It is truly amazing how fast you can go from having a cat who seems perfectly healthy to one you have to let go just days later. Minh, our orange guy, fourteen years old, was born outside and a neighbor was feeding him when he was a kitten but didn’t want to keep him. We took him in when he was about six months old. You’d never know he was born outside – he was always super friendly (except to our cat Gilda, who he tormented.) When he was about a year or so old he developed stomatitis, an auto-immune condition that left him basically allergic to his teeth, and after trying antibiotics and steroids for months, we took him to a dental specialist who removed all his teeth. They told us there was an 80% chance the procedure would be curative; luckily we were in the 80%, and until just a few days ago, Minh has been one the healthiest cats we’ve ever had. At his annual exam just a couple months ago the vet said he didn’t look 14 and that all of his blood and other work was perfect.

Minh was a very confident cat and did well with most of our cats throughout the years. Gilda, who is afraid of her shadow, is the only one he tormented….I think he was okay with all the others over the years, and there were a lot. Minh was not a fan of the dogs, but tolerated them if they left him alone. Gracie, however, was Minh’s tormentor and chased him whenever she got the chance. Over time, however, Minh seemed to grow bored with that game and paid Gracie less attention when Gracie got obnoxious. Minh would just leave the room. (Gracie, too, had some training and learned to stop chasing on request from me.)

Minh liked being up on things. Kitchen counters, breakfast bar, bookshelves, window seats, cat trees…whatever he could find. In the last few years, especially, he hung out on the breakfast bar where Marley’s computer is and he would sit there while Marley worked on emails or whatever. He liked people and liked being around people a lot. He was not particularly worried about anyone who came to the house. He was one of the cats people would tend to see, and he might even come visit.

He also loved food. Loved. He was more like a dog on that count than he was cat-like. Probably from being born outside, he never missed a meal, and had we not locked him in one of the bathrooms to eat each meal, he would have finished in a flash and gone searching for whatever else wasn’t eaten elsewhere. He would often eat so fast that he threw up, and many years ago I switched him to a food that is thick and hard to eat quickly to slow him down a bit, and he would throw up a couple times a month instead of all the time. But the second meal prep began, you could count on Minh to be present, winding around your legs and doing whatever he could to hurry the process along.

He was a very personable cat, a pleasure mostly. He had his challenges with peeing around, though that got better in later years, even if it didn’t go away entirely. That aside, he was a really gorgeous and sweet guy.

Last Monday he didn’t eat his dinner. Minh never skips a meal so this was noticed, but we’ve had a couple of the fosters with a little kitty flu and we thought perhaps he’d gotten that. I took him to the vet and got him Cerenia for nausea and fluids on Wednesday, after he skipped both meals Tuesday. That had no effect, so brought him back on Thursday, and by this time he had a small fever. The vet put him on antibiotics, more anti-nausea meds, an appetite stimulant, and some pain relief. By late Friday I noticed that his abdomen looked a bit distended and I made a follow up vet appointment for first thing Monday morning (today if you’re reading this 11/24). Saturday he didn’t look great, and I gave him fluids at home in the morning. He didn’t eat all week, so I was hand feeding him whatever I could get down him, which wasn’t a lot. Saturday afternoon I was very concerned and we finally decided to take him to the emergency vet. He had a temperature of 104.7 by that time (top of normal is 102) and he was just down and out. They took radiographs and his abdomen was full of fluid, more than a pound. On Wednesday he weighed 10 lbs or so and by Saturday, without eating all week, he was 11 pounds 7 ounces, all of that fluid in his abdomen. They did blood work, and the vet was pretty sure this was an aggressive cancer, most likely lymphoma, and we made the decision to let him go and not have to suffer anymore.

Minh was a very sweet, elegant guy, probably happy to have been rescued from the streets and have a cushy home to hang in. He spent a lot of time on laps and just generally hanging around us…a happy guy for the most part. He was a quiet and confident cat, easy to love most days. We brought his body home with us after the emergency vet helped him cross that rainbow bridge, and let the other animals in the house sniff and know what happened, and he is resting in our unheated attic for now. In the morning I’ll take him to our vet to be cremated and his ashes will join those of so many of our other pets who went before him.

With Bodhi passing the final day of August, and the 2 week old kitten I had to euthanize in October, and now Minh, we are hoping not to have to do more of this soon. It has been a lot. The house feels a little empty without Minh today, and we miss him. I hope he finds some of his housemates on the other side of the rainbow bridge and there are many happy reunions there. Rest in peace, Minh. Thank you for gracing our lives for fourteen years.

28 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Minh

  1. Deborah-
    Your posts make me smile in the morning or tear up….. Letting go never gets easy and the hole in our hearts never fill. May Minh find her buddies and her way in her next steps. Consoling hugs to you and your entire family.

    1. I’m not completely sure how we came up with his name, but I think it is because Minh means “bright,” and we figured he was pretty bright finding his way from living outdoors to living in our home.

  2. Sending hugs……losing a family member is really tough – especially after so many years It sounds like Minh was a happy boy to be part of your family and know love and security. He sure was a beautiful boy – you know I have a soft spot for orange cats! I have a feeling he will be letting you know in some special way that he’s OK now……running around the clouds.

    Love, Pam

  3. I am so sorry Deb. He sounded like a wonderful companion. What a rough few months. Your furry family is so lucky to have you in their lives! Hugs!

  4. Minh was a handsome fellow, and a real sweetheart. My thoughts and prayers are with you and this little one, too. He was lucky to be with you all these years.

    We lost our own little Hope cat to intestinal cancer back in May of 2021. She would have been 14 that August. She was a feral kitten. I still have her brother Marcus.

  5. We are so sorry to read about Minh’s passing. No matter how long they are with us itis never long enough.

  6. I am sad that you have lost your beautiful friend Minh. What a darling one and such a dear friend. How very fortunate Minh was to find a home with you and have so many happy years. Time is never long enough.

  7. You are now undertaking the long journey through grief. While others may share that grief we all walk it alone. There are no right or wrong paths, no proper way to carry oneself, no set amount of time to complete it. Some steps will come easier than others. There will be rogue waves of grief that you won’t see coming, and knock you back days. But you will come through it. If you get lost let us know. We have been through it before and we might be able to help you find the way out.

  8. So sorry to read about your loss, Debra. Handsome Minh sounds like he was a grand fellow. That final goodbye is so heart-wrenching, the worst part of pet ownership. It is good to think about all the good he brought into your lives. May he RIP. 😿

  9. There is no emptiness like a home that has just lost a loved cat. Each has his presence, and it cannot be replicated. Minh was loved, and he clearly knew it. God bless you for giving him a family, and Godspeed, Minh.

  10. Oh Debra – We are saddened to hear the news of Minh’s passing. Please accept our sincerest sympathies. I know he’s playing with all our furry friends that crossed the rainbow bridge.
    Cindy and Barry

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