Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mr. Cotton

I really don't remember why or when I started calling him Mr. Cotton. It was something I started once and it stuck. When I talked all sweet to him, it was Mr. Cotton instead of just Cotton.

I got Cotton when he was about 4 weeks old.

I moved to Houston in August of 2005 and after my first week here alone, I knew I was going to get lonely. Labor day weekend I went back to Ft. Worth and me and my sister went to Petsmart to adopt a cat!

There was a lady who had a kennel with 2 little white kittens. I asked to see them and when I held him I knew I found my cat. At first, they said I couldn't have him. He was too young and he couldn't be adopted yet. Unfortunately his mom had gotten run over by a car so he wasn't getting nursed anyway so they finally decided to let me go ahead and adopt him. He had a sister with him too and sometimes I wonder what happened to her.

Because he was so young I had to give him kitty formula and wet food for a while. He was my baby.

Cotton was a crazy kitten. I ended up getting him declawed (which I regret now) because I always looked like I got attacked. It's not very professional to go to your patients room with scratches all over your face! haha. Oh, but he learned how to make up for his lack of claws with his teeth!

He was feisty and definitely quirky.

Most of y'all know that when John and I first started dating, John and Cotton weren't exactly the best of friends. John was allergic and Cotton just wasn't liking the new man in my life. One night Cotton even attacked John bad. I really thought John would break up with me over it. It's funny to look back at it now. I never thought they would turn in to the buddies that they were in the last few months.

They really were best buds. When I got home from work, I would open the front door so Cotton could stand at the screen door and watch for John. I always knew when John was home because Cotton would go crazy. He would stand up and meow and pat his little paws on the glass until John made it in the door.

Cotton was the biggest snuggler of all the cats. He would always be on me or John if we were on the couch. He always slept right in the middle of us too.

We had a lot of vet trips with Cotton unfortunately. From allergies to IBS to possible diabetes to his hair getting matted to vomiting to finally heart disease. Unfortunately the poor guy had to be sedated every time we took him in because he hated the vet. It was hard (and expensive) on me and him. It was always something.

Last summer, we found out he had feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. After a night in the ER from vomiting and getting loaded with fluids, he started wheezing. We took him in and after a chest X-ray it showed his enlarged heart and fluid on his lungs. They gave him a few doses of lasix and it cleared up and we were on our way. They said we would need to follow up with a feline cardiologist only if the symptoms returned. We watched him closely and luckily never had any problems...

During Spring Break we noticed an ulcer on his lip. These were common when he was a kitten and it was just related to allergies. But, the only way to get rid of them was a trip to the vet for a steroid shot. 

Friday afternoon I finally took him in. I took him to a new vet because the last trip to Banfield was a disaster. This was only a new vet to Cotton because Pixie and Lucy had been seeing him for awhile. I had Cotton's medical records sent over because of his heart.

We get there, they gas him, feline acne is diagnosed (we already knew that) his FVRCP shot plus a steroid shot was given and we're on our way. 

Everything is completely normal until Saturday night. 

We were out shopping all day and when we got home Cotton was just his normal self. About 8:30 John sat down in his recliner and like any normal night, Cotton jumped up to sit on his lap. 

"Babe, something's not right"

I look over and I see the dreaded site of him not being able to catch his breath. His chest is rising and falling so fast and I still can hear all the wheezing and water build up. 

We waited about 10 minutes, I guess in denial of what was happening. 

We finally got him in his kennel and took him back to the ER vet we were just at in July. 

When we walked in and I told them "my cats having trouble breathing" and they say STAT and rush him away, is when I realized how serious this was. 

Unfortunately the vet couldn't see him without sedating him so she came in and talked to us first about what was going on. The words dying never came out of her mouth. If this was his heart, he'd probably have to be on meds the rest of his life. But it could not be his heart, it could be allergies, asthma...anything really. Not dying though. 

We gave her the OK to sedate him to put an IV in, start meds, and do a chest x ray. We left and went home and waited for phone call. 

About 11:30 she confirmed my sweet boy was in heart failure. But they were doing everything they could. Lots of Lasix and we should be all good and they were scheduling an echocardiogram for first thing in the morning. 

An hour later we got another phone call. "It's not looking good" "You should plan to come here first thing  in the morning" Are about the only things I really remember.

We slept off an on through the night waiting for another phone call and around 5am I couldn't wait anymore and I called myself. They pretty much told me it was bad. They had done another x-ray during the night and the Lasix hadn't helped as much as it should have. They said they could put a needle in the space around his heart and lungs to take some fluids off but she said he most likely wouldn't make it through the sedation. She told us we really needed to come up there to see for ourselves and make that dreaded decision...

I lost it. I never thought I'd be making that decision for my boy when he was only 6 years old.

We made our way up to the vet and anxiously waited for them to take us back. We finally got back there and honestly, I wish I wouldn't have seen him like that. I hate that my last picture of him in my head is what he looked like that morning.

His little pink ears and nose were blue and gray. He had no color and his eyes were all glazed. He couldn't even lift up his head he was so weak. They opened up the oxygen tank where he was so we could talk to him and pet him and we had to make the decision then if we were going to let him suffer anymore.

As much as I hated it, it was an easy decision. I couldn't let him live like that. The vet said it was very unlikely for him to recover from this and if he did, he would likely go back into heart failure within days. He'd probably have to be in an oxygen tank for weeks. I couldn't do that to him. He was just too sick and I couldn't save him anymore.

We had walked in to a private room to discuss everything and when we came back in he had scooted himself closer to the edge of the oxygen tank. I'd like to think that it was because he knew John and I were there. We told the vet to go ahead with it and we watched our sweet boy go to Heaven at 7:15am on March 18th, 2012.

I can't even begin to explain to y'all how much my heart still hearts. I miss coming home to him and sometimes I still call him at night forgetting that he's not going to come up to bed with us this time. It hurts John when he comes home to no one sitting at the door. It hurts. Bad.

I blamed myself for awhile. Why didn't I take him to a cardiologist last summer? I didn't because I trusted our vet. I've learned that I can't blame myself. He was sick. He always has been. And no one would have taken care of that sweet boy like I did for nearly 7 years. God put him in my hands when his real momma got run over when he was only 4 weeks old because He knew I would take care of him and love him more than anything.

I also know now why Lucy came in to our lives last summer. Why no one wanted her, why no one adopted her. I would hate for Pixie to be all alone without her brother. Pixie and Lucy were never really fond of each other but I can definitely see a difference now that Cotton's not here.

I know the hurt in my heart will gradually get better and better but I will never forget Cotton and no cat will ever replace him.

Momma and Daddy love you and miss you buddy.
Pixie and Lucy do too.
We know that you are happy and have a healthy heart now and aren't suffering anymore.
Watch down on all of us until we see you again one day...

Love you sweet boy.



Cole said...

(((HUGS))) You can see how much Cotton was loved, and loved in return. Losing a furry family member is so hard. It sure seems like he had a wonderful six years with you!

Lauren said...

I'm so sorry Savanah! You definitely gave Cotton a good home, and I'm sure he misses you as much as you miss him! It's tough losing a pet, but I wish you all the best and am sending good thoughts!

Phil and Darby Hawley said...

Oh Savannah, my heart breaks for your lose! I'm thinking and praying for you as you continue to heal

Celia said...

I cried my little heart out on my way to work :( I'm so sorry you had to go through this so soon. It is the worse decision to have to face, but I know that Cotton loves you both and is playing with my Marco and MK at the Rainbow Bridge. They're sipping on some niptinis, eating salmon, and laying in the sun. :)

Megan said...

This makes me so sad. I love all of the pictures of him and I am glad he is no longer hurting. I know you miss him though and unfortunately the only thing that will help is time. I am so sorry this had to happen.

Meg O. said...

Oh my goodness, I know you warned me but now I'm crying here in my classroom!! GAH!!!

I absolutely love the photo of him in the fridge. So hilarious! He looked like he was such a sweet kitty. And I think it is so sweet how John became so attached to him. You did everything you could. You are such a good cat momma. You did the right thing - I know you know that but sometimes it feels good to hear that from someone else. *hugs* I know it is hard because pets are family.

Jennifer said...

Animals are so precious and I know how you are feeling. I'm so sorry that Cotton is no longer here but I know that he is perfectly healthy in Heaven and you will see him again one day.
You were the perfect human for him and he loved you so much. I'm so thankful he got to spend almost 7 years with you as his Mama

The Nerdy Katie said...

Good God you have me ugly crying! I am so sorry you lost him, I know how hard it is to go thru all the medical issues with a fur baby. His story reminds me so much of when I lost Belle.

You are so right about Lucy, we say the same thing about Maddie, we rescued her so soon after Belle died because Rockford (our other dog at the time) needed her.

You will stay in my thoughts and prayers, Cotton sounds like he was a VERDY well loved, amazing little guy <3

tara said...

Awww This totally mad me cry! Pets are part of the family and losing them is so devastating! :( hugs!!

Lauren said...

I'm so sorry, Savanah.. I know how priceless fur babies are, and I know how much you loved Cotton. But you did the right thing. You will see him again someday, and you'll get that white furry snuggle you've been missing lately. :) Keep your head up! xoxo

Mrs. Bear said...

oh my gosh Savannah! I am so so sorry. I never knew the love a person could have for a pet until we got our baby a few months ago so this post just broke my heart? My prayers go out to you. I hope that Mr Cotton is smiling down on his Mommaright now.

Syndal said...

oh my gosh what a sweet, sweet kitty! So glad Mr. Cotton is not suffering any more and I bet he was happy spending his last moments with you and John :( :(

Michelle @ The Vintage Apple said...


I am so so sorry for y'alls loss. Losing a pet is, in my opinion, just like losing a person.

I know all too well how this feels, and it hurts just the same.

We always think how of how lucky the pets are that come into our lives...how we train them, love them, raise them, feed them. In reality, it is us who should feel lucky! I know that I am SO BLESSED to have Ace in my life. He has completed me!!!

I know that you were an amazing mom to Cotton. The pictures of him are SO CUTE!!!!

Again, I'm so sorry!!!!!

Tea said...

I am still so very sorry for your loss. I teared up reading this this morning. It made me think of my little kitty that I haven't even had for a year yet. She's my child! I cannot imagine going through what you had to with Mr. Cotton! Such an adorable kitten! The picture of him in the refrigerator is so cute!

When we lost our dog, I fell in love with this quote. Although I'm sure you've heard it before.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Domesticable said...


I am really sorry about Cotton and I'm sorry that yall have to go through this. I knew I should have waited to read this when I got home but here I am crying at my desk. You are right about the life he had with you. He was a very loved kitty. He is in a better place now and is no longer suffering. I'm praying for yall.


Kathryn Neidhardt said...

Knew I shouldn't have read this at work... tear. Sending you happy thoughts, I know it's so hard.

Jenn @ West Sac Honey said...

Aw I'm so sorry Savanah! My heart breaks for you guys but you made the right choice he knew how much you loved him..

Katie said...

Oh, this broke my heart! I'm in tears now, and I can't imagine how you must feel! He was a gorgeous cat, and you gave him a wonderful life. If he was only six years old, and the condition was this bad, I can't imagine that taking him to the cardiologist last year would have prolonged his life, or improved his quality of life significantly. He was so lucky to have you as a momma. I know how hard it is to see then suffering, but I think it's worth it because they aren't alone in their last moments. A lot of people say thet can't stand to see their pets pass, but I think that's cruel. I could never leave my beloved pet alone at that time. I have to be there to ease them into Heaven. My heart goes out to you! *hugs*

Alex said...

This made me cry :( Poor sweet boy. It will get easier with time, but he'll never be forgotten.

Holly said...

I had to wait for a minute alone to read this, because I knew the tears would come. :(

Thank you for sharing all the sweet pictures of Cotton - the one in the fridge made me laugh a bit.

I had no idea you got him so young. It sounds like he was really protective over you. Seems like he warmed up to John once John asked you to marry him. :)

Maybe Cotton was just waiting to know that you'd be taken care of. <3

Christina said...

Awww, I'm bawling over here! I'm so sorry for your loss.

Ashlee Miller said...

Seriously teared up over this blog post! Words can't begin to express how sorry I am that you lost him so early! You have so many great memories of him which will last a life time! ((HUGS))

Caitlin said...

Oh my gosh, Savanah, my heart just breaks for you. I know how much love these little critters give us and how heartbreaking it is when we have to say goodbye. This was such a lovely tribute to him, and he's lucky to have had such a wonderful and loving Mom!

Holly said...

This makes me soo sad :( i'm so sorry for your loss. hugs!

Cami said...

I am crying. So I can't imagine how you are feeling.
I am so so sorry, Savannah. I truly am. But he was blessed to have such an amazing, loving, caring Mommy like you. ((((((HUGS)))))))))

Carly Ann said...

I knew as soon as I saw this post I shouldn't read it because I would be a mess by the end. I was right. I'm so sorry that happened, it is the absolute worst. But I am happy that I'm not the only person out there doesn't care how much money it costs or how many trips to the vet it will take to protect our furbabies!

Erica said...

I honestly tried to read this all but I couldn't...it broke my heart :( I am so sorry girl, I know your heart is hurting right now. xoxo

Sarah E. said...

Oh my gawsh :(( I'm so sorry Savanah!

I'm bawling my eyes out for you all. I can't imagine having to make that kind of decision about someone you love so much :(

RIP Mr. Cotton.

Katie said...

Oh, I'm so so sorry!! Making that decision for a pet is one of the hardest things to do, but it sounds like you guys definitely did the right thing. He was a lucky cat to have you loving him and taking such good care of him while he was here.

Lisa said...

I literally have tears streaming down my face! I know what it is to love an animal and make them your family. Mr. Cotton is waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge. I am terribly sorry for your loss.

Sarah-Life is what you make it said...

I had to give myself a minute to collect myself after finishing reading because cottons story reminds me of my mine.

I've had cats all my life-always two- and the past three we've had to put down after they too became very sick and would not just go pass away on their own.

It is the HARDEST thing to do. But, it is the most loving thing to do. There is no sense in keeping an animal alive when it is in pain just so we can keep them.

You did the right thing. Cotton loves you and will be around :) xo

RAY J said...

Awww sorry to hear that Savs!!

I kinda know how much it sucks though - after 14 years we had to put my puppy down. She had one health thing after another and after an episode of several seizures in a day the vet recommended we put her down. I was off at school at the time so my parents made the executive decision. It was her time though, just like this was Cotton's.

The vet couldn't believe she had made it 14 years though, as she was the runt of the liter and it's unusual for runt's to live a full healthy life, especially one as long as hers! It really is up to the owner though - good owners make their pet's lives worth living. And you seem like a good owner so Cotton most likely had a great life worth living!

Sadly, it is the circle of life, which sucks, but you'll always have the memories of your time with Mr. Cotton and what a great cat he was!

E said...

I'm sorry, again, for your loss. I'm sure writing this wasn't easy, but I hope some of the sweet memories you have of him helped you to get through it. You know he appreciated everything you did for him. You were his momma and you took care of him and gave him love.
I hope all the happy times will provide you with smiles whenever you get sad.

kourtney said...

So sorry to hear about Cotton. Looks like he had a wonderful life with you. I lost my cat, Ashworth a few months ago. He was 18. I'm still sad and still look for him. Hope your heart is healing, thinking of you!

LWLH said...

This is a heartbreaking story...I'm so sorry you had to make that decision and go through with it.

Nikki said...

This post made me cry. I am so sorry for the loss of your fur baby! Mine has had to have a couple emergency surgeries and that was hard I cannot imagine the heart break you have.

The pic of him in the fridge door is precious.

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