Moss…Lessons on the Will to Live

When I woke up this morning…I wouldn’t have guessed before the night was over I would have my kitty Moss put to sleep.  Moss was eighteen years old…actually just three months shy of nineteen.

It’s not like I didn’t know the day was coming…but it seems very surreal.

Just shy of two years ago, I had Moss’ brother Nathan put to sleep.  I never would have guessed that Moss would survive Nathan by two more years.  From the day he was born…he was the shier, more reticent of the two.  Moss was easily intimidated by his less than maternal mother Daisy.  Nathan had some gumption and would not take her guff.  But Moss…he would cower when Daisy passed by.

After Nathan was put to sleep, Moss surprised me and did very well.  He bonded with my newest addition Rudy.  Rudy being the sociable soul that he is, made fast friends with Moss.  I think, in part, that is what strengthened Moss and gave him that strong will to live.

Moss loved Rudy…and whatever affection Rudy would send his way…Moss would take every bit of it. 

Despite being senile, mostly deaf and failing sight…Moss did amazingly well.  Some health issues that he had previously had improved greatly and he was holding his own.  That is until about 4 months ago. 

One day while Moss was standing in the kitchen waiting to be fed I looked at him and realized that his leg looked like it was kind of bowed out.  I wasn’t sure if it was an optical illusion or if something was wrong. 

A visit to the vet’s office revealed that Moss had broken his leg.  As best they could determine, it was because his bones were very brittle.  Like humans, animals can develop osteoporosis.  Who would have guessed that?  Well…that was the beginning of casts. 

Moss had his first cast put on December 5th.  When I brought him home from the vet, I was worried about how he would get around.  I needn’t worry…because before long not only did he walk with ease, he would run when it was time for breakfast or dinner.  Never once did he give any evidence that he was in pain.  That’s why I was surprised at the news at the next doctor’s visit.

Fully expecting news that Moss’ leg was better…I was stunned to find out that it wasn’t healing and was in fact worse.  Without doing a bone biopsy, the best determination was that Moss had bone cancer and that was preventing the bone from healing.  I couldn’t justify having him put through that at 18 years old.  So I made the decision to keep him as comfortable as possible and enable him to keep getting around, as long as possible.  As long as he had life in him…and enjoyed his days.

Each month I would take Moss in for a cast check and to have his leg rewrapped.  Each time…he learned how to walk on the new cast.  Be it a cast up to his elbow or a cast up to his shoulder…he got around.  He really didn’t show signs of being in pain…that is until the last couple of days. 

Even with that…he got around very well.  He ate just fine.  But his meows were incessant…they seemed like they were 24/7.  We were exhausted from just hearing him.  I can’t even imagine how tired he must have been to meow so much.  Not tiny little meows…but ones with a lot of force behind them.

So tonight…realizing that last night wasn’t just a bad night for Moss…it was something more…I made the hard decision to have Moss put to sleep.  The little guy had to have been in a whole lot of pain.  He just covered it up really well…until it hurt too much to cover it up. 

Chris went with me to the emergency vet office and we were there with Moss till the end.  I had to be there you see…because I held him just moments after he was born.  It was only right that I be there to hold him at the end.

This timid and shy kitty demonstrated the strongest will to live.  Pain didn’t stop him; it didn’t slow him down for long.  I think the impetus to live came from the love of his brother Rudy.  Rudy gave him the love his mama Daisy never gave, nor his brother Nathan.  But Rudy paid him attention and showed him the affection we all need. 

So tonight our home may be quiet…but I wonder if I will sleep?  I’m sure it will be a while before it will seem real that Moss is gone…after nearly 19 years.  Good night my sweet boy…sleep tight.  Your mama misses you.

Moss Bunts Wachtel
Born:  June 17, 1991
Died:  March 21, 2010
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5 thoughts on “Moss…Lessons on the Will to Live

  1. Susan, I am touched by your beautiful description of the life & times of this wonderful companion. He was obviously a treasure, and obviously understood he was loved, valued and needed. Steve in Ky.

  2. Thank you Veggie Girl!I am very grateful to have had the little fellow as long as I did. He demonstrated such determination. I miss Moss greatly, but comforted to know he is not suffering any long.Blessings in Christ…Susan

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