If you know me well or follow me on Instagram, you’ll how just how much our cat, Mr Toff (Toffee), means to me. He’s like my own child and I can’t imagine my life without him. Sadly, last month, we got some devastating news – he has heart failure and to make it worse, a cancerous tumor on his heart! This blog is such a huge part of my life and I couldn’t not dedicate a little post about my baby!
So lets start at the beginning. He was born on the 7th May 2002 in my wardrobe. I know that may sound really strange but his mum, Cuddles, was our cat too! She had 5 kittens and my parents told me I could keep one of them. She popped out the first four in a couple hours and we thought it was all over so we left her to bond with her new kittens. We went up to check on her a couple hours later and there she was about to pop out Mr! Honestly, it was like love at first sight – I knew I had to keep him! We actually ended up keeping his sister Coffee (Bean) too, who sadly had to be put to sleep last July with liver failure which lead to heart failure. Although they never got on (she hated him so much, but he always wanted to like her), after she died he really missed her!
We’ve literally grown up together (I was 11 when he was born – he’s now 14) and he honestly means the world to me. He’s been there through me going to senior school, college, getting my first proper job and even my first boyfriend (Shane) – I’ll never forget the look of disgust he gave Shane that first time he jumped up on my bed and saw him there in his spot like I’d betrayed/replaced him haha (also, he’s a pro at facial expressions)! Shane’s grown on him since then and he moved next door into my parents extension with us and absolutely loved his new found freedom of the entire house (he wasn’t allowed in the living room or anyone’s bedrooms but mine in my parents house) and his favourite thing is to go completely crazy running up and down the stairs then hiding either under the stairs or under the bed. He’s a lunatic and although his cheekyness and stubborness drives me crazy sometimes, I absolutely love him to death!
He’s the most loving cat/animal I’ve ever known and has SO much love for us (me). He sleeps right by my side the whole night through and wakes up with my alarm. He comes to the toilet with me in the morning, waits at the top of the stairs for his morning kiss, then races me down the stairs to his food bowl. He waits at the window near the front door during the winter for me getting home from work, or in the garden during the summer and he literally follows me everywhere. He goes in a mood with us when we go on holiday but then won’t leave my side after he’s got over it. I can’t sit on the couch without him climbing all over my laptop for attention and cuddles – he’s currently fast asleep beside me on the couch, snoring away as usual. And I’m constantly phoning Shane or my mum to check if he’s been fed or not, because he’s the best little actor at pretending he hasn’t had food for 10 years and he’s about to die of starvation – seriously, someone needs to cast him in a cat food ad. He’d nail it! And he goes in such a grump when he realises he’s been caught! Also, he loves chicken. He can be fast asleep in another room, but as soon as you get the chicken out, he’s running through the house and peering at the top of the worktop meowing for his share.
Last month, he suddenly started breathing quite heavy. We took him to the vets the next day where they did an x-ray and took blood samples to see what was wrong and found a build up of fluid in his lungs. The vet suggested having a heart ultrasound to clearly see his heart as the xray didn’t show it too clearly. They found that he has a genetic type of heart disease where his heart walls have thickened (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) so his blood isn’t being pumped properly around his body, causing a fluid buildup in his lungs. While they were doing the ultrasound, they also found a tumor on the right side of his heart that the cardiologist said looks like it is probably cancerous, but it doesn’t seem like it’s causing any problems at the moment, but there is nothing they can do about it because of where it is.
The heart disease is now in the heart failure stage as it’s causing the fluid buildup, so he’s got medication for the rest of his life. He has diuretic tablets to remove the fluid and another for his blood pressure, and we have to monitor his resting breathing rate each night to see how his condition is progressing – if his breathing rate starts to increase over time, we have to up his prescription of diuretics until there is no more we can do for him.
Right now, he’s his usual crazy self on the lowest prescription of diuretics, so hopefully he’s still got a while left with us which makes me so happy! He’s not allowed to do any activities that could put pressure on his heart (like running around the house like crazy, but try telling that to a cat) and he absolutely loves that he gets ‘treats’ every morning and evening. Luckily one of his tablets is flavoured to be like a treat, and the other is so tiny we can wedge it in a soft treat stick as he’s the worst at taking tablets, but he loves it. He’s also loving all the extra attention and cuddles he’s getting lately. Since we don’t know how much longer we have left with him (and obviously, I’m hoping it’s still a while yet), I’m not taking him for granted. If he climbs all over me for a cuddle, he gets a cuddle. No matter what.
I honestly never thought I could love anything so unconditionally, but my love for him grows so much every single day and I would do absolutely anything for him. It breaks my heart to know that there is absolutely nothing that we can do for him apart from give him the best life that he has left and keep an eye on his condition as it worsens. The vet said that we’ve caught it a lot earlier than most people do so he’s got a really good start on his medication, but unfortunately one day the inevitable will happen. But until then, he’s getting all the love and attention (and ‘treats’) he wants.
Mr Toff, I love you with all my heart ♥ (I seriously wish he could read this right now haha!)
Julie CurringtonFebruary 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm
April this is a beautiful read and it brought tears to my eyes. I love my cat Vodka like you love Mr Toff. She has asthma and breaths heavy from time to time and makes me panic. He sounds like the most loved puddy cat on the planet and I really hope he still has a lot of time left. Give him a pat from me. Love Julie xxxx
JesFebruary 6, 2016 at 12:57 am
This was such a beautiful read. I’m really sorry to hear about Mr. Toff. He sounds wonderful. I hope he (and you) are okay x
Also give him a pat from me too. 🙂
Tricia MorganFebruary 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm
April I feel the same as Julie this has brought a tear to my eye too. As you know Champ has a condition called Rhinitus, which eventually will affect His breathing. I hope you have lots of valued time together. Give Mr Toff a big cuddle from me and Champ. Xx