monkey, what a pretty cat! It helps to know what to take notice off, what to consider (“in the mill”) issues and what your heart tells you, and if you are very good what your beloved pet wants/needs.

  18. Dear Molly and others that posted here,

    It’s hard to write this as tears are welling up. Darling loving little friends bring such joy to our lives but such sadness when we part. All of these stories bring back the sorrowful day when we lost our beloved little Persian Ashley back in May of this year. Ashley was 16 and lived a wonderful life but I will never forget her. Happiness continues however thanks to Molly. We brought little Molly (Halo) home in July and the house is again vibrant with love for her and her big sister Missy Boo. MythicBells saved me.
    Thank you Molly


    • Jennifer Heizer

      Len, That is a touching story!! Thanks for sharing. It’s so wonderful to hear little Molly/Halo has brought such joy to your house and heart. I LOVED watching her as she started to venture out into the world as a tiny little kitten!! SO adorable. It sounds like she is still bringing happiness and joy to a well deserving family (and what a GREAT forever name) 😀

  19. Thanks Jennifer and Mindy
    My wife and I were thinking of many different forever names and then It hits us like a lightning bolt. There could be NO other name that would be appropriate than “MOLLY”. It’s perfect and a tribute to our Dear Friend Molly. Now the hard part is keeping my name off the waiting list for the next litter of kittens.

  20. just a little something I found that helped me after having to put my beautiful boy to rest,i ache for him and cannot believe we have parted,i am not coping ..

    “you’ll never know if it was too soon,but by god you’ll know if its too late”

  21. жгучие, извращенные, сисястые толстушки на нашем ресурсе

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