9/1/2001 - 3/11/2020Gus was a sweet, cuddly, lovable, unique cat. I remember going to the local humane society that day, 3 months after I had lost my beloved first cat, Biko; thinking, "I'm just going to look". Famous last words!!! I also knew if I adopted again, I wanted to get two cats together so they'd have a playmate. The first cat I had adopted (who I loved and cherished also!) was 10 when I adopted him; and he would not tolerate other animals. So, I figured this time I'd bring two home together and they'd always be friends. I also remember thinking I would like to get an orange/ginger tabby. My cousin had said they were her favorite; I looked at some photos and thought it would be cute to have an orange cat. So, on that fateful day when I showed up 'just to look' (as I was still grieving Biko), I saw two cats in a crate together, one was orange; one was orange and white. They looked like the perfect pair. But, a couple had walked in right before me and they had their eyes on that duo. I thought, 'darn, I walked in a minute too late'. However, it was then that I looked into another crate and saw Gus, all alone sitting in there looking so sad. He was 4 1/2 and had been surrendered because his family moved into no pet housing. His name was Garfield (he was an orange tabby cat, so I guess they thought that name fit him; I decided Gus was more appropriate); he looked so sad and lonely; feeling abandoned. I knew I had to take him. Walking in 'one minute too late' was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I adopted him and another cat that day (Annabelle, who was 2 at the time; and even now, 14 years later, she still never warmed up to Gus; as she sits here on my lap while I write this, I wonder what she thinks about him being gone as she never liked him!!) when I was 'just going to look'.

Little did I know how much Gus and I would go through together. It started out about 10 years ago with pancreatitis, then a heart murmur, then hyperthyroidism, then kidney disease. Through it all, I was by his side. I figured as long as he was living and loving the cat life, I was going to do everything I could for him. He was so sweet and cuddly; and always wanted to cuddle up with me on the couch or bed. For the past few years, as he started to get thinner and couldn't groom himself, I was giving him pills twice a day and sub-q fluids every 4-5 days. He had a special diet and if I ever had to leave town, I had to hire professional pet sitters who could come over twice a day at minimum due to all his needs. But, he kept jumping up on the couch, bed, table, etc.; up until about 2 weeks before his passing. He still loved to eat and he was obsessed with milk (something he picked up in his last couple years). I would bring him to the vet every 3-4 months and we always talked about when it would be 'time'. He was getting kitty 'dementia'; sometimes going right to the litterbox; other times going in other spots he seemed to think were appropriate. My carpet is ruined, but I can replace carpet; and I knew he wasn't doing it on purpose or for any other reason than he was confused. I must have asked my vet a million questions throughout all these years. She would always say as long as he is still eating/drinking AND doing all of the normal things he does in his daily routine, he has a quality of life. But, it seemed 'all of a sudden' to me in the last 2 weeks before his passing, he stopped doing those things; he looked so much more frail and thin to me. He still got up to eat and still wanted that milk, but that was about all he was doing. I could see him working harder to breathe. That's when I knew it was time to let him go; but it's such a hard thing to do. I always took care of him; and I knew I couldn't let him suffer needlessly. But, I still feel some guilt about it.

I know I did the best I could for him; and I would have kept on doing it (even though it was a crazy schedule) if he was still here jumping up on things and doing all his normal stuff. But, even though he was still eating, there was no life in him any more. The one last thing I could do for him was give him the gift of not having to go back to the vet one more time. He'd been there enough. And, even though he has a wonderful vet, Dr. Griffin, who I would have liked to have been with us through the end, she even agreed that doing it at home where he would be more comfortable would be best for him. She was not able to do it, but recommended Lap of Love. I'm so glad I did that for him; as it was peaceful and such a blessing. I miss him terribly and I almost don't know what to do now that so much of my daily routine of taking care of him has gone away. I am so thankful I went into the humane society that day 'just to look' (ironically, 14 years exactly between when I adopted him and when I had to put him down); and I'm so happy I was 'one minute too late' behind that other couple. I wouldn't trade anything; I would do it all over again for him; even with all the expensive food, pills, fluids, carpet cleaner, trips to the vet and endless vet bills... Gus was worth it all. I love you, Gus, and will always miss you. Thank you for being in my life!
Suzanne CalvanoMadison Heights, MichiganMarch 19, 2020
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