Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Niagara Falls, New York, United States
Posted Sep 06, 2016
We adopted Sweeny Todd as a tiny little kitten from a rescue shelter in July of 2013. He was born and began his life on the side of a highway. The first time I saw him, it may sound cliche, but it was love at first sight! The rescue shelter was hosting a showing of their adoptable cats and kittens in a local mall. We had only been at the mall to buy a new bedspread, but that day we didn't purchase a bedspread. There was a crowd around the table that all of the cats and kittens were on. Children in awe of the adorable whiskered faces that stared back at them. My fiance also saw the table and attempted to steer me away from them, knowing that we already had five cats at home. His efforts were short lived as I am a stubborn woman and he knew there was no stopping me. I moved closer and was finally able to see that one of the kittens were out of the cages. He was being held by one of the volunteers for the shelter. I pushed my way through the crowd, and that is when I found myself gazing into the eyes of Sweeny Todd. He was so tiny, but his paws were so big! I spoke with the volunteer who explained to me where he was found and what little bit of Todd's story she knew. I held him and fell in love. It was as if someone had handed me the final piece to a giant jigsaw puzzle that I didn't realize I wasn't completed with. However, my fiance encouraged me to give him back to the volunteer, and I reluctantly did so. We walked away from the table, and I couldn't help but feel as though I had just handed my final puzzle piece away.
We got some frozen yogurt at a stand on the second floor of the mall, which looked over the table of cats and kittens. And I watched as children and their parents gazed into Sweeny Todd's eyes, as I had moments before. We continued to walk around the mall all the while discussing the pros and cons of adopting yet another fur ball into our family. In the end, we agreed that five cats were a lot, but what was one more? One tiny little extra mouth to feed. So, we decided to go for it, and we returned to the rescue shelter area of the mall. We spent time with Sweeny Todd and fell even deeper in love with him. We finalized the paperwork and brought Todd home. That little ball of fur with big feet completed our family. We had three boy cats and three girl cats. The Brady Bunch of the cat world, if you will. The others accepted Todd slowly but would eventually see him as their little brother. Todd grew rather quickly after that. He was no longer the tiny ball of fur with big feet. He became a rather large boy with rather large feet. One of the best things about him was that he never lost his baby squeak. He never meowed. He squeaked. He squeaked for cream cheese after we would make a bagel for breakfast. He squeaked when he wanted attention and love. And he squeaked when warned us about the mail carrier. He was incredible, and it never was a dull moment with him around.
Todd turned two years old on March 9, 2015. The 8 of us celebrated with cans of wet cat food as "birthday cake" and new cat toys for his presents. That amazing baby boy of ours was two! We couldn't believe how fast time had flown by. Eight days later, I received a text message from my fiance while I was at work. He said that Todd was acting weird, hiding and didn't want to be touched. This was very unlike our baby boy. I assured him that I would come home and take a look at him. After work, I went out with some friends to celebrate a birthday and later that night, I returned home. I searched for Todd. I called for him, and there was no squeak. We found him and saw that he wasn't feeling well. So, we gathered him, some food, water and a litter box and set him up in our bedroom so we could keep an eye on him throughout the night. I stayed up with Todd that night. I watched and comforted him as he vomited a white foamy substance that I had never seen before. As soon as morning came, I called a friend of mine and explained the situation. He informed me that Todd may have a blockage in his urinary tract and that he needed to be taken to the vet right away. Terrified for my baby boy, I called the vet and explained the situation again. The receptionist agreed with my friend's diagnosis and insisted I bring him in immediately.
When we walked into the vet's office with Todd, the team of veterinary assistants, technicians, and veterinarians snatched him from our arms and took him to the back room for an exam. My fiance and I were taken to a regular examination room where the veterinarian met us and discussed her findings. Todd indeed had a urinary tract blockage. A crystal buildup in his urethra that prevented him from urinating. She told us that she could attempt surgery to remove the blockage and fix the problem. Or, we could put him to sleep. We begged her to do everything she could to save our baby boy. She gave us the papers to sign off on the surgery and we were told to go home and wait.
A half an hour of crying and praying later, we got the call that Todd didn't survive the surgery. Our baby boy was gone. We were allowed to return to the vet's office to hold him and say our goodbyes.
Sweeny Todd was a playful, loving, sweet, gentle, overall amazing cat, friend, and family member. He showed us that life could be sweet, and then life can take it all away in a blink of an eye. He taught us to love each other a little deeper and cherish each moment because tomorrow may never come.
Maine Coons are an incredible breed. They are everything that Todd was. While not every Maine Coon cat will be like my baby boy, I encourage others to consider welcoming one into their home and their hearts. They will return the favor. My baby boy sure did.
Todd has been gone over a year, and it never gets easier. We mourn him and know that our lives have been forever changed for the better because of him. This past March we celebrated what would have been his third birthday and then nine days later, we mourned his one year in kitty heaven.
A crystal buildup or blockage in the urinary tract is not as uncommon as you may believe. It was nothing that we did or did not do that caused it. The vet explained to us that kittens are prone to this blockage, and it can be easily fixed at that age. However, it is very likely to come back when they are adults. Having five other cats, there was no way to know that one of them was not using the litter box.
My advice to you is, adopt a Maine Coon or any animal if you can, especially if they feel like the final piece to your giant jigsaw puzzle like Todd was for us. Then, pay attention to them. Observe their behaviors, good and bad, and recognize when something isn't right. Pay attention to their litter boxes. If it seems as though there is very little waste to clean out, there may be something wrong, and it should be addressed quickly.
Let the loss of my baby boy be the reason that you never do.