I didn’t want to write this as a Facebook post as we know they can get lost like a needle in a haystack in no time.
I know many people wrote me from around the world who were inspired by Ms Pye and her store of battling cancer and winning that battle for some time. So I wanted to write this for all of you and in her memory.
Today, just before 12 noon here on the East Coast of Florida, we had to put Ms Pye to sleep and say our final goodbyes. I know some of you saw her photos and videos less than 24 hours ago where she was cleaning herself, eating and looking like a million bucks (Ms Pye always did look healthy right up until the very end)
Pyewacket (her full name after the star Siamese in the old film Bell Book and Candle) was born in 1995 and I adopted her at 8 weeks old in Los Angeles. The very same age that my parents adopted me. Pye’s pregnant Mama was found in San Bernardino county and she was one of 11 kittens! I knew she was the one from the minute I saw her. I’d never adopted a kitten before (always adult cats- even as a kid!) but I already had a rescue cat at home (Mio) who was a very small adult and was already declawed when I adopted her so I was worried about a large cat intro and little Ms Pye was perfect. That little Pye did grow to nearly 3x Mio’s weight but despite that they became best of friends and never any real cat fights 🙂
Pye was diagnosed with late state intestinal disease (cancer) in January and a top cat expert in the South East who saw her said she would not make it to the end of the month. Ms Pye didn’t listen though and made it all the way to June with mostly quality days and even a near comeback a few times where we thought she was “better” She even fooled the vet into this a few times. It was one hell of a roller coaster ride.
Last night though she started having a little more trouble with her back legs and looked a bit more yellow (which our vet- who has done this 32 years- confirmed was jaundice) I knew it wasn’t getting better and even though Pye was a stubborn kitty and went out 5 times this morning to walk the back yard she was unsteady on her back feet which were giving out. Yesterday they were perfectly fine.
Then (just after our vet arrive) Pye actually did a little somersault when she was trying to climb. We were then 100% sure …. it was time. Joe (Dr Mercola) and our amazing holistic vet (Dr Anne Sober) and I sat outside with Pye where she was a fighter up til the end requiring 2 shots to even get her sedated. Even after the second shot in the muscle she still stayed alert and meowed. Our very seasoned vet (not the cat “expert”) was surprised but my last two cats were extremely stubborn Tortie shells (Pye was also half Siamese) and fought right up to the end with her will to live and be stoic.
The good news is that it was WELL under 24 hours that she even had these walking problems and only this morning that she didn’t want to eat. Both Joe and Dr Anne (and myself come to think of it) are pretty sure she was in little pain up til last night or this morning. Not even so much pain as just weakness and I am GLAD she went quickly (in less than a day’s time of really deteriorating) as just yesterday she played in the grass and lied with me and purred (We spent the whole day together in a room as they were installing closets in the rest of the house- Murphy’s law she’d go right after- but also proof it was meant to be as I got that last day with her in the only room she wanted to be in (beautiful covered porch surrounded by nature)
She was an amazing little angel and this is the first time in my life I’m left with no other pets after putting her to sleep today. I have always rescued (and done some foster) but in later years Ms Pye didn’t like that so much. The good news is some of the kitties I rescued who Ms Pye knew like Captain Midnight (a former neighborhood stray) Chaussette (named by her new pet parents who lives in a gated community with their own strip for their private jet- she went from the streets to luxury- she flies up North with them in the winters- on the private jet!) Jeepers (nick name- full name Jeanne- who I rescued after hurricane Jeanne) and Skinny (who was found living under a car) all live on here in Florida with my friends who rescued them and all knew and loved the Ms Pye.
The custom of the funeral home comes to pick her up afterward and all anyone could say (the couple who picked her up, her vet, Joe and I) were how A-MA-ZING she looked. Even the people who take her to be cremated said she was a stunner and beautiful cat (even after life) and I think they about fell over when they asked how old she was and I said 19. She didn’t pee herself (none of my animals EVER have) and lied there like a perfect model weighing in at over 10 lbs and not bony or skinny and her fur still purrrfect and shiny.
I think Ms Pye had so many people who loved her because of her story. She refused to to give up and had a great attitude and had six more wonderful months with me (and Joe) as she posed for the camera and got loved on and just enjoyed her daily outings (She only went out supervised but always loved the outdoors and lying in the shade under the trees, a nice lounge chair or in the sun feeling the ocean breeze and smelling any animals who might be in the area. She’d walk the yard making sure no one else was in her space.
Pye had also been very protective over adopted sister Mio who lived to 20. I always thought Pye just didn’t like other cats too much but after Mio died Pye (still full of energy then) didn’t howl at them the way she did when Mio was alive. Mio was much smaller (less than half Pye’s size) and she protected her “little sister” all her life. Everyone said Pye would die after Mio died almost 3 years ago as she’d lived with her since she was a kitten but we went three years more together moving from Chicago back to Florida (oh how Pye had moved) and she even made a few neighborhood friends and a couple of boyfriends 🙂
I promise to get back to some on emails they’ve written about Pye which I haven’t answered yet. People have written publicly about sharing her story with their family members who also had cancer (that’s what we think it was) and so many were moved by her story. Even full grown men (some I grew up with) would write me privately how they’d tear up looking at pictures and the most recent videos. I know some might laugh at how much I posted about her but it wasn’t that I wanted to show off my cat (ok maybe at first – a little) but after a while it was CLEAR that she was helping people who reached out to me. And if she helped just one person it was worth it. It helped me too to post her latest updates. Oh, and I think she liked it too as she was the center of attention) Also for those nearly 3 years since her older sister died at 20 – Pye finally got to be the “TOP dog” With no other animals (usually I’d adopt another but she was so older and we had moved) but she got all the attention to herself getting to snuggle up to me on my many hours on the computer or at night.
She also loved to lie on Joe or my chest while we watched a good movie or one of our favorite shows like Breaking Bad. I know she’ll be missed by many and just wanted to give her a proper goodbye on here. Her ashes will be combined with Mioshi’s as they spent over 16 years together before Mio passed. They’ll be in my first ever URN which is a tall white graceful cat statue. It was, by far, the best choice they had. I don’t look at it like Ms Pye lost the battle to cancer. She probably had it since earlier last year (when the “expert cat specialist (not our holistic vet) didn’t believe me and then diagnosed in January.
The fact Pye was in her “90’s” in human years I find it pretty phenomenal she had a quality life up until this last matter of hours. Joe has watched her and said it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. Might she inspire us all to never stop believing and whether we’re sick with something short or long term not to just blindly trust doctor’s diagnosis or the “expiration dates” they put on people because those doctors (whether for animals or humans) aren’t always right. I’ve seen people (and animals) live years beyond these silly dates they are given. Most of those times they have loving people around them to support them and a great attitude. In this case cattitude! I think that’s essential to stay healthy.. Also Ms Pye had unconditional love and never fussed when I had to give her shots or medicine at the end. A real trooper. I’ll miss her dearly but always love her she’ll live on in my heart (and in many hearts I hope) forever. Love, Erin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin is an animal lover, rescuer, writer and long time green eco health nut. She’s worked in the natural health world and done volunteer work in the same arena for nearly 25 years. She has spent the last 5 years with her partner, Dr. Mercola.