Saying goodbye to an old friend.

A happy Melvin from 2009.

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that Melvin, the Official SEB Cat, has passed away. Melvin came to live with us 8 years ago on my birthday — August 25th, 2004 — and he was the best birthday gift I could have hoped for. We got him from my sister, who had taken him in after he was mauled by a dog. She spent the money at the vet to get him patched up, but already had her own collection of cats and a dog and really couldn’t afford to take on another one. So she called us and we said yes.

He was never much of a lap cat, I can only think of a handful of occasions he ever got into my lap and almost never into anyone else’s, but he did like to be near people. He would sit on the arm of the chair or couch so you could pet him and often he would come up and tap you on the shoulder to get you to follow him to his food dish so he could be petted while he ate. He become an indoor only cat for most of his time with us, something he wasn’t always happy with, but he made the best of it. He moved with us four times over the years and always managed to turn the new place into home.

A pic taken just under a year ago of Melvin hanging out on our computer desk.

Over the last 6 months he had lost a lot of weight dropping nearly 5 pounds and then over this past weekend he took a sudden turn for the worse. He was lethargic and having trouble focusing, dehydrated, not eating, and having trouble using the litter box. A trip to the animal hospital Sunday became a transfer to our regular vet on Monday to the news today that he wasn’t improving despite intravenous fluids and other treatments. He was uncomfortable and tests pointed to a likely cause being pancreatic cancer.

So today Anne and I went to the vet’s office immediately after work where we spent a little time with Melvin to say goodbye. He was conscious, but still unfocused and was obviously uncomfortable despite being on pain medication. The doc came in and administered the drugs that would put him to sleep for the final time. It was stunningly fast. Literally a matter of moments. He licked his lips two or three times as if he was tasting something and then he was still.

Melvin is not the first pet I’ve had to let go, but he is the first one I was there for when the time came. It was a heartbreaking thing to do, but I knew it was the best thing for him. Any other decision I could have made would’ve just prolonged the inevitable and made him suffer unnecessarily. He had a pretty good run at 14 years of age and trying to coax anything more from him would’ve been selfish. I know all of this and yet it doesn’t make me feel any better.

Goodbye old friend. You will be deeply missed.

13 thoughts on “Saying goodbye to an old friend.

  1. I saw his eyes go glassy then nothing…. I held him after he passed for a moment, shedding a few more tears into his still warm furry body. Then let him go and had to leave the room. I honestly believe we did the right thing, in my heart of hearts. Despite the fact that I am sad today and will always miss my Mel.

  2. I have lost several pets over my fifty years on this planet including three beloved dogs in the last four years. It’s always hard to see them go, but the lifetime of fond memories more than makes up for the relatively short time of grief. My sympathies to you and your family.

  3. I went through the same exact thing two years ago yesterday. I adopted a three -year old female cat in 2004 from a roommate who moved out and couldn’t take her.

    She was the coolest cat, she would wait for me to come home, chastise me when I was late, and would follow me everywhere I went when I was at home. If I went out for a walk, she would follow, never being more than ten feet away.

    When she got sick enough for me to take her into the vet, they did some tests on her and told me that they suspected cancer and that her organs were shutting down. She seemed to know that her time was near an end, and when they brought her back out for me to say goodbye, and for a few moments she was almost her usual self. The doctor gave her the shot and she went away peacefully.

    I spent that whole night literally blubbering. A hole had been ripped out of me. My ex-wife knew what I was going through, and two days later she brought me a kitten that was so scared that she hid under the furniture for hours before she came out.

    My new cat is cool in a different way. She will never replace Henrietta, but she has helped fill the hole that Henrietta left two years ago.

    Find another kitten. Like I said, a new cat will never replace your Melvin, but it will keep you going.

  4. I appreciate all of the condolences here and on G+, Twitter, and Facebook. Melvin was an awesome cat, but we’re not cat-less now that he’s gone.

    We still have Cuddles, our emergency backup cat who we brought home as a kitten in October of 2010. And then there is Jasper, a kitten I rescued from the parking lot at work literally one year ago from tomorrow. The vet estimated he was three weeks old at the time which means he’s just turned one year old. I hadn’t realized we were so close to the anniversary of his entry into our lives. Whereas Cuddles is sort of the anti-Melvin in terms of personality, Jasper is more of a cross of the two. Like Melvin, he loves to be petted while he’s eating and he has an amazing way of talking to you which I keep meaning to catch on video at some point.

    Both cats have been a big comfort the past couple of days and I’m looking forward to many more years with them. We’re back down to a two cat household for now, but who knows what the future will bring.

  5. I’m sure Jasper and Cuddles will help you get through the loss of Melvin but there will always be a little tear in your heart for him. A small tear sits on my cheek for your old friend.

  6. Sorry for your loss, man. It really sucks to have to say goodbye to a good friend. I’ve got an old dog who isn’t getting any younger, and I’m dreading the day I lose him.

  7. Deepest sympathies, Les, we never realize just how big a part of our lives these little critters are until they’re gone. Give Cuddles and Jasper a hug for me.

  8. I lost the Tessinator this January. At least you didn’t have to deal with the trip to the emergency vet at 2AM on a Sunday morning. I had made the decision to bring her to the vet on Monday but things went south early sunday am. I will never put a pet through that extended suffering again.

  9. So sorry, I’ve had to make that trip twice in the past 10 years. Its amazing how they integrate into your lives and your family.

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