Good bye Arjan July 13,
1988 - November 26, 2003
It is with deep
sadness that I share news that Arjan's time on this
beautiful living planet is over. He was born here over 15 years ago, and has
lived a long and healthy life. It is shocking to
loose him so soon after we buried his brother
Arjan stopped eating on Friday and when his appetite
did not return, we took him to the local
veterinarian for blood work and x-rays and
ultrasound the following Tuesday. There was a
suspicious mass under his spleen, but the X ray
revealed that he had food in his intestines, so it
was assumed that was what we were viewing. Then we
drove him 70 miles to Dr. Adney the next day for a
barium X-ray to better diagnosis his problem. Dr.
Adney examined Arjan's x-ray I brought with me and
noted his stomach was up against his diaphragm wall
and that meant Arjan had cirrhosis of the liver. His
abdomen was filing with fluid and the prognosis was
grave. We did not do further tests that day.
The diagnosis for Arjan was a death sentence,
however, I felt if any animal could beat this, it
was Arjan. And I was not ready to see him
leave. We took it one day at a time, and I have
grasped at every possible straw, and vacillated from
hope to despair and doubt and back to hope again.
On Saturday I spoke with Peregrine Wolff, DVM. in
California. She told me that she has never regretted
putting down a 15-year-old feline. They always have
lots of pathology. She told me that all I was doing
was rearranging the chairs on the deck of the
Titanic. And I finally accepted his fate and it
relieved my mind of any lingering doubt that I might
be ending his life when all he needed was more time
to heal. I knew it would be a weekday before I could
make arrangements with a veterinarian. I had
obligations to take a dear friend to the oncologist
on Monday and so Tuesday was the day we planned to
put him to sleep.
Monday night I spent a lot of time with him and
cried and poured all my love out to him. Tuesday was
predicted to reach 70 degrees and we planned to let
him soak up the warmth of the sun's rays one final
time. I went through the motions of offering him
food that morning as I did every day, and to my
amazement, he started licking the chicken neck and
then managed to consume it. I hand fed him
three chicken necks that morning. We changed our
plans and decided perhaps he was going to beat this.
That afternoon, I managed to hand feed him about 5
very tiny slices of beef, less then what I could cup
in my hand. And so later on that day, I
injected more B complex and more antibiotics in
Arjan. I drove to town to buy more electrolytes for
I boiled him some chicken neck soup. At dinnertime
he ate about 5 cooked chicken neck skins and licked
at the cooked necks with his raspy tongue and
abraded some of the meat off, but he would not
actually chew up the necks.
I spent most of his last evening by his side,
stroking him and observing him. We had a lot of
quality time together. And he was barely out of my
sight that day. He had around the clock attention
and I am sure he knew how much he was loved. He was
very peaceful last night, too much so, as if the day
and eating the little bit he did exhausted him. It
was all too familiar - I remember visiting my father
in the hospital. He had been on IV nutrition for
weeks, but finally he was out of ICU and they were
spoon-feeding him his first meal - and he sat up and
spoke with me and joked with the nurse. However, he
was a breatharian now, and he could not consume food
anymore. Within 2 days he passed away.
I went to bed hopeful. I slept better then I have
this past week, however I awoke with dread and
checked on Arjan early. His eyes were still clear
and direct, but he was more prone then other days.
And when he tried to change positions, I could tell
he was weaker. And I could tell he wanted a drink,
however, he was unable to rise on his own to turn
around 180 degrees to drink from his water bowl. He
managed to turn 90 degrees and he had to stop.
I drove him
over into his exercise yard, hoping the movement of
the truck would bring him to his feet, but it did
not. I parked the truck facing his brother Sharu in
the main cage. I let him soak up the beauty of his
world and feel at peace. I went through one more
period of denial. I palpated his abdomen and felt
that lump again and for a moment I considered
driving him 70 miles to Dr Adney for another X ray -
for him to find a block somewhere and just perform
surgery and make this all stop happening. And then I
came to my senses - Arjan could not survive surgery,
even if he needed it. And a block does not cause
this fluid build up. And his liver is all shrunk up.
And he is not going to recover. It was time to
put him to sleep and end his suffering. He had tried
so hard for me, and when he rallied yesterday to try
to eat, he gave me hope. But it was not fair
to continue to ask this of Arjan. He led a full
life, he gave everything he had to us, and I have no
I chose a
peaceful spot nearby to Cinnabar to dig his grave.
He will rest under a dogwood tree. I dug most of the
grave that afternoon. Arjan was removed from the
transport cage he spent the last week of his life in
and he lay upon our truck bed, positioned for final
day, which was Thanksgiving Day I performed his
necropsy. The lump I had felt was a large intestinal
tumor. He had many smaller ones as well. The cancer
had metastases to his liver as well. I have
collected samples and am sending them off for
Cinnabar were very loved. I will be forever in
their debt for making my life complete. On this
national day of thanks, I give thanks that I was
blessed with 15 years of sharing my life with these
two and their brother Sharu.
Mother Earth, Father Sky
This is our beloved son
The cycle of his life is
What came from the earth,
returns to the earth.
What came from the
returns to the spirit –
embrace your perfect
Father sky, hear me.
This is Arjan, a prince
A warrior who loves
He is beauty,
devotion. If we are
he is immortal because
our love for
him will never die.
Find the trail to your
I can see your face in
I can hear your voice in
I can follow your trail.
I will find you.
We will all be together