Storm Accelerates Demise Of Cat

Stress And Anxiety In Wake Of Irene Takes Toll On Family Pet

On Sunday morning, I got some very bad news.  Socko, our cat for over 11 years, had to be put to sleep after having a large tumor in his chest.  He had been really struggling to breathe over the last day or so.   He had been sick for a while according to the vet.   The cancerous tumor in his chest had become too big to really do anything about it.  Even if they had tried to operate and remove it, there was no guarantee that he would survive.

Socko had been having some problems over the past year.   However, the stress suffered in the wake of Hurricane Irene was probably the last straw, and accelerated his demise.  As mentioned on Sunday, we had to evacuate, and spent time in a hotel nearby.  My mom decided to take our cat to the hotel, but she didn’t tell anyone.  When we let the cat out of the pet carrier, you could see that he was traumatized by the experience.

He seemed like he was gasping for air at times at the hotel.  His tongue was hanging out of his mouth.  Separated from his normal surroundings, Socko appeared to have an anxiety attack.  I tried to calm him down by periodically going over to where he was laying down, and rub the back of his neck.  He always seemed to respond well to that.  However, he hid underneath the bed, which was a familiar practice.  Whenever we had a visitor at the house, or let him outside, he always was rattled.

Surprisingly though, he eventually came around.  By the evening, and during the overnight, he came up on the bed, and was playful.  He looked like he was his old self again.  Eventually, the flood waters went down and my mom went home with the cat.   When I came by the house on Tuesday and Wednesday, he appeared to be ok.  On Thursday, when I returned to the house, Socko was resting on the window sill in the Dining Room.  I came by to see him, and after I startled him, he settled down.

Prior to the storm though, he showed signs of problems.  He seemed to labor when he breathed.  Over the past year, he appeared to have seizures although looking back on it now, it was probably the fact that he was having trouble breathing that made him struggle to move, or get up from where he was laying.  He was also resting a lot.  There were bursts of his trademark energy, but he seemed fatigued more often.

This has been a tough blow for the family, but when things settle down, we plan to get at least another cat, and maybe two.  We’ll see.