Goodbye, Sweet Sundance

Today was the day every person owned by a cat (or dog) dreads. . . . .the day one has to say Goodbye.

Sundance and his sister, Cassidy, came to us as near-newborn kittens after a huge rain storm in the summer of 1999. When son Thomas brought them to me, their eyes weren’t open yet, and their ears didn’t “appear” for several days. We bottle fed the two of them, and Sundance’s playful but assertive nature showed up from the very beginning. Cassidy would nurse hungrily, but it was easy to keep a grip on her and on the bottle. Sundance? He would wiggle, squirm, and quite often yank the nipple right out of the bottle! There we would be; suddenly bathed in formula, and Sundance demanding “more food – right NOW”!

He and his sister grew up to be very large, affectionate cats. . . .but Sundance was always the one who gave kisses and stole everyone’s heart. He nearly always wanted to be where his people were, and he carefully investigated the work of every repairmen who ever entered our house! He would station himself on a table or counter, waiting patiently for one of us to walk by. . . .when we did, he would stick out a paw and bat at us, clearly saying “Hey! I need petting!” When he really wanted attention, he would wait till someone (most often his “Daddy”, Tom) petted him and then he would walk his front paws up the petter’s chest to their shoulder; “Carry me, please?”
He had other traits which were unique among the many cats which have ruled our home: he would meow (for a snack/a faucet drink/ a cuddle), or just be hanging out with us and yawn, and leave just a little bit of his pink tongue sticking out, sometimes for quite a long time:) I called it his “bliss mode” . He would also express complete contentment with a “lip smacking” behavior – I’ve always attributed it to his ‘bottle baby’ start in life.

Sundance had cancer surgery in 2005. We so easily could have lost him then. I am so very grateful for the extra years of his affection and companionship we were given! I am so glad that our darling grand-daughter learned “Kee Kat” (Kitty Cat) while pursuing him through our house, and learned how soft cat fur is by burying her face in his soft fur.

Recently, he hasn’t quite been his usual self, and he’s been losing weight. In a been-there-done-that sort of way, we knew the cancer had probably returned. . . . .but he’d survived this once before, right? He’s stronger this time, right? I took him to our wonderful Alamo Feline Clinic at 9:15 this morning. (They performed the surgery in ’05, and have saved our “grand-cat”, Blanco, twice.) Even though he wasn’t feeling well, he gave cuddles to the vet and the technician, making new friends. When the vet carried him off to the surgical suite, it was in Sundance’s favorite shoulder-perch mode.

At 10:15 am, I got the call – Sundance was still asleep, but the cancer had spread much, much further this time. . . .chemo would give him (at best) nine months, and they wouldn’t be good quality, comfortable months for him. I had to make the decision that was best for him, and I did. I asked the vet not to let him wake up from the anesthesia 🙁

Goodbye, Sweet Sundance. Play with the other loving pets at the Rainbow Bridge and wait for me; I promise I will come get you when it is time.

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One Response to “Goodbye, Sweet Sundance”

  1. Shannon says:

    Sundance was definitely one of those pets that get their way a little deeper into your heart than the others. He was a wonderful companion and I, too, am glad that you guys were able to give him several more GOOD years of life, such that he got to meet and be loved by Sara. I know she will miss burying her face in his belly and chasing him around (something that, recently, I noticed he was less keen on indulging though he offered up his belly for head burying snuggles as recently as yesterday.) He was well loved and well cared for and went before things got utterly painful.

    Justin and I dread the day when we have to say goodbye to one of our cats, since they have all been with us since we got married (Norton, since our apartment; Blanco since our first year in the house; Amiga’s the newbie, adopted her I think on our 5 year wedding anniversary while in Dallas since Justin’s sister-in-law was fostering strays at the time.

    We love them and then, like kids, at some point we have to let them go. Sundance is now resting comfortably getting more scritches and cuddles than he could ever dream of, even in your loving household.

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