Though I grew up with animals - both cats and dogs - Suki was my first pet as an adult I adopted and cared for all on my own. She came into my life in fall 2003 a few short weeks after her August 2003 birth in northern Colorado.

I still remember the day I brought her home. My friend Keith drove me to pick her up after finding her through a LiveJournal pet community (when LJ was still a thing!). She laid on my chest, both front legs stretched out and holding onto my chest as she nuzzled and cried. We were inseparable from that moment forward.

She was my rock through cross country moves, partners, jobs and loss. She loved to lick plastic grocery store bags and preferred milk container rings to actual cat toys. She loved when humans talked to her and would respond as if she understood every word they said. I've had people carry on full conversations with her amazed that she loved hearing human voices so much she would jump into their lap and stare up and meow in response to every question or statement.

She's also the reason I'm with my husband.

She had a great instinct for people's intentions and personalities and would let me know right away when someone came over if she liked them or not. When I met my husband she walked up, sat in his lap and went to sleep the first time he came over. She rarely ever did this with anyone upon meeting them for the first time.

It was when she napped with him on the couch a few weeks later - something she'd literally never done with anyone other than me in her entire life - that I knew he was the one. Suki approved of him, and that was saying something.

She was fearless too. She never let anyone - human, cat, dog or otherwise - intimidate her. In the times we traveled with her she would establish her dominance in any household within a day of arriving - and that included visiting my sister with her house full of large dogs. They all bowed down to her almost instantaneously. She was just that cool.

Her best dog friend in the world was a boxer named Tobey. She loved him from the moment she met him and would sleep next to him every day. When he passed she was at a loss. If it wasn't for our Boston Terrier (Bruno) I'm not sure how she would have made it through it.

Poor Bruno.

We adopted him when Suki was 6 going on 7. She couldn't believe we'd have the audacity to adopt a dog at first, but she soon grew to love him as if he was her own son. She raised him to be a good cat complete with cleaning himself, showing affection through the weaving-through-the-legs thing cats do, sitting in windows basking in the sun with her and more. She loved that dog more than any cat has ever loved a dog.

The four of us lived together for years. We briefly lived with my husband's mother when we moved back to the east coast and that's when Suki met her best boxer friend.

That's all back story as to why Suki wasn't just a cat...she was a force of nature. 

In March 2015 she began wheezing and coughing like she had a hairball that just wouldn't come up. After a trip to the vet we discovered she'd developed feline asthma. Though serious, the condition is typically controllable (though not curable) through a host of treatments. They put her on an oral steroid and albuterol for when she had asthma attacks.

And so for the next year we'd chase her around the house with an albuterol inhaler (and the wacky cat attachment) each time she had an attack. She hated it, but always appreciated it afterward.

Fast forward to the past three to four weeks. Allergy season is terrible here this year in Boston. The pollen has been so thick we literally had to go to the car wash to hose it off. Suffice to say this inflamed her asthma making her have attacks not just once a day but several times a day each day.

We managed these as my husband works from home and overnight she slept in bed with us so we'd hear if she had an attack while we slept.

On Sunday over Memorial Day weekend we were dog sitting (as it's a side business we do through Rover and DogVacay for spare cash...plus we love dogs). One of our regulars was with us that weekend - a small Brussels Griffon named Cozmo. He was both constipated and had a poor appetite most of the weekend but that wasn't unusual since a lot of dogs experience that when they're away from their families.

His appetite loss and constipation weren't normal though as we'd find out on Sunday. After playing and being his normal, loving self all weekend he became lethargic, then yipped in pain occasionally - especially when we touched his sides. We contacted his family and ended up deciding to take him to Angel Memorial Animal hospital.

On the way there he became unresponsive.

As it turned out, he had an undiagnosed stomach tumor (cancer) and it ruptured that morning basically destroying both his stomach and small intestines. His owner was driving back from Maine as he was on the operating table but ultimately we saw him off into the afterlife. She couldn't have the last time she saw him be him in the state he was in so we took care of al the red tape for her and ended up getting home after 1am exhausted.

I remember posting something to Facebook about cherishing your furry family because you never know when you'll lose them. Cozmo was only six years old - the same age as our Boston Terrier Bruno.

We went to bed that night - the four of us as usual - after a lot of petting and loving since we' d just gone through hell.

Some time over night Suki had an asthma attack. We aren't quite sure when it started, but we do know we were so tired from being up and dealing with Cozmo that neither of us heard the coughing/wheezing she always does when it happens.

What we did hear was her knocking everything she could off our nightstands to wake us up as she gasped for air. By the time she was able to wake us up her asthma attack had become so serious we immediately called the vet (at 7am) to see what to do. We tried giving her albuterol but it did nothing to open up her constricted passageways.

I wrapped her in a towel and we rushed once more to the same hospital we'd just left a few hours earlier. As we drove there her breathing became more and more labored. I took to helping push the air in and our of her lungs trying to keep her alive. I could still see the fight in her eyes even as we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital.

As we stood at registration trying to get someone to stop asking us informational questions and to take her for help, the one paw that'd been stretched up onto my chest holding onto me (much as it had been when we first met) released and her head went limp. She'd let go in my arms looking up at me. She seemed peaceful for the first time since the whole attack began.

They spent the next 10-15 minutes trying to resuscitate her, but her old, fat cat body just couldn't come back from the exhaustion of the extended attack. She passed away on Monday morning and left us sobbing inconsolably in an examination room.

All I could think of was my baby is gone. I said it in fact, repeatedly. My baby is gone.

We're all trying to cope with the loss, but losing the constant companion and rock that'd been by my side for almost 13 years is the hardest thing I've ever done.
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Tim, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know there are no words to console you right now. We all grieve with you. Suki was very beautiful. Thank you for sharing her pictures. You had/have a very unique bond with her as I had with my Benny for over 12 years.

I believe they are still with us in spirit and will visit us to keep that bond alive until we can be reunited with them. It's so unfair that their time on this earth is so short. So much is out of our hands sometimes as was the case with your Suki.

You did all you could to care for her during her life and she in return gave all her love back by giving you all the wonderful experiences you shared together. She knew how much you loved her even until the end. We all tried doing our best for our fur babies.

Benny is the first pet of my own that I've ever lost. Making the decision to euthanize him was the hardest thing I've ever had to decide. I knew the cancer was winning and couldn't let him keep declining and feeling sick so I had to free him.

It's been six days for me and the tears, sadness and guilt are overwhelming. I still have my other dog to take care of and in a very small way I think it's helping me grieve as it's just the two of us now in our house.

I'm glad you have Bruno to help you right now. Be gentle and kind with yourself and don't let anyone rush your grieving. Come back to this place as much as you can. I come and read other's stories and it helps me feel that I am not alone in feeling what I feel. Everyone here has been so supportive and kind to me. We all need to help one another as we grieve the loss of our little ones. Sending warm wishes of healing and comfort to you and your family. Steve

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First, Suki sounds like one amazing cat! What a wonderful relationship (bond) you shared together!
I think it was so wonderful the way you took my care of Cozmo for his family and I know it would have been emotionally and physically exhausting losing any pet. Then for Suki to have her attack that same night! I have to say I found it difficult to hear that the people at the vets clinic wouldn't just rush her in and attend to her. To have her pass in your arms - so close to help - is just heartbreaking! It's so hard to find any positives at times like this but I'm thinking that she was right where she have wanted to be - in your arms. I am so sorry for your loss!!
Wishing you peace,
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dear sukis mum/dad - i am so so sorry about the loss of your beautiful little suki. she really is adorable. i also feel your pain. one month ago holding my kitty in arms as he took his last breath will have to be one of the most horrible days of my life.  (eventhough people say its a loving thing to do for your animal). im so sorry- we are all really lost without our beautiful little pets. ive been crying for the last month- i have been told that it does get easier with time to cope - and i hope so. sending bug hugs. elle xx
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Thank you for sharing Suki's story. It made me cry.... I'm so sorry for your loss.... What a remarkable cat! She was such a blessing. It just reminds me of how wonderful each individual animal is.... I miss my BooBoo so much.... Please come here for support. It's very helpful...

I love the pic of her with her doggy companion.

Prayers to you and Suki.

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