A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

The Slow Decline

Toward the end of November I could tell that our 13-year-old cat, Günter, who had been diagnosed with a malignant form of mast cell tumor disease last April, was on the decline: he wasn’t playing much anymore; he was spending more time on the heated bathroom floor; he became more finicky with his food; and he pretty much stopped greeting me at the door or coming to me when I called him. I was doubtful that he would last until Christmas.

Sure enough on a Saturday in mid-December the iris in his right eye suddenly changed from green to gold. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I knew it couldn’t be a good sign. It didn’t seem to bother him, nor did he appear to be in pain so I kept a close eye on him and hoped to postpone taking him to the vet until the following Monday when I knew there was a good chance I would have to let him go. I spent the rest of the weekend cuddling him as much as he would tolerate.

No matter how much you try to prepare for the inevitable and how much you know it’s the right thing to do for your pet, it’s always the most difficult decision to make.

On Monday afternoon, December 13th, after confirming the disease’s progress, we said good-bye to Günter.

Considering I didn’t think he was going to last through the summer, I’m so grateful that he remained relatively healthy for as long as he did. The house is awfully empty without him though and while Pete doesn’t believe it will last right now I can’t bear to have another pet around because this just tears me apart. I know there are so many wonderful pets who need a good home but at least for now the freedom from worry, hairballs, vet bills, etc. is somewhat liberating.

Even so, the pets I’ve had will always hold a very special place in my heart — maybe one day there will be room for more, but not for a while.


  1. Derek on February 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    We lost our cat in May, he had feline diabetes. Sorry for your loss. It has been more difficult than I thought it would be without him.

  2. micki on February 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    My heart goes out to you. And yes, there are so many, many pets who need a home like yours. No, you will never forget your beloved Gunter but I’m pretty sure he would want you to go to a shelter and invite another homeless creature into your heart.

  3. Christa on February 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    So, so, sorry to hear about Gunter…It is always a tough thing. Thinking of you.

  4. Anne on February 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I’m glad you had Gunter with you as long as you did. I went through the same thing a few years ago with my 18 year old Shadow. We waited a few months, then got ourselves a new shelter kitty, who makes us laugh every day. I hope that you can give a new kitty a home when you’re ready.

  5. denise on March 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks everyone. I still miss having a cat around but I’m getting more and more used to it. Although I sometimes find myself browsing the local shelter’s web site, I think it’s still too early to think about whether or not to bring a new kitty home.

  6. Gayle on October 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Now I’m even sadder. So sorry you lost Gunther, too. I lost both my (unrelated) 12 yo cats to cancer within 7 months in 2008 and I still feel cheated that I lost them so prematurely.

    But I have 2 others now, one off Craigslist (now 7) and one a charity case that was brought in to my cat hospital after being hit by car (now 18 mos).

    I can’t imagine life without kitties.

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