Goodbye to Our Beautiful Cats

goodbye to pet cat
Lily comforting me after my minor surgery.

Hey, Everyone. I’m going off-topic today because we had a pretty traumatic week at the RB40 household. Lily, our 20-year-old cat, just passed away. On Tuesday, we noticed she stopped eating and drinking. Mrs. RB40 told me Lily ate much less than usual over the previous few days. This is a bad sign. Whenever a cat stops eating and drinking, they’re on a slippery slope. I called around, but couldn’t find a veterinarian that would see her right away. So I took her to the emergency pet hospital nearby. Unfortunately, she had late-stage kidney failure. I’ll talk about this in detail a bit later. We decided to take Lily home so she can spend her last few days in comfort instead of being surrounded by other pets and people she didn’t know. She passed away a few days later and we were all really sad this weekend. We had 3 cats and she lived longest.

Our 3 beautiful girls

Lily and Zoey (sisters) came to live with us in 2003. Their previous owner moved out of state and we adopted them. They were both great. Zoey was super cute and friendly, but she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Lily was much more reserved and dignified.

I was Zoey’s favorite human and she spent a ton of time with me. She used to sit on my chest and lap whenever she could. As for Lily, she didn’t like humans very much back then. She preferred to spend time by herself and looked down her nose at everyone else, Zoey included. Mrs. RB40 thought this was unusual. We figured one cat would gravitate toward each human, but it didn’t work out like that. Mrs. RB40 wants a cat that’s hers too.

My assistant, Zoey.

In 2008, we adopted Hobi. Her previous owner was pregnant and I guess she wanted to focus on the baby. Hobi was a … unique cat. She was tiny and super cute. However, she was really fierce. If you pet her, she’d bite you. Also, she didn’t like the other cats. She’d whack Zoey on the head with her paw whenever she came near. Lily was smart enough to leave her alone. It took her a long while to get used to living with us. Fortunately, Mrs. RB40’s wish came true. Hobi bonded with her and became her cat. Hobi used to sleep on Mrs. RB40’s neck like a scarf… It looked uncomfortable, but very loving.

Hobi went wherever she wanted to.

Goodbye to the best cats in the world

Hobi was the first one to pass away in 2011. We weren’t sure how old she was, probably around 12 or so. When our son was about a year old, she suddenly disappeared. The cats shared the eating area so we didn’t know she stopped eating and drinking. We found her under the bed a couple of days later. She was cold by then.

Zoey was next, in 2014. She was 13 years old. We noticed she had blood in her stool for a few days. I took her to see a vet and we were going to do more tests to follow up. However, she passed away before we could. I think it was probably cancer of some sort. She stopped eating and drinking too. She went to hide under the bed and passed away pretty quickly.

Lily was much more traumatizing for us than Hobi and Zoey. It took her 4 days to pass. Which was way longer than I’d like. Our other cats passed away much quicker.

Healthcare for pets

I took Lily to the pet emergency hospital because I couldn’t get a speedy appointment with a vet. This pet ER is super busy due to Covid. It is the only pet ER that was open 24 hours. They serve over 100 pets every day and people drive in from all over to bring their pets here. You probably know this big pet ER if you’re a pet owner in Portland. (Hint for Portlanders – it rhymes with love truest…) I heard if you get in early in the day, your pet might get seen relatively quickly. They have a bunch of really bad reviews on Google Maps, mostly due to the waiting time.

12 hours at the ER

  • 1 pm – I took Lily to the pet ER. She wasn’t eating and drinking. Also, I noticed she couldn’t walk straight.
  • 2 pm – Lily got checked in. We live nearby so I went home to wait for any news.
  • 4 pm – The vet called. She examined Lily and found that she has lower than usual body temperature. Lily wasn’t walking right because she couldn’t straighten her back legs completely. She recommened blood and urine tests to figure out the next step.
  • 10 pm – They finally got the result of the blood and urine tests. Lily’s kidney level was off the charts. The vet said it could be cancer, kidney failure, or some other problem. One option is to aggressively treat her. The vet said this would cost $2,500 per day and Lily would spend at least 3 days in the hospital. The second option was to take her home and give her antibiotics and pain medication. The last option was euthanasia. We decided to take her home.
  • 1 am – The ER checked Lily out and I took her home.

I didn’t want to aggressively treat her because she was already 20 years old. There was no guarantee that she’ll get better after 3-4 days at the hospital. She would be scared and think we abandoned her at the hospital. I preferred to bring her home so she can spend her last few days in comfort and being loved. I didn’t want to euthanize her either. IMO, she was not in pain and she wanted to live a bit longer.

*I went in to talk to the vet at 10 pm. The ER was full of people and pets. I could see why the waiting time was so long for everyone. Don’t wait until after work if you need to take your pet in. Get to the ER as early in the day as you can.

The bills

The ER waiting room was pretty crazy. There was a commotion when I was waiting to check Lily in. A pet owner was crying and saying she couldn’t pay the $1,000 bill. She only had $700. From what I understand, the ER won’t treat the pet and asked the owner to euthanize it. It was a sad situation. A sick pet can be very expensive.

Here is our bill and my comments on them.

  • Emergency exam: $125 – This was well worth it. We wanted to know what was wrong with Lily.
  • Blood test: $107 – This was worth it too. It told us her kidney level was extremely high. She probably had kidney disease for a while.
  • Urine test: $178 – Worth it.
  • Antibiotic med: $28 – This was useless. It needed to be eaten with food. Lily wasn’t eating so we couldn’t even give this to her.
  • Pain med: $30 – I think this was helpful. I gave Lily the pain medication over the last few days. Hopefully, it made her more comfortable.
  • Anti nausea/vomiting medication: $35 – They did this at the ER as part of check out. I don’t think it was needed.
  • Fluid injection: $20 – Lily was dehydrated so they wanted to rehydrate her. In hindsight, it was a bad idea. It gave her strength to last longer, but it was harder for all of us. Lily probably would pass away a couple of days faster if she didn’t get this fluid injection, IMO.
  • Cremation: $40. I took Lily to the Oregon Humane Society after she passed away Saturday morning.

I didn’t mind paying for the vet and tests. We wanted to find out what was wrong with her. If it was something simple, then we’d okay treatment. Kidney failure was a big issue. Even if she recovered, she’d probably live just one or two more years. At that point, I thought it was better to bring her home to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye to pets

This last part might be hard to read so skip it if you’re already sad. I didn’t want to euthanize Lily because it looked like she wasn’t ready to go. She was alert and wasn’t in pain (IMO). We took care of her very well over the last few days. She gradually lost the use of her hind legs. I carried her to the litter box, took her to the eating station, and gave her pain medication. She drank a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday but stopped after that. By Friday night, she couldn’t move at all. We all said goodbye, petted her, and made her as comfortable as possible. I set up a hiding space for her and put a heater nearby. I think she passed away relatively comfortably. However, it dragged on much longer than our previous cats. I guess the fluid injection gave her the strength to hang on. It would have been easier for everyone if I didn’t okay the hydration, just my opinion. RB40Jr was really sad because he grew up with Lily.

We aren’t going to get any new pets for a while. Mrs. RB40 plans to take a lot of time off next year. We’ll travel and be out of town a lot. We’ll probably look for a rabbit or a cat when we come home. Anyway, we need a little time off to get over Lily. It was a pretty traumatizing week. We’ll have to believe Lily is reunited with Zoey and Hobi in kitty heaven now. Goodbye girls. ๐Ÿ™

Alright, that’s it for today. This post went on a bit longer than I planned. It’s hard to stop once I got started, though. Take care of your pets and love them as hard as you can!

Thank you for the kind words! We really appreciate it.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

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39 thoughts on “Goodbye to Our Beautiful Cats”

  1. Sorry for your loss Joe. Losing pets is very hard. I too think taking Lilly home was the best thing for her and your family. I hope you will again have a pet in your home down the road!

    Reply
  2. We decided that when our last set of outside animals, two dogs and a cat, died we would not replace them. They were just too much trouble having to have someone come by once a day and drop dry food in their bowls when we were traveling. And they were outside animals, never let in the house or never let in the cars except for a vet trip so we avoided the extreme attachment people get to lap pets. They were just working animals, the dogs providing security for the property and the cat keeping the mice out of our vehicles and equipment. I do miss having them around when I’m outside but we also like to pick up and take off with little to no planning and that’s one less thing to take care of now, which is nice.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing. Our cats are part of the family because we spend so much time together. I don’t know if I can think of pets as working animals. We won’t get any new pets until we’re done with our big trip, though. It is a big issue when we aren’t home.

      Reply
  3. Sorry about your loss.

    Both of my last 2 cats I had passed from kidney failure too. ๐Ÿ™

    20 years for a cat is like a human living well into their 90’s.

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  4. Man Iโ€™m really sorry to hear about this Joe. I know itโ€™s tough. Iโ€™ve lost some dogs over the years and know the pain. Hope you guys are taking care.

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  5. Sorry to read about your cat, making these decisions about our pets is so hard. I know you did the best you could for her. Take care

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  6. Aww I’m sorry Joe that’s so sad ๐Ÿ™ although on the bright side 20 years is a good nice long life for a cat! I had a childhood kitty cat, she just never came home one day, the imagination goes dark. I was so sad! A nice end surrounded by family is a good way to depart ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. So sorry to hear about this. But it’s clear from the post that your cats had great lives since they had great “parents.” I lost my childhood cat when he was 13 and I was 21 and am already dreading the same for Toby & Milo โ€” our precious 6-year old kitties โ€” even though it’s (hopefully) a long way off.

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  8. So sorry for your loss. We lost (euthanized) our last cat just over a year ago on October 30th. She was 16. DH was her favorite although she slept on me in the winter since he tosses and turns too much.

    DH says no more cats. He couldn’t go through another one dying. OTOH he’s also afraid that a cat could outlive us, which at our age is entirely possible. I thought he might change his mind, but no. I will admit that planning travel (should we ever be able to do that again) will be easier without a pet.

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  9. Sorry to hear that Joe. Our cat was quite sick a few months ago to the point she wouldn’t eat any food. We took her to the vet to get checked and I ended up having to blend her food and feed her via a syringe. Fortunately, she got better. It’s tough to lose a pet. ๐Ÿ™

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  10. I’m sorry about your cat. I can’t imagine what it is like, though I will be dealing with it at some point. I imagine it is the same with you since you also stay at home, but I spent more time with my dog than anyone else in my life. The only time we are apart is if I go to the store, and often he’s the car for the ride.

    Hugs.

    Reply
  11. So sorry to hear for your loss. Thank you for sharing this vulnerable moment with us all.

    We have two cats that are almost 14. They seem to still be in pretty good health, but we know they are getting up there in age. Growing up, the cat I had passed away at 14 so I know ours could happen at any time (or they could live for several more years).

    I like how you didn’t euthanasia Lily. I always assumed that was the “easier” way to deal with death, but in reading your post I am much more open to having our cats pass at home (if they are not in pain, etc.).

    Reply
    • Thanks. I hope your two cats live for many more years. They’re great companions.
      As for euthanasia, I wouldn’t want it done to me unless I was in pain. I think I want to live for as long as I’m loved and somewhat comfortable.

      Reply
  12. I’m so sorry to read this. You did everything right by them and your cats were lucky to share their lives with you. I’ve worked in veterinary software for almost fifteen years; it’s an intensely rewarding field, but the lows can be pretty rough. I hope all the good memories bring you comfort.

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  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. Mine passed suddenly just a couple weeks ago so I feel for you, but even that was different because my cat was just 2 years old, which is a bit different than having a 20 year companion die. Interesting to read about the ER visitation as well, as we were not charged for anything (I think by the time our cat sitter got the cat to the ER he was already gone) except for the cremation. Really nice that you gave Lily a comfortable time for her last few days with you, sounds like all of your cats were absolutely loved.

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  14. Hi Joeโ€”I’m so sad to hear of Lily’s recent passing (and the previous passing of Zoey and Hobi). This is one of the hardest parts of having pets; you will have to say goodbye one day. I don’t look forward to the day when we’ll have to face that with our dog, Mika.

    I think you did all the right things for Lily, even if in hindsight, you might not have okayed the hydration. She was clearly very well-loved, right to the end. It was a good choice to take her home, make her comfortable, and let her pass away in familiar surroundings.

    I hope you, Mrs. RB40 and RB40 Jr. will find comfort from each other and your happy memories of all your cats.

    Reply
    • Thank you. It’s too bad cats and dogs don’t live as long as humans. It is really sad to part way.
      I hope Mika lives many more years. She is super cute.
      We talked about all our old cats a lot this weekend. They were a lot of fun.

      Reply

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