I had Winston since 1996, so I believe at his death a week ago, January, 9. 2013 he would be roughly 16 years old.

I got him from a pet store, took him home and he became my best boy cat and best buddy. We lived in an apartment together for a few years then went to live in a new built home in a subdivision. The folks that purchased the home next door were walking through the neighborhood and came upon a kitten that someone had tossed in a construction dumpster. They had dogs and knew I had Winston, so they asked if I wanted her. Of course I did, as she was a tiny adorable tortoise shell gray cat that would be a great companion for my big orange Tabby, (Garfield Cat) Winston!

We all lived together in the new home for 9 years, where they continued being the best Cats ever! I admit Winston was my fave as I chose him, he was my first, and he was kind of a lap/dog cat! Big, sweet, friendly, leisurely, and loving like few other! He was also very mellow, loved everyone and let everyone pet him. He was my boy though where he slept with me, greeted me at the door, begged for deli select turkey, and would sit on my lap. One of my faveorite things while on my lap, was he would yawn, show his visious pointed Cat teeth, and reach to put his paw on my shoulder all while purring loudly! I loved him, and it was obvious he loved me too! I referred to him as my "Angel Cat," and a "cousin to the king of the jungle!"

Both Winston and Salem helped and supported me through the death of my father, a relationship breakup, and the sale of our home due to an ailing parent, and the downturn in the economy!

Living in my Mom's basement with Winston, Salem, my mom's dog's Spot and Cosmo seemed pretty good! We all got along and made it work. However, Winston was still my favorite as he was my buddy! He was diagnosed two years ago with congestive heart failure which meant fluid would build up and make it hard for him to breathe. He was prescribed medication which he graciously took with wet food in the morning and at night.

As many know the early 2013 flu season has been brutal and I became sick right after Christmas. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying the kind of attention to Winston that I normally would be as he wasn't feeling well either. On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, while being in bed sick all day, I noticed that Winston was laying on the floor in my bedroom and had defecated behind himself which he had never done before. I noticed him earlier in the day behind a chair, and laying in another unusual spot for him.

I made the decision to take him to the vet at 4pm that was to close at 5. His Doctor examined him and said the fluid was back. She said they could drain the fluid, and spend $3,000 to do numerous other tests, but he may not make it, through the night, the week, or longer.

Her recommendation was to put him asleep where I agreed. She whisked him in to the adjoining room where I opened the door and saw where she was inserting a port into his paw. Crying, I said, "he was fine yesterday, are you sure this is the right thing we're doing?" She offered that yes, this was the right thing, that he was having a hard time breathing, was suffering, and was unlikely able to get better. She brought him back in the exam room, as I wanted to be present, stuck the needle in the port, in a few seconds, he stuck his tune out, went completely limp, then was gone:-( After a few minutes, they brought him out in a Kitty coffin and placed him in the trunk of my car. It still frightens me to open my truck thinking he is still there!

Living in Columbus in January, and after snow melting, we decided not to bury him until the next day. My brother and brother-in-law agreed to come over later in the day on Thursday, January, 10, 2013 to help burry him. While waiting, my Mom asked if I had viewed Winston in the Kitty coffin still in the trunk of my car. I told her I had not, but wanted to. I opened the trunk, opened the coffin, and there he was, cold, stiff, but still looked like my Angel! My Mom and I both gasped in horror as he lay there; unbelievable, it hit me, he was really gone!

Just as my Brother and Brother-in-law arrived, we brought Winston in from the car to view one more time and prepare him for burial. We opened the coffin, removed him, wrapped him in a nice warm towel, and I held him on my chest like I did when he was alive. I cried like a baby, and said, "this is how he laid on me and his weight feels like he's here!" Devastating, indescribable!
We decided to bury him in dual lace pillowcases, and warm towels instead of the impersonal coffin that he came home for his last time.

We have mounded landscaping in the front yard where a nice deep hole was prepared for him for his final resting place. I couldn't dig the hole, but was the first to place dirt over him as I felt this was the last thing I could do for him!

I am so distraught! Why did this happen so fast? Why was I sick and not thinking straight? Why was it close to closing time at the vet and had to make such a quick decision? If I would have had more time to think, would the result have been different? Money was not an issue, he had the fluid drained before that brought him releif. Why had I chosen death over treatment. While driving to the Vet's office in his carrier, he had perked up, and with hope in my heart had brought him to get well, not to leave with a dead friend.

Why is Salem alone after having her buddy for so long? Why am I so heartbroken? Why do I cry, look at pictures of him, and every chair in the house reminds me of him as he had once so adorably slept there?

I had a song for my two good kitties that goes... "Winston and Salem, two good kitties, Winston and Salem," with a bit more chorus and a melody of course.

The day Winston died, I posted the following on Facebook:
"Today there is no more Winston and Salem song as I had to put my Angel Cat Winston to sleep. He was suffering from Congestive Heart Failure. The say there is no Cat or Doggie heaven; today there has to be as there is no place other than heaven for him! He was the best Kitty Cat ever and I miss him like a child. Love, hug, and take good care of your animals for that is what we are here for."

I will have another cat, maybe two, as I am a now confirmed cat person. I'd like to have two orange tabby kittens, a boy and a girl, maybe a brother and sister, so they can grow up together, bond, and be friends. I won't happen today, probably not tomorrow, or even for a while. Salem and I both need time to grieve losing Winston. New kitties will never replace Winston, just be new members of my family who know there are other amazing Cats that need a loving home as well! They won't be Winston, they'll be themselves, with their own enduring qualities that I will adore and cherish!

I feel better writing this, getting this out, telling Winston's, and my story! Thank you for reading and forever: Cherish the Cat!

Rest in Peace my good, big, orange Angel Cat "Winston" (1996-January 9, 2013)

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3 Responses Jan 16, 2013

I don't think any amount of money could possibly have granted Winston the kind of love, care and compassion you were able to show him. The mercy you granted him in his time of need for it was brave. I think you did the right thing. You are sad and lonely because of the unconditional love you received from Winston, but believe me, he felt it too. You did Winston proud. Your pain is a testament to your love for him. I think your decision to say goodbye was best because you knew in your heart it wouldn't be fair to put him through any more. And 16 is very old for a cat, that's a testament to how well you cared for him, even with a disease! You were a great caretaker.

I am so sorry for your loss. Mine died on the 10th at aged 20 with congestive heart failure, she defecated behind herself on a pillow she was resting on, and like yourself, I was/am sick with the flu. I have so many questions too like you, why was I so sick? Did I forget her medicine? Did I miss something she needed? I wish I had cuddled more with her that day but I was in bed, and my nose was too stuffed to even smell the sweet smell on the top of her head. She died within 15 minutes from the heart disease, at home, it was quick and painless, natural. Her ears had been extra cold that afternoon and she was very clingy the last few days, so this was coming. Again, I am sorry for your loss. I miss my cat so much but what I miss the most was when she was young and healthy and could still run and jump. I miss the way her legs would go sideways when she was running and happy, but this hasn't happened in many years. I think she was tired of being old and sore. Take care, thank you for writing about Winston. Tracy.;)

I'm very sorry about your cat. Your story made me cry. One of my cats, Ally died in March, she was only seven. I still really miss her. I have other cats but the house seems emtpy without her.

Winston was very lucky to have you during his time on Earth. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.