Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Claude, RIP

Shawnee's mom here hijacking the blog for a minute.  I wanted to do a little tribute to our cat, Claude, not to mourn his death but to celebrate his life.  A life he almost did not have.
Claude - 1998 - 10/19/2010
Back in December of 1999 there were pleas on a message board written by a shelter volunteer regarding a cat named "Claws"
"Day after day, week after week, month after month, time is passing and Claws is still at the shelter...  He got a new friend, Nuclear, they are so sweet together.  But she will probably be adopted soon and Claws will be alone again.  I don't know what else I could do for him.  It is so sad that people are not able to appreciate this wonderful cat."
"Honestly speaking, I feel very confused.  What should we do with the more demanding cats?  Like Claws for example.  Is it fair to keep him at the shelter for years?  Is any life better than death?  Where is the point when you say that it is enough...  Claws is sweet and friendly towards people he knows but will hide from strangers.  What are the chances somebody will adopt him?  My heart is broken... my mind is confused... what shall I do?"
Claude, as he was renamed, came home with me.  The intention was to foster him to get him out of the shelter, provide him with more socialization and place him.  However, it was evident very early on that Claude was not an adoptable cat.  People want lap cats.  As friendly as Claude was, try to pick him up and he would rip you wide open with his good paw.  (The vet felt Claude's other front paw had been hacked off - was not a birth defect or surgical so apparently being held was always a terror for Claude and he made it very clear doing so was totally off limits.)  During the first year Claude would, as his Petfinder write-up above stated, sit next to me, purr, let me brush him and rub his tummy.  Until I tricked him into a carrier and took him to the vet for his annual shots.  That was the last time I would ever pet Claude again.  Until yesterday.

Claude with his BFF Odessa
And so Claude lived for 10 more years.  We had an agreement - no more vet and he could live his life without intervention.  If he were to become ill, no testing, no diagnostics, no treatment - that would be his worst nightmare.  I did make one exception a few years ago when I noticed a tooth hanging out of his mouth.  Claude was trapped, hauled to the vet, and returned home with 2 teeth left in his mouth.  He lived in a crate for 10 days to be sure he was eating his food laced with antibiotics then he was free to carry on, life as usual.  He lived in the cat-furnished basement with two other unadoptables, his best friends Odessa and Nugget. 

Claude had become morbidly obese.  Over the past year he slimmed down nicely.  But it was apparent that was not a good thing.  Along with the weight loss came excessive water drinking and excessive urinaton - brick size clumps that had to be chiseled out of the litter box.  All was not well but Claude was happy and we did have that agreement not to intervene until the end.  Over this past weekend he started a rapid downhill spiral.  He suddenly became skin and bones, his eyes looked painful, he was eliminating inappropriately, Claude was not Claude.  Yet he never missed a meal.  Yesterday, when I walked up to Claude and touched him on the head for the first time in 10 years, there was no longer any doubt - it was time.  It was almost effortless to slide Claude into the carrier - no trapping or tricking needed.  Claude was sedated at the emergency clinic and we spent the last minutes together with me stroking his head and Claude apparently liking it.  He would lift his head and look at me if I stopped petting him.  I like to think he was grateful for having been given a life on his terms, not mine, and for letting that life end peacefully when it was time.


  1. Shawnee's Mom ~ This is Hailey's mom. I have tears of joy fur Sir Claude, that he was blessed to have you, his Angel of Rescue, for the past 10 wonderful years. Despite the immunization first year, but the agreement worked out fairly well. I can't help but shed tears for the loss of your precious little one. It is always a pang to the heart, no matter how hard we try. I am truly saddened by your loss and wish you and yours tons of smiles, hugs and love your way so that you continue to be that wonderful person.

    Hugs & smoochies!! XOXO
    Lydia, Hailiey & Lala.

  2. Oh, bless you for giving him a wonderful life! No doubt you were just what he needed. I am sorry for your loss, but also appreciate the desire to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death.

    Also, Bunny wanted Shawnee to know that she wasn't the least bit scared of the sculptures, but you might notice that Morgan wasn't in most of the pictures! There was a reason for that. Apparently Morgan has the same view of them that Shawnee does!

  3. What a wonderful story and tribute of Claude! He sure was lucky to have you as a mom! Giant hugs!

  4. I came ovew fwom Hailey to wead youw bootiful stowy
    What a genewous heawt you have. I am suwe that Claude had a wondewful life wif you. It's wawe to have a hooman who is so caweful to give a fuwwkid exactly what they need.
    Thank you fow youw stowy
    smoochie kisses

  5. Mario's mom here - what a wonderful life you gave Claude. I'm oso very sorry for your loss, and I know it's heartbreaking to lose a pet. But, you gave him a wonderful life right up to his last day and were with him at the end. i'm sure Claude loved you for it. HUGS

  6. I have so much to say and don't know how to say it. I know you don't need my approval :) but I really believe you did the best for him. I've seen so many animals put through so much stress for the sake of their "own good" or their "good health" and so often I that a choice they would make, if they could? As someone with an "agreement" with her own animals, I guess it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
    -@BlindMaximus' Girl

  7. You gave such a heartfelt tribute to Claude. Thank you so much for caring for him and I know he had the life that he wanted. They all deserve love and you gave that to him. It hurts so much to lose one of our furry family. I have many anipals who are loved so much and today they will get an extra big hug.

  8. Hello deres everybuddys,

    I am comin' over from Hailey's blog too. Mom and me wants to say we is so sorry fur da loss of your kitteh Claude. I am sending all of you puppy prayers and luvs.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  9. I didn't even know you had a kitty. I'm so sad to hear you lost him. It was good that you gave him a place on his terms and didn't try to make him be someone he wasn't. I purr for you and your family. *sniff*

  10. Thanks to you Claude & your understanding of him, he had a few good years. How wonderful for him you opened your heart & let him live on his terms.

  11. What a wonderful tribute to Claude. How wonderful that you let him live his life, his way.

    I am truly sorry for your loss.

    MinnaK and momma Cheryl

  12. I'm also coming over from Hailey's blog... so very sorry for the loss of your Claude. My heart goes out to you, and I envy you for the wonderful life you had given him.
    -Corbin and his momma, Jenn

  13. What a beautiful tribute to Sir Claude. He sounds like a very special cat and I know he is now running free and happy ...

    Your pal, Pip

  14. Well, Claude sure found the perfect home to live out his life. We send purrs and tail wags for your loss because even if he wasn't cuddly, you obviously loved him.

  15. Shawnee
    thanks fow coming by my bloggie
    I was numming vamilla ice cweam wif my Daddie
    we should be gweat fwiends I can maybe see you if I look out my window acwoss the hudson wivew
    smoochie kisses to you and youw kitties

  16. What a wonderful story. We love that Claude was loved and was able to live his life happily, and on his own terms.

    Thanks you for sharing his story.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  17. We came from twitter. We are sorry to hear that Claude has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. You gave him such a beautiful life and we know that he will become a sweet angel watching over your family.
    Purrrs and hugs, Keiko, Kenji, Pricilla & Yuji

  18. This is a sad and a happy story. So glad Claude found you and you were able to give him the life he needed and deserved.

    The Road Dogs

  19. We are sorry for you loss but you gave Claude a good life

    AND recognised it was time for the end -

    We'll light a candle to help his travels -

    Khyra's Mom and Khyra

  20. You are so wonderful to love Claude in the way that he wanted to be loved.

    Love, Cupcake

  21. Daniela,
    I'm so sorry about Claude, but you gave him a wonderful home all the way to the end. This is such a beautiful tribute to him. I'm so thankful for what you gave him: a loving, safe, warm home out of the shelter.


  22. Hello Sir Claude's Mommy ♥

    I just came over from Miss Hailey's bloggie.
    After reading your beautiful Tribute to Sir Claude with my Mommy still wiping her tears, I know you are what I call, A True Angel, a God sent Human on this earth!
    May you forever be Blessed!

    Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,

    Neeko and my Pack ♥

  23. I am purring for the wonderful life that Claude was able to enjoy on his own terms because you understood him and loved him.

  24. Mercy. And true understanding. You have a tremendous heart - I hope it heals soon. Hugs to you

  25. Well done mum for bein such a pal for Claude. I do be sorree he is gone but appy he did ave his life on his own terms. Woof.

  26. Sometimes giving them a life on their terms & just keeping them fed & as safe as possible is the best gift! It really can be that simple.

  27. God bless you for giving him the extra time and life that he never would have had if not for your rescue. I promise you - there is a place in Heaven for those who rescue. RIP Claude, who were loved and now you are free to understand just how much and how deep.

  28. I can see Claude wuz a rilly speshul kitties an you wuz so lucky to haz him and gives him teh bestest life eh cud haz *softpaw* I iz sorry for your loss an I luv your tribyute for him.

  29. Hi Shawnee!

    It was very caring of you and your Mom to have Claude. We are sorry that he is gone on a positive note, we are happy for the 10 wonderful years you have spent together.

    Thank you for sharing his story with us as this serves as an inspiration to open our hearts to furry friends around us.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  30. Yoda's mom here. Can't help but compare your loss to our loss of Majel, right before we left for Shenandoah River too. Claude's life was so much better because of your kindness and love.

  31. *sniffles* Rest in peace, Claude. How lucky you were to find a family to love you as you were and to let you truly be yourself...

  32. We are furry sorry for your loss. We think Claude was lucky to have found someone who would not try and make him into a lap cat, but loved him "as is". My mom has had a couple special kitties come into her life too, so she knows how much your heart is aching.

    RIP Claude.

    Bijou, Banjo and Mom

  33. D. and fur family,

    So sorry to hear about Claude but thanking you for your caring heart that took him in when he needed a friend who understood his special needs.


  34. Sounds like dat Claude did hab hiz own agendas like ma dear departed sisfur Picasso.

    I knows dey iz both across da bridge habbin a great ole time.

    Picasso had a similar agreement wif ma humanz az claude did wif u.