Heart over Mind
by Matt
When it comes to cats, it’s all about heart. Our previous cat (Valentine) was very smart and very affectionate. What Newton lacked in the first area, he more than made up in the second.

He was always the second cat when we had them both, he was younger and maybe more submissive due to his perceived lack of brainpower. Not that he was ignored, he was just second. Valentine would always jump in the bed first to sleep with us, or on our laps first, that was all.

When Vallie died in 2012, I was fairly distraught, and Newton more than made up for it. He became the lap cat, sitting next to us for hours at night, and would sleep with us as well. He’d be at the door to greet me when I came home from work. He was always so happy, he’d see you and starting purring because he knew we would pet him.

It went on like that for years. By the time he reached 15, I became sensitive to the fact that he might not be around much longer – Valentine died at 15 years and 4 months and was fine until about 2 weeks before he died. I kept waiting, and cherishing my time with Newton.

But, unlike Valentine (who had health problems when he was two years and then sporadically for his entire life), Newton had no such issues, and was a really happy and healthy cat for many more years. It wasn’t until he was 17 years and maybe 3 months old (!) until we noticed he was a bit more picky about food and chewing it strangely. Didn’t think too much of it – we just thought “he’s getting old and picky lol”.

Three months later was the first I noticed that he was drooling. Internet searches indicated it wasn’t going to be good news. The first of several vet trips revealed the tumor in his mouth. He was the same old Newton, just a little more drooly! But, his weight check indicated he had been eating less. We took him to a specialist who advised a biopsy. The drooling was getting worse. He got through the procedure like a champ – he was even growling at the dogs as they came in to the vet’s office. He had a heart of gold!

When results came back malignant, with only about two weeks left, we were sad. Still, he kept working at his food, he’d eat baby food, or ice cream, or a bit of cat food here and there. He did not give up.

The day before he died was the only time in his entire life we saw him unhappy. He could barely move, the lack of eating and the dehydration from the excessive drooling had worn him down. His mouth had become tender and he was occasionally bleeding. He had completely lost interest in food. And, for the first time ever in his whole life, he would not purr when you pet him. Unlike Valentine though, who hid in his final days, Newton wanted to be around people at this time, even when he felt bad. It was a nice way to go.

Morning of his final vet appointment – he can’t move. He is lying on the bathroom floor near milk and water but lacking the energy to try any further. I am petting him, and his tail is still wagging. What a great cat. Even in the vet’s office, with minutes to go, the same. He had such a strong heart and still had his mind with him, even though his body was failing. He was incredibly calm, and he was ready, but not afraid. We should all hope to go this way.

I will miss him so much, but I am proud of the way he lived and the way he died. I hope to someday have another cat as strong and as wonderful as Newton was.
Comments would be appreciated by the author, Matt
Tech Support
The Rainbow Bridge Pin
The Poem