Saying goodbye to a much-loved pet

by May 4, 2020

My heart is breaking. This afternoon, we had to say good-bye to our sweet Sasha. It happened so fast. Last week, she was enjoying sitting by the windows that we could finally open to let in the spring air. She was claiming lap times on TV nights and exerting her royal authority over kd and Luigi. But then things changed.

Last Thursday she spent most of the day under a bed and was showing some signs of difficulty getting upstairs and showed no interest in getting on the bed, uncharateristic for our graceful princess – and far and away the best, most natural jumper in the house.  Friday morning, I called the vet. They are under limited hours and closed-door policy because of COVID-19 restrictions but said that they would get her in on Tuesday. Saturday, she seemed a little better and was eating ok; we felt relieved. But Sunday she was really lethargic and by the end of the day was lying on the living room floor, next to her favourite cat bed. In the evening I picked her up and she felt like she had dropped weight overnight. She curled up on my lap for scratches but was having breathing troubles – not constantly but regularly – taking shallow rapid breaths. She soon headed off and didn’t return to reclaim her space as was her habit.

 Later, I found her under the bed, breathing with difficulty.  We could not believe the drastic change and the speed with which it hit.  Sasha lay under the bed looking at us listlessly, just out of reach.   I sat for an hour giving her scratches until she fell asleep. And both Stephen and I were up through the night checking with her and sitting with her, first by the bed and later when we found her stretched on the floor in the living room. By this morning, she was having more breathing problems and sometimes a gurgle / rattle. I phoned the vet in tears and they got her in this afternoon. 

We couldn’t go into the vet’s office; I had to call in when I arrived and someone came and took her from the car. The doctor phoned shortly after and said Sasha’s colour was good but weight was down and felt like there might be liquid in her belly. The doctor wanted to take an XRay. She called me back in minutes and said that the news wasn’t good. There was cancer that probably started in the liver or pancreas but now had metastasized in the lungs. She said that there were things we could try that might buy a little time. We knew that we didn’t want her to suffer anymore than she already had. Assured that we would be able to be with her despite the current closed-door policy, we made the difficult decision to euthanize our special, beautiful girl. We held her and gave her cuddles and let her know she was loved as she drifted peacefully to sleep. She looked right in my eyes and think she knew we were there, though she might have been confused by the masks we had to wear for safety. Still, both Stephen and I were so grateful we could be with Sasha to say good-bye.  Big thanks to Dr. Celeste Forgeron and all the team at the Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital. They always treat us and our felines with patience, love and professional care. 

 Tonight, our home feels sad and empty.  We are missing our alpha cat.  Both the human and feline members of our family, keep looking for Sasha. Her absence is strongly felt, just as her presence always was. Sasha was my first feline companion. She was a kindred spirit and turned me into a cat person. I will miss her regal, elegant presence in our lives.

Rest in Peace, gentle Sasha. You were much loved and will be always remembered! 
We are so grateful to have had you share our lives for 10 years.


Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


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