Our dear Benny came to us when I was away during my first year of college. My mother and I had recently moved to the city, we already had two cats and one dog in the house. One day, the neighbor’s children knocked on the door, holding this little silver tabby up and said, “Ma’am, can you take our cat, my sister is allergic.” My mother took him and when I came home, I named him Benny.
We already had two other cats in the house, but Benny was a welcome addition. Back then; Benny would get into scuffles with our cat Cody every time they crossed paths. One of these encounters led to a scratch on the back that would become Benny’s trademark, a two inch round bald spot between his shoulder blades. The wound was so bad and he wouldn’t let it heal, so after months of trying a million things, a vet finally suggested to tape baby booties or socks to his back legs. This finally worked, but the hair never grew back!
Benny became an outdoors cat, relentless for his quest to get outside. He would do whatever it took to get outside until you let him out! Benny suffered many attacks while on his playtime outside. He would come home with lacerations on his backside and needed veterinary care more than once to get antibiotic treatments and mending. Still – we couldn’t keep him in.
After college my mother asked that I take Benny. He had started peeing on the carpet and they had to keep him locked in the basement. No way for a cat with this much spunk to live! Even though I was 22 and could barely take care of myself – I could not turn away those green eyes. If the option was Benny or no Benny, I was going to take him. We took him just after one of his out door fights, one of his worst, so our first week with him in my apartment he was still healing and we were administering antibiotics.
Benny adapted amazingly well to being an only cat. In fact, we realized he really didn’t like other animals. He wanted to be alone with us – and that was that. He became a little fat during his apartment indoor period, which was only about 2 years. He was always so mischievous and smart. When we moved to our current home, my friend suggested letting him out in the yard, once I did – his life became complete again.
He didn’t leave the yard (which was easy to do) for 2 years, then he realized that he could and he would sneak out during the night into the alleys and neighbors yards. Granted we gave him full reign by installing cat window door unit for him to come and go. We trusted he would come back to us and that he was playing safe. It took a lot of courage to do this, but especially after finding out his diagnosis 2 years ago, I couldn’t take away his favorite thing. We tried keeping him in the yard, we really tried, but nothing worked.
Benny was never a snuggler, but he loved to be loved and coddled. He liked to be picked up and always be near us. Typically he would sleep at the foot of the bed, or he would sit on a pillow in front of us on the coffee table. If we were standing he would sometimes walk over and step on your foot with one of his back paws. We think it was his way of saying, “Love you, you’re mine.”
He would often perform what we called, “cat trap.” Where he would sit in the middle of wherever and grab your attention just by being so darn cute until you were down on the ground with him rubbing his belly and calling him all the wonderful names we have come up with over the years. He also loved people, whenever we had people over he would sit in the middle of the action and charm all our friends with his sweet, quirky personality and hypnotizing green eyes.
Two years ago Benny became unusually thin and we noticed something was weird one night and rushed him to the Pet ER. After many tests over the next week, he was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and Feline Cardiomyopathy. We were directed to give him 4 human heart medications in pill form once a day and thyroid medicine 2x per day. The meds became routine, I would grind the 4 pills and divvy them up into small gel capsules, the thyroid meds came in gel form and could be applied to his inner ears. We were spending about $70 a month on prescriptions.
I would have done anything for this cat. He lived for two years with this condition and he was so happy during this time. So were we. I felt like we had control of the situation and we got more time with our precious Benny.
Right after Thanksgiving he stopped eating, we thought he was mad at us for leaving for a week. BTW – he always had two caregiver visits per day whenever we were away. So, by Christmas he had dropped a couple of pounds, he only weighed 9 pounds to begin with, so at 7 lbs he looked scary thin. We tried getting him all kinds of new food, I boiled him chicken and broth and mashed it up. He would eat a little bit.
When we took him to the vet he said that his organs were beginning to fail, his kidneys were going. He said we didn’t need to do tests to know what was wrong and that the medicines over the last two years were necessary, but they caused his organs a lot of stress. He gave Benny a few days or weeks. During that visit, I didn’t know if he would last the week, but he did – He lasted for 3 weeks from that first visit.
Then, one night, I noticed his back paws were swollen, like they were retaining water. The next morning it wasn’t any better, but I went to work and John was home. Benny was still getting up to eat a little bit and drink, but you could tell he was very weak. Around 11 AM John called me, because Benny started panting and gagging a little and then he laid down in his litter box. John took him out and he got back in.
I asked Benny to give me a sign when he was ready and I think this was the sign. I knew it was soon as John said it. I quickly got my stuff and met John at the vet. The decision to put him down was the hardest ever. You are staring at your breathing kitty, who is purring to cover up his pain and you want him to get better, you want the vet to be wrong, this is just temporary and he’ll get better, but you know in your heart that he won’t be getting better and it just seems selfish to keep trying to extend his life.
I still feel raw and uneasy about letting him go. The house seems empty without him and I can’t feel him here. I want him back, that’s all – I just want him back. I keep waking up thinking about him and can’t fall back asleep. Everything seems so quiet and I keep expecting to hear little foot taps coming towards me.
I hope he isn’t scared wherever he is, I hope that he forgives us for letting him go. I hope that I see him again one day. I would have done anything to keep him, but in the end it didn’t seem fair to either of us. My hope is he is in a better place right now and that he can watch over us. I hope to see him often in my dreams.
We are better because of you.
All our love.
Comments for Benny 1998-2012