June last year was a terrible month. Susannah had a week off work at the beginning of June and we had planned to go away on holiday, but then one of our cats, White Spot, got very sick and, unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to our beautiful boy. I wrote about it here. It was a terribly sad time and I grieved for him for months. We still had Whitey’s brother Rudi though and he was of great comfort to us, becoming even more cuddly and loving than before – I suspect he was grieving too as the boys had spent their entire lives together.
In early June of this year, history began to repeat itself. Susannah had a week off and once again we’d planned to go away. But Rudi suddenly got sick, at almost the exact same time as Whitey had. We canceled our camping trip and took Rudi to the vet. He tested positive for a urinary tract infection and was given antibiotics. After 4-5 days he began to hemorrhage from his bladder. We took him in for an ultrasound and the vet diagnosed some kind of bloody mass, but exactly what it was was not clear. We booked him in for a CT scan to see if we could get further information. The results were still not clear, so after spending a lot of money and subjecting poor Rudi to numerous vet visits and tests we were still at a loss as to what was wrong and how we could help him.
The vet advised seeing an internal medicine specialist. The clinic was booked up for weeks and Rudi was running out of time. He seemed to be going through a cycle of bleeding, then exhaustedly sleeping to recover, and then he’d appear almost normal, but weak. It was a 3-4 day cycle. Each time it happened his red blood cell count was lowered and he got more and more tired.
Feeling quite helpless, we decided to try a Chinese Herbal Medicine which the vet had told us about. Yunnan Baiyao has been known to stop bleeding in both humans and dogs (so why not cats)? The problem was that the powder had a bitter flavour so it was difficult to get him to consume it. We tried for 3 days over the weekend but on Tuesday decided to take him back to the vet to have a blood test to check his red blood cell count. We were considering exploratory surgery to see if the mass could be removed – a last-ditch attempt to save him. Unfortunately, his level was too low so that was no longer an option. At home, Rudi had another bleed. Afterward he lay on the floor at the bottom of the bed and slept. We made the hard decision to say goodbye.
When we woke up on Friday morning Rudi was almost his old self. He jumped up onto the bed and cuddled with us both. He seemed to be spreading his love between us. He was eating and drinking and even came outside in the sun for a brushing. He was having a good day. He was very tired though and kept nodding off.
We decided that we wouldn’t let him go through the cycle of another bleed which he was finding very traumatic and that we should end things on a good day. We took him up to the Hastings Vet Clinic and put our boy to sleep.
This was a decision I have very mixed feelings about. I know that we saved him the trauma and stress of uncontrollable bleeding but at the same time, he was having a good day and we cut it short. I think I will forever feel guilty about that.
Losing Rudi has been devastating.
There are so many things in our apartment to remind us of him. Even after we packed up the food and water bowls and removed the litter box, there were his toys, his favourite blanket, the patio pet door. For the first week, I would catch glimpses of him out of the corner of my eye, or I would think I had heard him meow, only to realize he wasn’t there. I still expect to see him when I come home or to wake up with him lying across my legs.
Rudi was a real character. He gave us so much love and laughter. He was a chatty little guy with some extra special quirks and we loved him dearly. He liked yoghurt and eggs and we would share with him. He was a cat of many nicknames, the most affectionate being Doodle Bear.
I miss my Doodle Bear and I think I always will.
Having Rudi still with us made losing Whitey a bit more bearable, but with Rudi gone too, I feel the loss of them both. We had all been together since 2005 and in that time we lived in 5 different places. Each new house became home because we inhabited it together. The apartment seems empty without our two black shadows.
We loved the boys so much and we have many wonderful memories. We are very lucky that we chose White Spot and Rudi…or did they choose us? In either case, we were a perfect fit.
RIP to both my beautiful boys 😥
You will forever be missed.