Friday, October 19, 2012


The day has almost come when we must say farewell to our beloved moggy, Jasper. Today's annual visit to the vet confirmed our growing fears that he's nearing his end. 15 is a good age for a tom, but it still hurts to confront head on what I think we've suspected for the last month or so as his weight started to drop. A large lump has been found and while we're considering whether to get an official diagnosis with blood tests and potentially a biopsy, ultimately he's too old and frail to cope with invasive procedures and operations at this time in his life. Now will be the time for us to put his wellbeing first - as we've always tried to do - and allow him to enjoy what little time he has left before making what will be a painful decision to put him to sleep when the time comes.

I remember when we first got him, back in April 1998. We were a bit surprised he was the one picked out for us, to be honest, as we lived in a first-floor flat and were expecting to get an elderly house-bound cat. I remember him slowly coming to terms with living with us - he always preferred Toni to I, my cause not helped by Birmingham scoring a last-gasp winner against West Bromich Albion at the exact moment he decided to venture on to my lap for the first time. Since then I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he's settled for my lap. Thankfully, his younger companion Matti was always a daddy's girl, so I didn't feel too left out.

If I'm honest, one of the reasons for my somewhat hasty decision to move out of the flat and into a house was my desire that he should be given access to the outdoors, and while he's never ventured far from home (unlike Matilda), has clearly enjoyed having the run of a garden. Of course, having spent his first nine years with us being spoiled rotten, he's not had quite so much attention as first Harriet and then Amelia came on to the scene, but a lap has usually been available for him when he wanted it. Then again, he was slightly prepared for their arrival when a young upstart, Matti, arrived on the scene four years after he entered our lives. I remember how he sat there hissing and spitting at this tiny ball of fur only for a small paw to unravel from it and swipe him on the nose. He's never really regained the position of undisputed number one cat.

While Jasp has always been Toni's cat first and foremost, I can't pretend that I won't miss him terribly when the time comes to say goodbye for the last time. I've been here before with cats and dogs from my childhood, never mind family and friends, but it doesn't get any easier, as it shouldn't.

All we can hope is that he remains comfortable for a few more weeks or months, and that if he's not to go peacefully we see the signs early so that he doesn't suffer too much pain. Tears have already been shed, they're welling up again as I type, and I can't help but echo a paraphrase of the words of David Tennant's Doctor as he regenerated, "I don't want him to go..."

EDIT: Sadly, we weren't even given another day. The visit to the vet's must have taken what little strength Jasp had left and we lost him early the next morning.

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