From Kittens To Family Members To How To Deal With Illness And Disease

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Updated 4/30/2020

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Living with cats

I have always loved animals and grew up with cats and dogs. Pets are so loyal and give unconditional love. It is hard when they pass or get a disease and have to be put to rest.

We had to deal with this with the 4 cats we had recently. I will tell you their stories on how they came into our lives, how they passed, how hard it was to deal with, and if you made the right decision. They are a part of the family you don’t forget.


Kittens Who Become Family And How To Deal With Illness and Disease – Photo by Canva

Chloe was our first addition to the family. She was this cute little Tabby, who was given to us by our neighbors after their cat had kittens.

She was full of energy and loved to lay in your lap. Going to the vet was a challenge as she was difficult to get in the crate, and many times had to put a towel over her to get her in.

Giving her medication was a chore and would take three of us to get her to swallow pills. She was an indoor cat but loved to go outside in our backyard and lay contently in the sun for hours.

After a few years, we noticed she was sucking on one of her nipples on a regular basis and thought maybe she was lonely and needed a companion.


Kittens Who Become Family And How To Deal With Illness and Disease – Photo by Canva

Our second addition was another Tabby we found at a shelter, who we named Cuddles, as she constantly wanted to be around you and cuddle. Chloe treated her like her own kitten and even groomed her, and the nipple sucking stopped.

We noticed shortly, Cuddles had bubbles coming out of her nose, so took her to the vet for a checkup, where they did a blood test. We found out that she had feline leukemia, and the vet said she probably developed it from her mom during birth.

Even though we had not had her for long, we were devastated, and already very attached to her. She was so loving, energetic, and loved being around people.

The vet put her on medication to see if she could get it under control, but when we had her checked again, we found out it had progressed and were advised to be prepared to put her down.

We became so attached and had so much love for this cute little kitten and were so heartbroken and had to prepare for the inevitable. Not only would we be losing Cuddles, but we had also unknowingly exposed Choe to feline leukemia.

The vet said she would need to get the shot to try and prevent getting this awful disease, and that there is a possibility she could get cancer down the road.

For the next couple of months we watched Cuddle’s wonderful personality develop, and suddenly she started to slow down, and eventually, she had a hard time getting up to go to the litter box, so we decided it was time so she wouldn’t suffer, hard as it was!

She wasn’t even 4 months old but had brought so much joy to the family, and we cried our hearts out that sad day. My husband had become very attached to Cuddles and took it very hard.

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Kittens Who Become Family And How To Deal With Illness and Disease – Photo by Canva

Almost a year had passed, and we were driving and talking about getting another cat, so we stopped by Pet’s Mart. We saw the two adorable long-haired grey tabby kittens, and one stayed in the back of the cage, and the other came forward.

Steve felt a connection, and so we added our 3rd addition to the family, and since she looked like Gizmo in the movie, that is what we named her. She was a shy kitty who became very attached to Steve but was not very social with other family members or people.

After some time she acknowledged our son and me, but Steve was her buddy. Chloe was maternal but also showed her alfa side. When we made trips to the vet Gizmo was so scared that she would pee or poop on herself, so they would have to clean her during her exam.

Since she showed so much anxiety going to the vet, we did not go often. We noticed she was having discomfort pooping in the litter box and would end up going on the floor or bed.

We made a trip to the vet and found out she was not able to express herself, so if this is not done, it can explode and become an open wound. She needed surgery to repair her wound. I never knew that cats might not be able to express themselves.

The vet suggested we bring her in or that we could try to express her. Unfortunately, this happened again, even after taking her in every couple of months., and another surgery, Ugh!


Kittens Who Become Family And How To Deal With Illness and Disease – Photo by Canva

After about another year, my son and I were in Pet’s Mart again and saw another kitty, who rubbed on the cage and purred constantly. She was so adorable so we had to bring her home.

She was a tabby mix, we named Patches, as she was white with tabby markings. She was the 4th addition, and purred constantly, even when she was eating.

Loved to be on your lap, loved attention, and was very playful. She would sleep with us at night. Chloe showed her maternal side again, but the other cats knew she was the Alfa.

“The memories and paw print of a beloved cat remains in our heart and soul forever.” – Unknown

Chloe as the alpha and losing her to cancer

A few years went by, and the girls were getting along well, but Gizmo stilled preferred to be off on her own. Patches and she would have tense moments and Chloe would break them up. Chloe was the first cat and with the addition of the other two, she became the alpha.

It is interesting to see how different they act, and how the alfa is in charge even as more cats or animals are added. Then one day my son found a lump on Chloe’s back leg, where at that time that is where some vets gave vaccine injections.

We took her to the vet, and yes, she had developed cancer from the feline leukemia vaccine. Our vet said the best approach was to amputate her leg.

Heartbroken again, I did lots of research on this and most studies showed cancer comes back after this surgery! We thought long and hard on this and decided to enjoy the time she had left, and not put her down until we felt she was starting to show signs of suffering.

We had her another 4 months, and then it was time. She was 7 years old and had always been healthy. I felt guilty for her having to have a shorter life than she could have had!

Who becomes the alpha now?

After a few days, Gizmo and Patches sensed Chloe was gone, and they were confused about how the succession of order should be. Neither one was a leader, and without Chloe there to keep the peace, the tension between those two got worse as time went on, they tolerated each other but kept their distance from each other.

Within a few years, we added our dog, Lexi, to the family, as a puppy. This union was not going well, as the cats were getting older, and wanted nothing to do with a dog, even when we tried different ways of introducing them. They decided to stay in our bedroom to keep their distance from Lexi.

Losing Gizmo to cancer according to the vet

Years went by, and now Gizmo is 14, and she isn’t acting herself and seemed to be losing weight. We took her to the vet, where they did an exam and they think she was riddled with cancer and was probably in a lot of pain.

With all her fur, you couldn’t tell how skinny she was, and found out she weighed 5 lbs! The vet felt she had a few more days left, and so heartbroken again, we decided the humane thing to do was put her down! We were seeing our cat pack dwindling down to one!

Lost Patches to congestive heart failure

Patches seemed like a lost soul all alone, and she and the dog had tense moments. Lexi just wanted to play, but Patches wanted nothing to do with her!

It was about another year, and Patches had never been to the vet for anything but exams. She was almost 14 herself, and I noticed she kept hopping in and out of the litter box, so took her to the vet.

She had a urinary tract infection and was fine after taking medication. She was short-haired, but sometimes would have a hacking cough, and would not really have a hairball, but liquid would come up.

Then this became longer and more often, plus a wheezing sound when breathing, so took her to the vet. The vet did numerous tests and found out she had congestive heart failure and wanted to put her on medication.

It is like, please not again! This one was really a shock, as she was such a healthy cat and we had no idea she had heart problems! By the next morning, she got worse as the day went on, and she hid in one of the cupboards and became incontinent.

We couldn’t watch her suffer that way, so I made a call to the vet to have her put down. So hard to lose your pets in this way!

We went from 4 wonderful cats down to none, but the time we had with all of them brought years of love and joy! They will not be forgotten!

In closing…

Our animals are a part of our family and how we mourn over the loss of them, is heart-wrenching and we miss their presence in so many ways. Not only do they give us unconditional love, but they also make us better human beings by having them in our lives.

When your pets get sick or have a terminal disease, what is best for them, and when do we let go? Do we feel guilt, if we can’t afford surgeries and treatment? Do we ask ourselves what we could have done differently? Please comment and share your stories!

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Here is another post you might enjoy – Mourning The Loss Of A Pet

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See you soon, Denise

Posts may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases and collect a small commission at no cost to you. This helps my blog to keep going. Thank you! For more info, read my disclosure policy.

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14 thoughts on “From Kittens To Family Members To How To Deal With Illness And Disease

  1. While the cats that I had died a long time, I can relate to the experience and what you went through. They meant a lot to our family and this article made me remember all the good times!

    1. Thank you for the comment Emily, and yes, when they are gone we do still have the wonderful memories!

  2. Losing a pet is always a horrible process. With people you can have fights and disagreements but with pets, there is just love. I had to put our shi-tzu down recently (she was having strokes and her back legs stopped working). I thought it was the humane thing to do but it strained our marriage for a bit.

    1. So sorry for your loss! It is so hard to know when to let go, but I think our pets let us know when it is time, as painful as that is! I can see how it can strain a relationship when you aren’t on the same page. Thank you for the comment!

  3. Hi! I’m a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady! I currently have 2 cats and a kitten, which has been a little tough because the older cats are bonded. But, we’re working on it! I’m so sorry about your loss(es). Pets are like family members. And, when they’re gone, it can be difficult to cope. Thanks for sharing! Melissa Damiani | Gratitude Grace Glamour

    1. Thank you for your comment, Melissa! Good luck with the kitten and the older cats, as they get so set in their ways! When our dog was a puppy, she wanted to play with the cats, so barked and tried playing, but they wanted nothing to do with her!

  4. This is so sad. I have 3 cats whom I love dearly. I can’t imagine losing them. Cats are truly special creatures who bless our lives with their love and quirky personalities. I’m sorry you had to experience so much loss. It’s so lovely of you to honor their importance in your life with this post. ✨?✨

    1. Thank you, Rose, for your comment! Yes, cats are special creatures whom we do love more than we can say. Unfortunately, we can lose them to illness, sooner than we expect. Keep enjoying time with your cats!

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