On Monday, one of our (two) cats, Penny, had to be put down. Here’s what I posted to Facebook at the time…

Sad news. This morning our elder cat, Penny, had to be put to sleep. It looks as if the prolific mouser ate some rat poison, which kicked in overnight.

As with all our cats, she was a rescue. Licking and rolling over for tummy rubs, we could only assume her previous owner had dogs. She particularly liked the underside of her chin being rubbed. With Charley joining the family in recent years, she came to begrudgingly accept him (but only that).

Quiet, no-nonsense and not always elegant, she’ll be very much missed, particularly by me. Although I won’t miss her dragging mice into the house.

She died purring as I stroked her under her chin.

Based on my experience, I suspect she ate a mouse with poison in it rather than the poison itself. It turns out mouse and rat poison is designed to not work for a number of weeks, so was probably ingested some time ago.

But, until Monday morning there was nothing obvious. I came down to find her lying still on the floor, her breathing raspy. I took her straight to the vet who gave her oxygen and did an x-ray and blood test. It found a weak heart beat and dehydration. She didn’t clot from the blood test and that’s what lead them to believe it was the poison.

When I was called back to the vets, knowing she was to be put down, I was on the house on my own. I cried all the way there and pretty much all the way home again. I thought I was over it after that but broke down in the afternoon. I’m amazed myself how much it affected me.

Penny, like all our cats, was a rescue. She was an undetermined age but was guessed at, at the time, to be 5. Her previous owner had been an elderly woman, who had died.

A few years ago, we decided to give her company and got Charley, who was only a year old at the time. They turned out to be pretty chalk-and-cheese but I think kept each other, begrudgingly, sane. Charley is, shall we say, not the brightest and Penny kept him safe. None-the-less, they would have minor fights and usually slept in separate rooms from each other.

Everyone – particularly children – loves Charley. He’s out-going, friendly and can be picked up, pulled and generally tugged about and accept it. Penny puts up with a lot less nonsense. So she kind-of became my cat – she’d sit on the arm of my chair and I’d stroke her under the chin, which she’d love. I’d come down in the morning and she’d like a good belly rub too.

On Monday, with Penny unwell, Charley ignored the situation, ate his breakfast and went out. He didn’t seem to care. Until he came in on Monday. I’ve never seen a cat depressed before and now, on Friday, he’s still not 100%. I read up on the subject and we’ve done all we can to help him – at least he’s eating now. Obviously, he cared a lot more about her than we realised. It could be paranoia, but he seems particularly off with me (it was me who took her to the vets and she never returned, after all), so I’m treading carefully.

What didn’t help is that something happened to him, too, on Monday – when he came in that evening he’d lost his collar, had dried blood on him and was walking with a limp. He seems physically fine – he’s still walking with a bit of a limp but doesn’t have any issue with you touching his legs, so may just be a pulled muscle.

Silly cats.

I’m sure, at some point in the future, we’ll consider getting another cat from the rescue home. But not for a while – the memory of Penny still hurts.

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2 Comments

  1. Again, and as someone who has passed through a similar experience, sending love + hugs to you and your family. It took me a long while to get Hiro and Salem, and I still miss Sirius so much, but I now love them being around. Take your time.

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