Nigel - Rest In Peace
- Nigel the cat beloved friend 12/95 to 3/31/05
With a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that Nigel has died.
Yesterday afternoon, I took him to see a cardiologist, Dr. Kienle,
in San Leandro. At the visit Nigel's breath per minute rate was
high at 80 BPM. The doctor and I decided it was from the stress of
going to the veterinarian. While Dr. Kienle and I talked about
Nigel's health and future medical treatment, he calmed down.
Driving him home from the veterinarian, he began to breathe rapidly
again and panted a little. Figuring he was warm, I turned on the
air conditioning and hurried home. He stopped panting and seemed to
be doing better.
Once at home, Nigel began to breathe heavily. I called Dr. Kienle
and he advised me to give Nigel a diuretic and wait to see if he
calmed down. I watched Nigel. Once he started open mouth
breathing, I knew he was in trouble. I picked him up, rushed him to
the car, and drove to the emergency room at Berkeley Dog and Cat
like a bat out of hell. Really. It is so stressful to know your
cat is in respiratory distress while you are stuck in 5 o' clock
traffic. After passing cars on the shoulder, running a red light,
and driving up a one-way street, I finally made it to the emergency
room. While in the car, Nigel had managed to crawl onto my lap. He
could not breathe and was yowling in confusion and pain. I think in
my heart, I knew he wasn't going to make it when he urinated on my
lap and tried to jump out the car window.
I rushed him into the veterinarian's office screaming, "My cat is in
respiratory distress and I need a doctor now." They grabbed him and
took him down into the ER. I paced up and down the hallway
wondering what was going on with Nigel. After a few minutes, the ER
doctor came to talk to me. She told me his condition did not look
good. The internist, Dr Parker, was working on him, but,
unfortunately, Nigel did not respond to diuretic injections, or
bronchodilators to open his airway passages. As well, he was not
getting enough oxygen in the oxygen tank, so he was given a mouth
respirator. I waited and waited. The ER doctor came back to report
that he was not responding to treatment. His heart had slowed down,
and she gave him atropine to get his heart rate back to normal. She
also gave him morphine to calm him down and inhibit any pain he was
When it was apparent Nigel was dying, she took me down to the ER to
visit him. He was on a table, and one of the veterinarian
technicians was holding a respirator to his mouth. Nigel looked
like he was in major distress. I felt so bad for him. He couldn't
breathe and his lungs were filling up with fluid. The ER doctor
said we could wait for him to die, or she could euthanize him. She
told me that he was in distress and that his lungs filling up fluid
probably felt similar to what it would be like to drown. I petted
him and watched him. He would seem like he was dying and then he
would breathe again. I decided not to make him suffer, and held him
while the ER doctor gave him a lethal injection. She told me that
he might make some noises and, at the end, a loud sigh might come
out of his mouth. Nigel died quietly. After he died, fluid began
oozing out of his mouth from his ravaged lungs. Noticing the fluid,
the ER doctor said that we had made the right decision in helping
him end his suffering.
She asked me if I would like some alone time with him. We wrapped
him in a large fuzzy blanket, and I carried him upstairs to a large
exam room with a couch. I closed the door, sat on the couch and
cradled him. I stroked him and told him how lucky I was to have him
in my life. Nigel enriched my life beyond words, and I am so
thankful that little, fuzzy creature came into my life 8 ½ years
ago. I chanted a Native American tune and walked him to the four
corners of the universe, offering his soul to the spirits of the
other world. Afterwards, I walked him back downstairs where I
handed him back over to the ER doctor. He will be privately
cremated, and I will get his ashes in about three weeks.
Nigel was a special cat. Over and over again, people would tell
me, "I don't like cats, but I like him." He was a social creature
who enjoyed being with people and other animals. Fortunately,
during the last months of his life, he had a neighbor kitten that
adored him and wanted to play with him all the time. I never
thought I was a cat person. Though, after Nigel came into my life,
I realized that I was socialized by my parents and society to think
I wasn't a cat person. As a child, I never had a cat in my life.
Nigel taught me about love, patience, and responsibility. He was my
family and I miss him terribly.
Right now, the neighbor's kitten has come upstairs and she is
calling out for Nigel. I know exactly how she feels. I keep
expecting to see Nigel walk up and lick me.
This really sucks....(SAB) Sarah
P.S. I haven't posted to this group in awhile because my cat,
Nigel, was diagnosed with HCM in June 2004 and had been doing fine.
He was eating okay, taking his medication, and playing with the
neighbor's kitten (for short periods). His death, though, imminent,
was sudden and unexpected.
I want to thank everyone who e-mailed me regarding the death of my
beloved cat, Nigel. It was really helpful to have others share in
my loss and send me such kind and loving e-mails. THANK YOU! I
wish I could respond to everyone individually, but I do not have the
energy at this time.
One person told me that when her friend (human) had a sudden heart
attack, she said it felt like she was drowning. It reaffirmed for
me that I made the right decision to end Nigel's suffering. I felt
so bad for him (watching him try to breathe on the medical table),
and I wanted to end his confusion and pain.
In the months after Nigel went into congestive heart failure and was
diagnosed with HCM, I would get teary thinking of life without him.
Then I would remind myself that he was still alive....that I needed
to focus on the present and spend as much quality time with him as
I know all the people on this group are here because they love their
cats and want to make sure their pets are getting the best treatment
possible. I think that expressing my adoration and love towards my
cat on a daily basis was some of the best medicine he could get.
- For those of you that are interested, I posted two pictures of Nigel
in the photos section. One is my favorite picture of him on a chair,
and the other is him playing in the snow at my mother's house one week
before his death. There was a folder in the photos section in the
past, but it looks like it was deleted.
Thank you all again for your kind words and support during this