Arista (1997-2005)

Our cat, Arista, the fourth member of our family of three, as much a sibling as our only child will know, died last night.
We are all sad today.
We noticed she, curled up in a corner of the house, had been panting labouriously and fast,  as if not enough air was reaching her lungs.  In obvious distress, I tried to massage her, to feel if anything was perhaps lodged in her windpipe, but found nothing but a distressing cack on each short breath.  I lifted her and took her to her water dish, but she’d have none of it.  She went to her litter box and did some business of the solid sort (which we thought may have been the problem, but still the breath was not coming easily).  She wandered off (with us following) to another, darker corner of the house, as if she wanted to be alone to deal with this troubling annoyance by herself.
Petting and comforting her was doing nothing but apparently annoying her, and she wandered away again.  This time to behind the couch, a sure sign of "leave me alone".  She couldn’t be left alone, though, when she started meowing painful, mournful meowings.  Pulled the couch out and picked her up. Now her breathing was labourious and was beginning to sound phlegmy. Not a good sign.  Nor a good sign when liquidy discharge started to come out of her mouth.
We called the vet (this was at 9:30 at night) and told the symptoms and he said he’d meet us at the clinic.  Karyn went by herself, I stayed home with Cameron.
She arrived home about half an hour later.  Not good.  The vet would give Arista oxygen and call us with updates.  Cameron was, by this time, in bed.
Phone call another half hour later.  The vet was giving the cat oxygen, but it wasn’t doing much..  He believed Arista had suffered a heart attack.  Also, there was substantial liquid forming in her lungs.  Perhaps, surmised the vet, she had taken some poison?  None that we were aware of.
As we were wondering what the next step should be, the vet says "hold on, she stopped moving".  When he came back on the phone, he told us Arista had died.

I was the one who told Cameron this morning, and that wasn’t much fun.  She was the only pet Cameron had had.  He was the one who picked her out at the Shelter, when he was three or four years old.  He was the one who decided upon the name.  Immediately, she was house-trained, and a great addition to the family.  She played games with Cameron when he (or she) was bored, like Hide and Seek and Eat My Hair (don’t ask).  She was devoutly jealous of almost every one of Cameron’s friends, and would take every opportunity to hiss at them whenever they were occupying his time.  Those were the only times she’d show any hint of a negative attitude.
I’ll miss those nights when I was falling asleep, Arista would jump up on my side of our bed and curl up beside me for five or ten minutes before heading off to her other nightly pursuits, and those countless times she’d curl up beside me on the couch and we’d watch TV together.

She was a great cat.  We’ll miss her.


  1. Nils says:

    Sorry, Rob. I know what you went through. Our dog of 15 years died a coule of years ago – the only pet the girls had known. She was riddled with cancer and having trouble drawing a breath, and the vet said “It’s time to say goodbye …” And the whole family was in the room, petting her and crying as he gave her the needle. Wrenching …

    I hope you cried with Cameron … I did, with my daughters … and later they told me that it really mattered to them that I did.


  2. dave s says:

    hey rob.

    geez, what an unpleasant suprise. sorry to hear about arista. as someone who grew up always having a cat for a pet, i know that they can be a very strong presence in a household and a very important family member. please pass my sentiment on to karyn and cameron.


  3. Cyn says:

    Sorry to hear about Arista. Losing a pet is losing a member of the family. My condolences to you, Karyn and Cameron.


  4. Graham says:

    My sympathy to your whole crew. Pets are people. They are not human, obviously, but they are definatly people.

    I know how Cameron feels.

    Take care


  5. Calico Cat says:

    Rob, sorry about ‘your’ loss of the family pet.. We have one that I named my internet identity after.. can be very special, my daughter lives and would die for it.

    That being said, hopefully your ‘Mrs’ can identify the signs of coming heart induced death better than you can.. when it’s ‘your turn’. How’s the jogging going?

    When you curl up in the corner refusing a drink of water to make you feel better, then losing control of your bowels while in complete denial of your condition. Hiding behind the couch,,, hopefully she’ll dial 911.

    My child (teenage problem in its own right!) works at a vet clinic p/t and people are forever bringing in animals that should have been seen by the vet years ago. How was Arista’s cholesteral? Bet you don’t know? Feed it the cheap Sobey’s food, not the good expensive vet stuff did you?

    sorry’bout your loss seriously.


  6. ghislaine says:

    I read this post with a tear in my eye, remembering the death of my dog a couple years ago. Mourn her loss as you would any one you love. Hug your kid, share memories, feel better soon.


  7. coda says:

    Arista was only fed IAMS which was suggested from the start of her adoption from the Humane Society. She had regular check ups and was never ill. She was an affectionate creature that never really misbehaved..except for some scratching here and there. I will miss her dearly.


  8. John Boylan says:

    Very sorry for your loss Rob. Our little cat Tommy was killed by a car two days ago. Everywhere I go around the house I see him.


  9. Chris says:

    sniff… Sorry to hear about your loss, Rob.


  10. Tracy says:

    I’m so sorry, Rob. I know you and your family will miss her terribly.

    I’m about to go through much the same thing with our dog, and it’s hard…probably one of the toughest things we’ve had to deal with as a family.

    Take care.


  11. Rob says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss, Rob. It’s sad to lose a friend. My dog died a few months ago.


  12. Frankie says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your dear family member’s death. Our pets were so special to us as well that when they passed away we decided not to adopt any more animals. Too hard.


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