I’m saddened and personally devastated to report that Fred the cat died at Swift Creek Animal Hospital today at about 10:35 a.m.
Fred’s kidneys had been deteriorating so gradually over the past 3 years that no one detected it, including Fred. He gave the first indication that something was wrong about 3 weeks ago when he lost his appetite. Blood and urine tests revealed chronic renal failure (CRF), an irreversible, terminal condition.
CRF in cats has been described as feeling a bad hangover that never completely goes away and only gets worse.
I treated Fred at home with subcutaneous fluid injections and pills to stimulate his appetite, but he hated all the fuss and our struggles bought him only a few more good days that soon dwindled to a few good hours.
The day of the Preakness was one of his last good ones and he enjoyed the race, even though his horse lost. He really wanted to stick around for the Belmont to see if Mine That Bird could triumph again, but this morning he woke me up before dawn and told me in no uncertain terms, “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”
At the end, Fred drew his last breath peacefully with his head and paws in my hands.
Fred would hate me saying this, but he had single-minded, almost-canine devotion to me for the nearly 16 years we spent together. He was Yul’s tireless sparring partner and Adele’s cuddle buddy. His passing leaves a huge hole in all our hearts.
Here’s one of my favorite candid photos of Fred, snapped during the 2006 photo shoot for my book jacket. It was Fred’s unfailing daily presence in my office that inspired me to write How to Work Like a CAT.
My dearest Freddie, please rest in peace. Your bold, courageous, loving little spirit will always be with me. I’ll never forget you.