That’s it for old Fat Guy


We took old Fat Guy to the vet for the last time yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, 10 November 2021.

He vomited badly in August. We thought it was the end. He’s fifteen years old this year, so we had been thinking for quite a while he may not be with us for another year.

However, he recovered quickly, jumped on the furniture again, ate his usual amount of food, and so on.

Sunday, 3 October, he had a similar bout of throwing up. This time it was worse. We didn’t think he was going to see the end of the day. The next morning, I saw a dead pigeon on the sidewalk. “Death is in the air,” I thought.

We took him to the vet in the afternoon, and after a cursory physical examination and a blood test, the vet declared that he had kidney disease, and that he only had a twenty percent chance of recovering. We left him at the clinic for three days to get some fluids. There was no certainty that he would come home again.

Three days later we brought him back. He was uncertain on his feet, and after a few rounds through the apartment decided on the floor to the left of the bed in the master bedroom as his last domain.

That’s where he stayed for the next five weeks.

We took him back to the vet every two days for fluids and the occasional vitamin injection.

Some days he ate well and drank enough water; some days he just stared ahead and slept. The first week of November, I told the vet’s assistant that he was stable, walking around a bit, and that I had seen him eat and drink a few times. He didn’t always make it to the cat litter, and he leaked a bit, so his sleeping area had to be cleaned regularly.

Sunday, 7 November 2021 was the first time we saw blood in his faeces. And not a little. It was bad.

By Tuesday, he was no longer eating. It also got cooler again, and luckily, he didn’t get up to lie down on the cold tiles when we put him on a cloth towel for comfort with some paper towels for hygiene.

We took him to the vet again, and again touched on the subject of euthanasia.

We decided on either Wednesday or Friday. An article on the Internet quoted a veterinarian as saying that giving an animal its final injection is one of the easiest aspects of his job, as he brings relief to a terminally ill animal. He also said it was one of the last expressions of compassion the owner could give to a beloved pet.

By Tuesday night, I suggested that we don’t postpone any longer. Natasja let the vet know early the next morning.

I’m a bit of a weakling with these matters. When we decided the hour had come, I picked him up from the floor and put him in his cat carrier for the last time. He just murmured a little.

At the vet we took him out and placed him on the table. I caressed his head a few more times … and then decided to step away.

The vet gave him an anaesthetic, and about three seconds later his head dipped. Then, with a larger syringe with yellow-orange fluid in his hand, the vet asked us if we were sure we wanted to continue. We nodded. Then he injected him. I walked away to the sink.

We stood around for a few minutes. The staff spoke. Natasja spoke. The vet spoke. I asked how long it would take before it was over. Natasja asked more specifically how long it would take for his heart to stop. The woman we spoke to the most said that it was over. His heart had already stopped.

We draped one of his favourite blankets over him. The staff placed his body in a new cardboard box and explained the cremation process.

We paid the necessary fees and thanked everyone for their help.

And drove home with the empty cat carrier.

A pet is one of those things that makes life worth living – specifically the sadness, and the loneliness, and the worries that are sometimes part of one’s everyday existence.

Well, that’s it then.