Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Off topic: Farewell, Monsieur Émile!
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
Oct 17, 2009

Many of us freelancers have a little assistant living with us. For freelancers, a pet is much more important than for people who work outside of the home--the little assistant is with us all the time, so we spend much more time with them. My little helper has just left us.

Monsieur Émile was our dear brown tabby. He was born on July 21, 2005. He was my best friend, companion, helper (he was in charge of USB devices) and my little baby boy.

Monsieur Émile's mother was a stray cat. She laid low in the neighbour's yard and hid with her kittens under the patio. The neighbour's teen and his friend had a lot of fun scaring her. I was in the yard, and I witnessed the mother cat jumping over the fence to hide her kittens, baby kitten between her teeth, one by one, until all four of them were safely tucked under my patio. They would play, suntan and suck on mommy's titties in my yard. Mommy was skinny and I was afraid she would not be able to feed her kittens, so I started feeding her. That was a bad idea--the kittens started eating the cat food even though they were too young for anything but mother's milk. What could I do? I let them. They got so used to me being around that the kittens let me get real close, especially while eating cat food. Even mommy let me pat her gently a few times, and although she would get a bit closer to the kittens when she saw me, she let me touch them. She knew I only wanted to help.

I fell in love with the little kittens. I would have liked to adopt the entire family, but that was out of the question. Somehow, this little male got to me more than the others. He had a perfectly symmetrical fuzzy little body. He was always the first to come to me when he saw me on my doorstep and wasn't as afraid of me as the others. His curiosity always won over his fear. He was also the one that jumped around the most--he would play with a tree leaf for an entire hour, thinking it was alive, while the others were lying around licking their paws. He also had his favorite sister--these two were always together. Gradually, the kittens would walk farther away from the nest. When they got to the point where they would walk right up to the fence, and they weren't as interested in mommy's titties as they were in the cat food, I picked him up and brought him in. That was in October 2005.


That's Monsieur Émile in the foreground, about to leap at a leaf.


A few months after he moved in, in his favorite hiding place.

Monsieur Émile spent all his time with me. There was nothing he wouldn't eat--even toast. He liked vegetable elastics to the point he would chew them into little pieces and swallow them (there are still little bits of elastic around his playground). He liked to take the cat food out of the bowl, pellet by pellet, and eat it off the floor. He used his paws as though they were hands. He loved the disco mouse--he would take it for a spin, meow at it as though he was warning it to stay put, but he eventually brought it to my feet and dropped it there, much like cats bring home bird corpses as gifts. He liked to hide his disco mouse in shoes (we had many a laughing fit in the morning), but he was also a bit sadistic in having a tendency to drown it--in his waterbowl! Then, we had to hang poor disco mouse to dry before he could play with it again. He would sleep with his four paws up in the air--only cats that feel really safe do that.



Monsieur Émile loved us so much, he let us lift him off the floor and hold him, although he visibly didn't like it. I guess enduring this was his way to show us his affection. But what was really special about him was that he would not touch his food until we told him it was okay. We would put the food in his bowl and then he would court us. We would talk to him (asking him if he will climb the kitchen counter again at night, asking him if he loved us, etc.), but the moment he'd hear the word 'okay', he would run for the bowl, purring with joy.

Then, one day, he stopped eating. I took him to the vet's, where I was told he was diabetic. I got insulin and syringes as well as chicken soup electrolytes to rehydrate him and diabetic cat food. He was supposed to live, and I was ready to prick him twice a day forever (cats don't mind needles as much as humans do). The next day, he threw up. Then, he couldn't even drink anymore, even though he was constantly above the waterbowl, desperately trying to convince himself to drink. We brought him to the emergency pet hospital at the middle of the night. We were told his liver has stopped functioning and that his kidneys were at 10% capacity. In order to keep him alive, he would have needed a long hospital stay and treatments so awful I will not describe them here. Even at that, there was no guarantee he would stay with us. We decided it was time to say good bye while he wasn't suffering that much yet. He left us looking straight into our eyes and visibly enjoying the farewell strokes we wished could go on forever. I am glad he simply fell asleep in our arms, not having had any worries.

If you ever have a cat, make sure it doesn't get fat. If it does, it will have health problems, which will reduce his life expectancy and possibly make him sick (Monsieur Émile's diabetes was triggered by his weight loss--he was off the weight loss program for about a year, looking wholesome and healthy, by the time he left us). If you have a fat cat, as long as its weight is not at a dangerous level, well, better a fat cat than a dead cat. If you have to put it on a weight loss regime, please, do it slowly (we took a year and a half to have him lose five pounds [about 150 grams per month or 5 grams per day], and it seems that was still too fast). If you decide to have your cat go on a diet, please, by all means, get blood analyses done periodically. We weren't told by the vet to do that, and that is why we only learned of his condition when it was too late. Cats can't talk and they can't tell you when something is wrong. If you love your cat, please learn to detect symptoms and do bring them to the vet's often when they are living through changes.

Monsieur Émile will be missed dearly. No words can describe how I feel. I have lost a big chunk of my life. He will be with us forever--I kept asking him to stay with us the whole time he was living with us, and he has always told me he would. We will always love you, Monsieur Émile!

P.S.: Sorry for writing so much. This is my way to cope. We can't bury him as we may not live here forever, so he is coming home in a little wooden box and he will move with us everywhere. He has no final resting place and there will be no ceremony for him (he was not very religious anyway). By writing about him here, in a sense, I am offering him a funeral. Thanks for reading. If you have a pet, hug them and tell them how much they count for you while they are still around.

[Edited at 2009-10-17 16:37 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
colemh
Local time: 00:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Such Friends Never Leave Our Hearts Oct 18, 2009

We had a dog, his name was Bobby and he was part of this family for 19 years. A sweet boy, he was my son’s playmate and friend. It was so hard to put him to sleep. It still hurts to think about that dreadful day.

Monsieur Émile was lucky to have such a nice friend. Your words are proof of the deep love you had for him and how special he was for you. What can be more satisfying?

I hope that in due time, you will find warm memories of that dear friend and that they can replace the sorrow you are feeling today.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 18, 2009

Thank you for your kind words.

You are very lucky that your dog stayed with you for such a long time. That is about how long Monsieur Émile was supposed to stay with us... Four years is just too short for a stay! But every single minute of it was pure bliss.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 02:34
German to English
+ ...
What would Monsieur Émile have wanted? Oct 19, 2009

I'm very sorry to hear about your cat, Viktoria. It's amazing how quickly an animal can become an integral part of the family. My heart goes out to you.

Maybe the best thing to help you move on would be to get a new kitten. I know, no one can bring back Monsieur Émile and he can't simply be "replaced," but why not give all the love in your heart that he would have received to another kitty? I'm sure that's what Monsieur Émile would have wanted.

Take care,

Paul


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We'll cross that bridge when... Oct 19, 2009

Thank you, Paul. In fact, nobody around me understands what a great loss this is for me. I spoke to a vet about it, and she said that my feelings are perfectly normal--and that other people's reaction is normal, too, as they have not lived through this and they did not have the relationship I had with Monsieur Émile. The other thing is that I always knew he would leave too soon either way, but I was not prepared for that just yet. He was a very healthy young cat and I always thought he would die old, especially since I did all I could to make it so (of all the people I have spent money on, he was the most expensive, and I didn't mind it at all). This is very hard, because people show a lot less compassion compared to when a human being dies. In my grief for Monsieur Émile, I am very lonely.
Paul Cohen wrote:

Maybe the best thing to help you move on would be to get a new kitten.

I am only at the stage where I choose to accept or reject what has happened. I am only trying to engrave my memories of him firmly enough in my mind so that I can finally stop needing him to be physically there. I need to finish mourning before I can think of what to do next. There is life after Monsieur Émile, but I am not quite there yet. Simply put, the only cat I want right now is him. When I get to the point where I can let go, I'll see if I feel like getting another cat. What you suggest may be the right thing to do, but I am not ready for it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Sad story Oct 19, 2009

Dear Viktoria,
I was so touched by your story of Monsieur Émile and saddened by his early demise. I know well how one can love such an endearing little creature. The kitten pictures were enchanting. At least you will always have those to remember him and his little family.
Because I have experienced the grief the death of a dear animal can cause, I have resolved never to keep another one.
Thank you for writing to me about your sorrow. I'm flattered.
With best wishes and love,
Jenny.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Jenny Oct 19, 2009

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Thank you for writing to me about your sorrow. I'm flattered.

And I am flattered you took a moment to read this. It really helps to get a note from people who have lived through this, or who at least are sensitive enough to have an idea of how intense this is.

I can't give you anything else to thank you for your compassion, so here is what I came up with:



I swear we didn't roll that tablecloth around him! It was him snuggling up like that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:34
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Lost pets Oct 19, 2009

I think you're right, Viktoria, that these little office helpers are perhaps a greater part of our lives because they share so much of them. I had no idea that a cat's weight loss could trigger diabetes, and had I known I would have resisted attempts to restrict my former cat's diet quite vigorously.

I hope you'll find another companion of his caliber, who can give you a similar joy. There are no replacements in this world; I still grieve for the dog I lost three years ago who was my constant companion for over thirteen years, though in many objective respects the three I have now are "better". But like people, each pet is unique and talk of relative value is an insult to that uniqueness and the creative principle behind it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:34
English to Spanish
Oh dear... Oct 19, 2009

Viktoria, I am SO sorry to hear about Monsieur Émile's untimely demise... what else can I say?

A big hug to you.

Andrea


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Relative value Oct 19, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

But like people, each pet is unique and talk of relative value is an insult to that uniqueness and the creative principle behind it.

This is what the people around me have trouble understanding, and that's why it is so much harder to mourn a pet than to mourn a person. None of the people around me are pets people, and nobody in my family ever had a pet. I had to ask them to only talk about Monsieur Émile as a person or not talk about him at all. They are not talking at all...

My husband is the only one who understands, but we grieve separately as he didn't have the same relationship that I had with Monsieur Émile. So, he takes it differently--he misses the play time, but we calculated that he spent about five times less time with him than I did. Nonetheless, he also cried a few times... Also, I am at home, so I am in the usual environment in which I spent time with Monsieur Émile, whereas my husband goes to work each morning. That makes a huge difference!

Thank you, Kevin. Thanks also to Andrea.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:34
Member
English to Turkish
Goodbye, Monsieur Émile Oct 19, 2009

I am so sorry to hear this, Viktoria. I hope you will feel better soon. There's no such thing as not healing, in fact, if you are telling this to us, yours is already in progress. Bury him in the garden where he used to cuddle with mom and play with his siblings. Allow him to be part of the Life again.


My cat Rudi got terribly sick four years ago. He was opening his mouth, but couldn't make any sounds -he's an extremely talkative fellow, purrs, meows, makes all the cat sounds all the time- his fever wouldn't go down, and he had persistent diarrhea. The vet diagnosed him with FIV, the equivalent of HIV in us humans (by the way, we were in the countryside back then and Rudi, being always stupidly intrepid -he's an Aries- had gotten badly bitten many times). So, the vet suggested to put him to sleep right there, even suggested that I call home and explain this to my daughter on the phone (The vet deserved a sensitivity medal indeed!). Anyway, I didn't let her put him to sleep. We continued with his care, which was supposed to be only palliative, and decided to make him as comfortable as possible, without putting him to sleep unless or before he suffered really miserably. This ordeal lasted about a month, then he suddenly recovered. And this was four years ago. It turns out that the test result was false and Rudi, now 7, is still alive and kicking (to the point of getting to my nerves sometimes). I remember how I felt that day, crying in the street all the way home, with the cat box tightly held against my chest, like a deranged woman. But at that time, even though I believed he would die, focusing on his care made me forget the sorrow. Caring for another being is the best way to healing. So, consider getting another kitty. There are many poor ones in shelters waiting for a home. Paul is right, Monsieur Émile would have wanted this, too.

Take care, Viktoria!

Özden






[Edited at 2009-10-19 22:44 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Özden, you are so lucky! Oct 19, 2009

I know what you mean when you talk about holding the cage real tight. In my case, wild horses couldn't have dragged it away. Yet, I brought home an empty cage less than a week ago. And now, I don't know what to do with it!

You are really lucky to have the joy of your cat staying with you after being told to put it down. In my case, there was no doubt, however. He had organs that stopped working, and they could not confirm whether there were any necroses. They would have needed further tests done, which cost a lot and which are painful for the cat. The vet offered to save him for thousands of dollars, which I would have gladly invested, but she also told me there was absolutely no guarantee and the treatment would go on forever, torturing my cat and possibly making him sick for life. By the time we got to the vet's, he was going blind...

I'm too busy trying to let him go to be able to care for another cat right now. I will see later. What I am afraid of is to never find someone like him. He was perfectly balanced: he was a big baby but he was also very independent. He was very playful, but smart enough to know not to break things I cared about. He was a very talkative cat, too, and we would have conversations with him. Sometimes, he would call us from downstairs--he knew we could hear him and he knew we understood what he meant. And we could teach him tricks the same way people teach dogs tricks. He would even play pretend for us! To top it off, he was amazingly good looking. My vet kept telling me he was a perfect specimen. I wouldn't want my next cat to be exactly like him (that would be unfair), but how do you want to find a cat that has so many good qualities?

Thanks for caring, Özden!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:34
French to English
+ ...
Cat heaven Oct 20, 2009

My heart goes out to you, Viktoria...and I know all too well how you feel....My pets have always been full-fledged family members (ok, save for household chores!) and anyone who thinks I'm nuts has never bothered to notice animal intelligence, sensitivity, loyalty and emotions..

10 years from now and more, you'll still talk about M. Emile, as I do about my 4-paws that have gone. That's part of the deal, and up there in Cat Heaven, he'll talk back. You did all you could for him, so please don't have any regrets, ok?

Your M. Emile looks very much like my cat, Astro(Turf)Physics (this is my website's error 404 page, when he was 9 months old...http://tinyurl.com/yhqct6t, see what I mean??). Astro has recently been diagnosed as diabetic too, but is still running our lives and not suffering. He was not supposed to survive age 4, he decided "to heck with that" and between attitude and surgery, he's now 14.5. Cats decide when to go and when to stay, it seems to me. I'll let him live out his time without further intervention, he'll be clear when it is time to go. As my assistant, he is in charge of un-filing and of monitoring printer paper jams

Be gentle with yourself, V, please. And when you feel up to it, as others have suggested, open your heart and home to another feline...there are so many sitting in squalid conditions that deserve a better life and future

Take good care,

Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:34
French to English
+ ...
Monsieur Émile Oct 20, 2009

How beautiful he looks!
Condolences Viktoria,

Rachel


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I just found out that my darling cat was suffering Oct 20, 2009

I did a bit of research on my cat's condition before he was put to sleep. I now have names for the guilty: diabetes mellitus, which caused hepatic lipidosis, which in turn caused diabetic ketoacidosis. The last of the three diseases, which basically build upon each other, comes with painful symptoms: headache (brain swelling), abdominal pain, etc.

I am not trying to beat myself up, and I am really glad we did not wait to put him to sleep. We saved him from suffering terribly, although he was already suffering. I just somehow wanted to know how he must have been feeling those few last days, to somehow at least show him some compassion.

Rachel, I heartily welcome your short comment: Monsieur Émile was indeed a beautiful cat. Funnily enough, when we first adopted him, the only thing we found physically pleasing was his frown marks (the M on his forehead and the mascara on his eyes). We did not adopt him because of his beauty--it was not apparent yet. The only visual we paid attention to was his symmetry. Usually, the more symmetrical an animal is, the more healthy and rugged it is. It is only as he grew that we noticed just how beautiful everything was about him. He had a beautiful face and a nice, athletic, muscular body. His pelt had beautiful contrasting striping--common domestic cats usually have lines that break up, but his were whole, going from the middle of his back all the way to his tummy. One of his nicknames was mini tiger. His hair was very soft and silky and it had a beautiful sheen in direct sunlight (his daddy was orange, so maybe he got that from him). His paws were perfectly round, with well proportioned toes. He was also fairly large, his health weight being 14 pounds, while domestic cats usually weigh about 11 pounds. He was just an all around beautiful cat, and we kept saying how lucky we were to have chosen him, not even knowing how beautiful he would turn out to be.

Your mentioning this really makes me feel good!

Patricia, thank you so much for your compassion! I am trying to go easy on myself, and it is very hard. I know I am not guilty of anything, and I know Monsieur Émile was not holding me at fault either. As for another cat, I am thinking that, provided I am eventually up for it, I will try to get not one but two abyssinians. Then, they could keep each other company when we are away (abyssinians need to be around people and animals), we would be able to see if one is sick by comparing to the other, and in case one of them has a problem, the other would help pull it in the right direction. Check out what abyssinians are like--they are very well balanced, smart cats.

If possible at all, I will try to adopt brothers that someone needs to get rid of. The thing is, I want to raise my cats myself, so I need to get them really young. I don't want a male cat that was neutered too young, as that hinders the development of their character, and I want my cat's personality to shine through. I also don't want my cats to be completely declawed. These requirements make it hard to find the cats I would like to have. Ideally, I would adopt nearly newborn cats that were abandoned by their mother (when the mother is too skinny and can feel that it will not be able to care for the kittens, it usually abandons the kittens, who may still be perfectly healthy--this is what I was trying to help Monsieur Émile's mother with back then, and I just might have saved them, which is very comforting).

By the way, talking to you all really helps me. Seriously. This is a great way to integrate my loss. You guys are the best!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Fernanda Rocha[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Farewell, Monsieur Émile!

Advanced search






TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search