††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 20 Nov 2007

Sybil Cat


Yesterday we put Sybil, our Siamese cat, to sleep.Several months ago it became apparent to us that there was something wrong with her.She was throwing up her food frequently, and her behavior was not normal.For example, she showed less interest in sitting in my lap than usual, and her appetite was often less than usual.Nancy took her to the vet, and after a series of tests they said that they had found a growth in her stomach and that blood tests suggested that it could be cancer.Surgery was an option, but we decided not to follow that path.Rather we decided to try to make her remaining days as enjoyable as we could.


We put her on a diet of her favorite foods, lots of salmon and other meats, rather than the usual kibbles.We fed her often, five times a day, with small portions in the hope that that would help her system cope with the food.She had good days, when she appeared to be her usual self, and she had bad days when she could not keep food down and had no interest is socializing.


We knew that her time was limited, and dreaded what we knew was coming, the realization that her end had come.She sat on my lap the evening before we put her down, and as usual, she continually asked me to pet her.She would poke at me with her silken paw and rub her head against my hand until I complied.As I patted her I could feel her bones everywhere.I realized that she was starving to death.Earlier in that day I still hoped that we could continue to keep her, and planned to ask the vet to take care of her while we went away for Thanksgiving.However, that night I realized that she was dieing and told Nancy that I thought the time had come to put her down.


Yesterday we took her out to the Chase Road Animal Hospital at about 5:00 PM.I had gotten a carrier out of the attic and warmed it up by leaving it in the furnace room for several hours.We took her in to a room they had prepared for us.The vet, a young woman, took Sybil out, installed an IV in her right foreleg and soon brought her back to us.We asked to have a while with her, so the vet left the room.I stroked her and she seemed calm.After a while the vet returned, and injected the chemicals into Sybil as I continued to stroke her.She showed no concern, and almost instantly after the injection she collapsed quietly into my lap, peacefully gone.It was a heart wrenching experience for me, but I would not have done it any other way.I owed it to her.


I was not as attached to Sybil as I was to Crystal.Sybil was less dependent on me than was Crystal, and Sybil did not talk to me as did Crystal.Nonetheless, I did become very fond of her and shall miss her.I find it strange that a cat should come to mean so much to me.


We got Sybil and her brother, Eli, after Crystal died.We realized immediately that Sybil and Eli were not the cats that Monkey and Crystal were, but we loved them nonetheless.Sybil was much more intelligent than Eli.For example, when they were very small kittens, Sybil figured out how to climb up to the flat platform on the top of their tall scratching post, and also how to get back down.The latter involver reaching out under the platform with one front leg, and hooking her claws into the rug material there.She then would swing down and grab the material on the post below, let go of the underside of the platform and scramble down the post to the floor.Eli could climb up to the top pf the platform OK, but he could not figure out how to get down, even after watching how his sister did it.Once he jumped, legs spread eagled and flailing, from the platform to the floor below.It was a hard landing; he was lucky not to have gotten hurt, and he did not do that again until he was fully grown.


Sybil was quiet when traveling in the car.This is in contrast to Eli who cries constantly whenever heís traveling in the car.I recall the trip from Northampton to Dartmouth when the longest quiet period was about 30 seconds.


Sybil had a definite routine in her relationship with me.She liked to sit in my lap when I ate breakfast.I would read the morning newspaper as I ate my toast or whatever I was having, and Sybil would sit, fitting into whatever space was available in my lap.She was sort like a napkin, crumbs and sometimes even maple syrup dropping onto her, but she didnít mind and would clean herself up later.She also liked to sit in my lap in the late afternoon as I listened to the news on the radio and enjoyed my daily scotch and water, andlater in the evening, about an hour before we went to bed, as I watched television.


Sybil was not a talker like Crystal, and her relationship with me was very much on her terms, as is typical of many cats.Nonetheless, she came to mean a great deal to me, not the very special relationship I had with Crystal, but a great deal nonetheless.I shall miss her.


Immediately after discovering that Sybil probably had cancer, we got two Siamese kittens, Charlie and Zoe.They are classic apple heads as were Monkey and Crystal.I am hopeful that I will be able to develop arelationship with them like the ones I had with Monkey and Crystal.