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Big Shot (May 15, 1989 - June 24, 2002)

I�ve put up this little site as a final tribute and journal of our final memorable days with our wonderful cat, Big Shot.

June 20, 2002 (9:45pm): Last weekend we took a trip to the shore, as usual and brought Big Shot along.  Everything seemed to be going alright, but by the end of the day on Sunday, she seemed to be very out of sorts.  She basically stayed in the same spot on the same chair the entire time.  She didn�t even move or try to hide as we started to pack up.  Big Shot hates going for trips in the car because that means having to be crammed in a small cage for the entire trip, and so she normally runs to hide as soon as anything is mentioned about packing up and leaving.  This time, she didn�t go anywhere, and that was one of our first clues that something wasn�t right.

For the rest of the week at home, she tended to spend her time by herself doing little to no physical activities.  Her eating habits also changed dramatically to less than a third of a cup of dry food per day.  At first, it seemed as though she just had some kind of minor illness that she would get over, but by the time Thursday rolled around and she still had not gotten back to normal, we decided to take her to the veterinarian.

Once at the vet�s on Thursday morning, she went through a whole array of checkups and tests to figure out what could be wrong.  As blood was taken and x-rays were made, the doctor slowly began to eliminate different possibilities.  Finally, it was determined that Big Shot had some type of fluid in her lungs.  Because she could not open her lungs to full capacity, she could not breath as well as she used to, which helped to explain her recent lackadaisical lifestyle.  However, the next phase of testing had to determine what caused the fluid to get there in the first place.  To do this, the vet extracted most of the fluid from her lungs, which in the short term made her feel much better.  In fact, she started eating wet cat food as soon as they had finished extracting the liquid.

Next, the vet began to look at the fluid that was taken from Big Shot�s lungs, and the results of the tests were not positive.

One of the preliminary thoughts was that Big Shot had some type of viral infection which was causing the liquid.  However, after a closer examination, it was determined that a virus was probably not the likely cause.  Instead, her diagnosis was narrowed down to one of two possibilities; neither was good.

The first possible cause was heart congestion.  This would cause the wall of the heart to become thicker and thicker until it becomes so clogged that no blood could pass through.  The second possible cause was cancer, which would eventually take over her upper-respiratory area.

Neither diagnosis can be adequately cared for, and the cost of attempting to prolong her life is quite extreme.  While there is a pricey vet in Timonium that has cardiac and cancer specialists, they are currently backed up with pets for the next two weeks, and the clinic that examined Big Shot is doubtful that she would be around that long.

Big Shot is scheduled to be taken home on Friday, June 21, and we will keep her here for as long as she is comfortable.

That is the latest update as of Thursday night.  I�m pretty tired, saddened, and shocked right now, so if what I wrote makes little to no sense, please forgive me.  I�ve posted a few pictures of Big Shot on my Webshots pages for those who would like to take a gander at that.  I�ll try to update this page when I have more time. 

 

June 21, 2002 (6:07pm): This morning, Big Shot finally came home and we all had a chance to see her after the vet worked with her.  She's really not looking very well at all.  Although I was at work, I heard that she had a very small amount of food and went to the bathroom, but she has mostly just laid around all day.  When I got home from work around 6, she was lying on the couch in our den.  She didn't even move as I walked in the room, sat next to her, and started petting her.  When you call her name, her ears only slightly turn upward as if to say "I hear you.  I'm here."  When I moved my face up to hers, I could slightly hear her still purring, softly.

She has a bandage around her paw from the IV that she had.  Parts of her back are also shaven where the liquid was extracted from her lungs.  She keeps her eyes closed most of the time, but she will occasionally open them a crack to take a glimpse of the people in the room.  Although my "good" camera is in New York being repaired, I was able to take this shot of her with my older camcorder, as she opened her eyes ever so slightly.

I really don't know how much longer she will be with us.  She looks very bad right now...  And I don't have anything else to say...

 

June 21, 2002 (10:53pm): It's so hard to tell what cats are thinking and how they are feeling.  Big Shot was lying on the sofa for most of the evening, but around 10:00, we realized that she had just left.  We had been checking on her every now and again, but she just remained practically asleep and very weak.  As soon as we realized she was gone, we began looking under chairs and tables to see where she had gone off to, but she was nowhere to be found.  Finally, on my way upstairs, I found her laying on the second-to-top stair, completely exhausted and out of breath.

We decided that since she was at least a little more alert that we should try to give her a little food and water since she didn't have much all day.  She wouldn't drink anything, but she did eat quite a bit of food.  Not the normal amount that she usually does, but for being sick, it was a pretty decent amount.  Eventually she made her way up to a chair in the living room where we still tried to get her to drink some water.  She did take a couple licks of milk that Kelly offered on her finger, but that was all.  Mom ran off to the store to get a dropper so that we could "force" some water into her system to keep her from dehydrating (which was a problem when she arrived at the vet's).  By the time she got back, Big Shot had crawled under a chair in our dining room, apparently because she wanted to be left alone.

That is the point at which we left her.  She seemed a lot more "perky" when she was eating (and it's also apparent in this picture), but once she had gone under the chair, she was back to her weak self.  So, things are still not as great as they could be, and she still seems to be getting worse, but I think that her crawling up the stairs put everyone in a little bit of a better mood.  That's all for now... I think I'm going to try to get to sleep...

 

June 22, 2002 (11:29am): Big Shot doesn't look any better today.  Last night she went under my parent's bed to sleep.  Around 10:30 this morning, she went into my dad's bathroom, and she's been there ever since. 

We made an appointment for 1:30pm today to put her down...  She will be buried later this week...  And I have nothing more to say right now.  I'm going to make my final goodbyes, now.  Thanks to everyone for the kind words; it really means a lot to me and my family...

 

June 22, 2002 (2:53pm): Well, as I wrote last night, it's so hard to tell what cats are thinking and how they are feeling.  Since 11:30 this morning, our family spent all of our time around Big Shot, saying goodbye in our own personal ways.  Just after 12, Big Shot walked out of the bathroom and laid down in the hallway.  She seemed so perky to us, and it became harder and harder to believe that we were about to put her to sleep in an hour.

We gave her some food to eat, thinking that it would be her "last meal", but she ate the entire serving that we gave her and we had to run downstairs and bring up some more food.  Altogether, she had over a third of a cup.  Usually, in one day, we only give her one cup, total for her diet.  After she was done, she hopped over her bowl and headed into the foyer, almost as if she wanted to go outside.  We knew we couldn't do that, but we decided to try to get her to drink some water instead.  She hadn't drank anything for at least 4 days, which is why she still had an IV tube in her paw -- so that she could have liquids put into her intravenously so she wouldn't become dehydrated.  Mom gave her some water out of a dropper, and she actually eventually drank out of her bowl.  After she drank a good deal of water, she actually hobbled downstairs and went to the bathroom in her litter box.

After she was done her "business", she came out of the den area and sat around with us, as we tried to contemplate whether we should actually take her to the vet's.  After speaking to the clinic, we decided to take her in at 1:30, as planned, but we would let the doctor decide what would be the best thing to do.

For the next half hour before we had to take her in, we watched as she seemed to slowly regain some of her strength, and start to nibble at the bandage on her paw.

Finally, the time came to take her to the vet's, but none of us knew what to expect when we got there.  When the head doctor finally came to see us, he took one look at Big Shot and said, "Take her back home."  He basically continued by saying that he couldn't put her to sleep as she looked so healthy.  He also reminded us after looking at Big Shot's file that there was no absolute conclusion to what Big Shot's problem might be.  He took her back to a room with us, where he did a cursory examination and cut off the bandage on her paw.  He seemed to think everything was fine, so he set her on the floor to see if she would walk around, and she did just that.  She poked her head in different corners of the room, being the curious kitty that she is.  We were all amazed that we were looking at the same cat that only a few hours earlier looked to be on her death bed.

And so, the doctor let us take her home, but on one condition: that we don't worry about her condition and simply enjoy the time that we have with her.  Once she got home, she was looking much more healthy and alert.

We know that she is still not 100% back the way she used to be -- her breathing is still quick and heavy, and she is still somewhat weak, but as for now, we are just going to take the advice that the doctor gave us.  We are going to enjoy every day that she is with us, and when the time comes to put her to sleep, we will be able to deal with that then.  But as for now, everyone is very relieved that we have our Big Shot back. :-)

 

June 23, 2002 (3:03pm): There really isn't much to say for this update, but I decided to write a little blurb and throw in a couple more pictures for you.  By around 5:00pm last night, Big Shot was pretty much back to the way she was before -- in the bad sense.  She curled up on a chair in the living room and laid there for the rest of the night.  If we bring food over to her, she will occasionally nibble on a few pieces, but she is a little less enthused about having a drink of water to go with it.  At some point last night, she made her way downstairs and had a little more to eat before falling asleep on the rocker in the family room.

She was still in that rocker by the time morning came along, but she eventually got up her strength to get a bite to eat.  I brought her upstairs where she had a bit to drink, in fine dining.  Since then, she has pretty much been "sleeping" on a chair in the living room, but she gets up occasionally for a little walk around the room.

Anyways, that's the latest on Big Shot as of now.  Thanks for checking back to see how she's been doing!

 

June 23, 2002 (3:30pm): Okay, maybe things aren't as great as I thought they were.  As I was writing my last update, Big Shot went back into hiding.  This time she's under Kelly's bed.  I guess it doesn't mean too much; maybe she just wants to be left alone.  However, this is the first time that she has "hidden" from us since Saturday morning.  So, that's the latest so far...

 

June 23, 2002 (8:07pm): I'm getting ready to head off to bed since I have work early tomorrow morning, but I decided to just give you the latest update.  Big Shot finally came out from under Kelly's be around 8:00 tonight.  So, although she was under there for quite a few hours, at least she is back out of hiding.  In nature, cats tend to "hide", or go off away from others when they are sick, which is why I keep referring to her being "in" or "out" of hiding.  Anyway, she came downstairs and had a little bit to eat before jumping onto a rocker to get some more sleep.  And that's the latest as of now.  Thanks for checking in!

 

June 24, 2002 (5:51pm): This is going to be one of my last updates.  Today Big Shot has been sitting around the house non-stop.  At first this may seem like a good thing, but since I mention it, obviously it's not.  When she does lie down, she has so much trouble breathing through her liquid-filled lungs that she has to open her mouth to gasp air.  Sitting down puts a little less strain on her lungs, making it easier to breath.  However, eventually, it will become so bad that she will suffocate.  Therefore, we have made the decision to put her to sleep tonight at 7:00pm.  :-(

Kelly is at the movies right now and should be home by 6:30pm.  She does not yet know that we have to put Big Shot down tonight, but since 7:00 is the final time tonight to get this done, we don't have much of a choice.  Hopefully she will be home soon...

I'm sure that I speak for the entire family when I say that we are thrilled to have been able to spend at least a few more days with Biggsy-Wiggs.  She has brought infinite amounts of wonderful memories and good times to us, and she will never be forgotten.  Thank you, Big Shot.  We will love you and miss you always.

 

June 24, 2002 (7:21pm): With her loved ones by her side, Big Shot was put to sleep at 7:13pm this evening... :_-(

 

June 30, 2002 (9:34pm): This is going to be my final update to this page.  On Friday, June 28, at 1:14pm, Big Shot was buried at the Humane Society of Baltimore County (1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown, Maryland).  It was a sad, but still "nice" ceremony.  The head of the pet cemetery, Jimmy, allowed us to have a viewing before the actual burial.  After everyone had a final chance to say goodbye, Big Shot was wrapped in a soft cloth and taken across the road to the pet cemetery.  Her burial site is near a statue of St. Francis, in a wooded area, in the shade, high on a hill; It seemed very proper for Big Shot, a cat that loved high places since she was a kitten...

It's still sometimes hard to believe that Big Shot is really gone.  Everything around us holds some type of memory of our beloved Biggs, and it's important to hold those memories close to our hearts and remember the joys and laughs that Big Shot brought to us...

We miss you, Big Shot.  Even though you may be gone, you live forever and ever in our hearts...

You have become the wind,
that plays in my hair.
You have become the water,
that washes away my pain.
You have become the sun,
that takes away my tears,
you have become the shadow,
who gives me the power to fight with all my fears.
 

Now, you are in heaven,
sleeping your endless sleep,
living your prettiest dreams
on a cloud, so soft and so deep....

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