It is with great sorrow and regret that I must announce Oscar's passing. One week ago, a chest x-ray at the Carlton Vet revealed the severe building up of fluids in his lungs, most likely as a result of the tumor in his abdomen growing and causing some obstruction. (For those of you who are medically minded, you may like to know that Oscar's heavy breathing over the last few weeks does not appear to have been a side-effect of the mirtazapine after all.) Oscar had difficulty breathing, so much so that his respiratory rate was 80 breaths per minute.
Some palliative care was given, with the knowledge that it could only be a temporary measure; Dr Miller from the Carlton Vet drained some of the fluid from Oscar's lungs with a needle last Friday, and on Monday (the day after Pussy Galore II went back to her mother), he prescribed a diuretic medication called Frudix to help drain the fluid from the lungs. This improved Oscar's condition somewhat, to the point that by Wednesday his respiratory rate was about 40 (more comfortable, but still awfully fast). But Oscar lost his appetite, grew weaker and even thinner, had difficulty maintaining his balance when jumping and injured one of his paws, and continued to vomit whenever he strained in his litter box. I finally made the difficult decision that his quality of life had been too compromised and that euthanasia was the humane action.
This morning (Friday, December 10 in Australia) I called the Carlton Vet. Oscar spent a quiet and happy morning at home with myself and my partner Kevin; the sun was shining and we had just decorated the room for Christmas. Oscar slept a little in his basket, sat with us for a while on the couch and then on the floor and purred a little for us while we stroked him. Around midday Dr Craig Miller and nurse Melissa Horwood of the Carlton Vet kindly came to our house to administer euthanasia to Oscar. He was in familiar surroundings, on the couch where he spent most of his days, and was I at his side the whole time; I also held him in my arms as he fell asleep from the initial sedative. He was fifteen years and nine months old.
Oscar will be cremated, and his ashes will rest next to those of his brother Gerald on a shelf in our living room.
These are some of the last pictures I took of him (including his last couple days, when I let him outside in the backyard for the first time):
And this is the very last picture I was able to take of him:
When I first adopted Oscar at the Toledo Humane Society in May 1995, when he was only two months old, he had been raised by human hands after a woman in Ohio had found him and his litter-mates behind a Meijer's department store, after their cat mother had died giving birth. I spoke to the woman who had saved Oscar; all of Oscar's siblings had already been adopted, but nobody wanted Oscar because he was black. The woman begged me to adopt Oscar because she had promised her two kids (who were with her) that if Oscar didn't get adopted that day, then she would adopt him herself. And she begged me to please adopt this black cat, since she already have five pets! And I assured the woman that I wanted a black cat, and I promised that I would give Oscar a good life. And I really hope that I have.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone, human and animal, who followed Oscar's blog these past few years. I have always found great comfort in the kind words of strangers who love and care for animals. I also want to thank Oscar himself for being my beautiful and beloved companion for the past decade and a half. I loved him unconditionally, and he did the same for me. He will be sorely missed.