Bishop by Rebecca Kohler / I love you Bishy.

I was 17 years old when my older Brother brought Bishop to me. He was just a kitty, I remember his black paws and tiny mews as he stuck his paw out of the cardboard box my brother carried him in.

Being given this cat was the best gift I’ve ever had.

Bishop was all black, except for when he would lay in the sunshine you’d see his fur look brown. He had big yellow/green eyes, and two front buck teeth.

He wasn’t your normal cat. He didn’t rub all over you to be affectionate, you had to earn his love. He was playful, loyal, caring, guarding. I believe that he and I shared a relationship that did not need words to understand. There wasn’t a night that he did not sleep next to me. Through the years he remained the one constant in my life, as my life changed, he was right there with me. As I moved from home to home, as my jobs changed, when I was sick, when I had family issues of losing loved ones, he was there. Always giving me love. Not judging or condemning.

I found out in January of 2010, that Bishop had CRF. One morning I woke up and it was like he just lost half his body weight, I took him to the vet asap. We opted to treat him at home with SubQ fluids, my fiance would hold him down while I’d give him fluids. I adjusted his diet, but realized that I wanted to give him food he enjoyed so we stopped giving him the CRF food, he really didn’t like it.

Through out the last 5 months, he had good days and bad. He stopped wanting me to hold him like I had always done. He didn’t want to eat unless I put food right in front of him, I was not going to force feed him. He started wetting the bed, which he’d never do if he was healthy. He was throwing up every now and then. He continued to lose weight. He didn’t groom himself much. Sometimes if I’d pet him he’d growl at me. I knew he was hurting, I just didn’t know how bad. I don’t know if you can ever tell how much they hurt because they’ll hide it from you, and because they can’t verbalize it like a human would. The only treatment we kept Bishop on was the fluids. His blood tests were bad, and I chose not to keep testing his levels. It was breaking my heart to hold him down while giving him the SubQ’s. It was like he’d look at me saying “Mommy, why are you hurting me” Sometimes at night I’d let him go outside, but he started to run from me. He wanted to run away. This was upsetting because I know that when cats know they are dying, they try to run off. He hadn’t been purring for months, it was like his little internal motor was broken.

I read a lot about CRF, and I know that it was only going to get worse, much worse. Bishop had been so good to me for 14 years that I knew I would not allow him to be ran through the mud. I wasn’t going to let my friend suffer when I had control over ending his pain. I wasn’t going to let him go blind, have seizures, or have a heart attack.

I began weighing the options. Bishop was still active, but not much. Most days he’d lay around. He’s hide all day. Sometimes I’d let him outside to lay in the sun, because he always loved that so much. When he had fluids he’d feel better but then he’d crash again. By this time he had not let me hold him for months. He went from 12 lbs, to 6. He was starving.

Yesterday I put Bishop to sleep. He gave me 14 wonderful years of love and friendship. The car ride to the vets was awful. But he always had anxiety with that. At the vets, he began to purr, the loudest in almost a year. I just held him, told him I loved him. The vet did a final exam before I signed the papers to put him down. His right kidney was enlarged, the left had gotten small. He was well hydrated from the night before because we gave him fluids. His mouth ulcers had come back and he only weighed 6lbs. His bones were sharp and protruding. I guess in a way I didn’t need him to tell me he was in pain, all the signs were obvious. And I noticed that he smelled different. Not bad, but just different. I opted to have the vet give him a sedative before the final injection. I held his little head and cried. I think I cried harder than I have in years, before the sedative took affect he looked at me, and I just told him “it’s ok now friend, no more pain, I love you, close your eyes buddy” I think he may have tried to fight the sedative a bit, but it overtook him. He turned his head to look at me one more time. I kissed his head and ears, and just held him. The whole procedure was done in minutes. I laid my head on his now lifeless body and just cried. But he did look peaceful, and I knew he wouldn’t hurt anymore. I believe he passed peacefully and I felt I owed him that. It was not an easy decision, and I am sure I will mourn him for a long time. I feel sick even typing this so soon, but I don’t know how to get rid of this sadness. There is no other animal or cat that could take his place in my heart, and part of my heart went with him when he died.

I know the decision I chose for my Bishop is very personal. But I beg anyone that has a friend as good as he was to me, please don’t drag out the death of your CRF pet. CRF is terminal, and painful. Don’t hold onto them only for the sake of your own needs. Animals are good, and loving, and they will never stop loving you unless you let them know it is ok to pass on. I know that Bishop would have stayed with me until the end of time if it was possible. But I did not want our last memories together be him being sick, or having heart failure, blindness and seizures. I will probably forever wonder if I put him down to soon, but waiting it out, I fear would have only been worse for him.
Bishop, I love you. I hope that you know in those final moments, my decision was an act of love. My life will never be the same without you.


Never forgotten and always in my heart,
Rebecca Kohler