I don't know that I have ever been more sad than I have been in the past week. Last Tuesday, I lost such an important member of my family - my buddy, my companion, my cat of 12 years. Long story short, there were complications during a routine procedure. And he never came home. I'll talk more about that piece later, but I wanted to start by focusing on Travyss' life.

This is the last picture we have of my sweet boy - I think we had just gotten home from shopping, and we found him lazing about not just on the couch, but also on top of some throw pillows, for extra cushion. Very typical of him - he was our lazy boy who loved sleeping the day away in as comfortable of a place as he could find.
Unless, of course, someone brought a box home. Then, no matter how uncomfortable or how much his big ol' butt didn't actually fit, that was where he wanted to be. Here's another recent pic of him in an Amazon box - at least this was actually one he could lay in.
I loved him so much, and I wanted to celebrate every moment with him.
He wasn't always such a big boy. Sadly, his adoption pre-dates digital cameras [at least in my possession], but I did have a few pics in a photo album of him as an adorable kitten.
I first got him back around the beginning of college, and he lived with me as I finished school then we moved to a cramped studio apartment as I began my first internship out of college. That was maybe a bit two small for the two of us, lol, and soon after, we moved to our first one-bedroom apartment in West Lafayette. It was just the two of us for a while. Until Francisco moved in, and he addressed Travyss as "cat". Slowly but surely, he warmed up to him, and Francisco came to love that cat more than you can imagine...

And it breaks my heart thinking of coming home last Tuesday after work to be met at the door by Francisco with red-rimmed eyes and his tear-choked voice as he told me there had been come complications. For 1/100 of a second, I wanted to think he was joking, but he would never joke about something like that. I just didn't want it to be true so bad. We both sobbed, and I just didn't feel like the pain would ever stop.

Even though I know it hurt Francisco to retell the story, I needed to know what happened. It started when we dropped Travyss off at Banfield Pet Hospital for a teeth cleaning. This wasn't the first vet who had told us he really needed to have his teeth cleaned, and we know that can lead to other issues, so we wanted to make sure he was in his best health.  The vet called Francisco after Travyss had been put under anesthesia to say that there was a tooth with the root exposed, and they wanted to get his permission to extract it, which he granted.

A couple hours later, he got another call saying that Travyss was starting to wake up, but he was having trouble breathing and they wanted him to come pick him up and take him to an emergency clinic where they could better administer oxygen and clear his lungs. Francisco hurried there and rushed Travyss to the clinic, but I think Travyss took his last few labored breaths in the car. They administered CPR, but he was unresponsive.

You cannot imagine how angry I was hearing this story. I didn't understand why Banfield couldn't transport him to the emergency clinic. He would've been there so much quicker. I didn't understand why they didn't have better resources on hand in case a procedure goes south like this. I was just so angry that more wasn't done to save him.

My heart was so heavy as we drove out to the Care Center and I pet my sweet boy for the last time, telling him how much we loved him and how sorry we were. I would give anything to take back that day.

Francisco called Banfield back to demand an explanation for what happened. The underlying issue was that Travyss had a heart condition - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - which results in the heart being the same size and shape as normal, but the muscles are thicker so not as much blood flows. One of the symptoms is small amounts of fluid that leak into and around the lungs. Blood clots are another symptom. He essentially had a heart failure from not being able to pump blood properly, and that led to fluid in the lungs. We knew he had a heart murmur, but it was fairly mild, so we hadn't thought we needed to get him treatment for that.

In our case, he was fine when he was brought in, but the stress of the procedure likely caused a clot to break free and further exacerbate the fluid issue. This can be stable for years and then a sudden deterioration can occur. The vet likened it to an aneurysm in people. Both the vet and Care Center doctor agreed that there likely wasn't much anyone could have done. It was something that would have reared up sooner or later. It didn't even need to be something as severe as the anesthesia, something as simple as jumping to a window sill can set it off, and once it goes bad the survival rate isn't very high. It varies from source to source, but less than 40%, with a high likelihood of repeated events.

Sometimes I almost forget that he's gone, and I want it so bad to be true. Our home feels so empty without him. I'm so sad that this is how things ended up, but I think I've worked past most of the guilt. I know we were only trying to do what was best for him and keep him as healthy as possible.  Getting more information from the vet helped us to work past some of the anger, but when I read this story about a Washington man sentenced for a stabbing rampage after his cat died, I could totally sympathize.

My heart is so heavy to think of Travyss, and I don't know how to move past the sadness, but I'm trying. I miss him. Every day.


  1. I am so sorry; I know how much it hurts!

    1. Thank you, Linda - I am just so heartbroken right now.

  2. Hi Tabitha:

    I just wanted to take the time to offer my condolences on the loss of Travyss.

    My cat, Calypso, just passed away on April 24. She was 17 years old. They are an important part of our lives, our cats.

    1. They definitely are an important part of our lives. :/ Thank you for the message.


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