Texas: Losing a member of our RV family

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When we set out on our full-time journey in April 2019, there were four of us in the RV: two humans and two cats. Willow, our ginger tabby, was 17. Cleo, our Bombay mix, was 14.5.

A recent photo of both Willow and Cleo.

When we came back to the Phoenix area in November 2019, our veterinarian told us that Willow was in the very early stages of chronic renal failure. There’s no telling how long Willow would have, but until we left for Texas in March 2020, we were fairly close to the vet.

COVID and Willow

Once we moved to Texas and COVID hit, we worried about our options with Willow. It turns out that we had a bit more time with Willow than we expected. A checkup in late June revealed that her chronic renal failure had progressed, but she could have at least another 3-6 months. We tried some K/D (prescription renal food) from Science Diet, but Willow was having none of that. She ate normal 11+ adult cat food until the end, as well as her beloved cat treats. We’ll be donating her prescription food to the nearest shelter, and have verified they will accept it.

Unfortunately, Willow was not around to see the new year. It became apparent on Christmas Eve that she was not eating, but we were not quite ready to let go. She deteriorated really fast overnight, and on Christmas Day it was time to let her go. Due to COVID, only one of us could go with her, and Bob volunteered. He said he was glad it was not me, as the small animal hospital was not a good experience. The hospital itself was fine, it’s just that the personnel and procedures left Bob distressed and he felt it would have been soul destroying for me. It was hard for me not to be there, as I’ve been there for our previous cats. Our Amarillo vet was not open on Christmas Day, so the small animal hospital was our only option.

I could say a lot more, but photos speak louder than words with Willow. She made it to the ripe old age of 18.5, which is a long time for a cat.

Recent photos of Willow

Willow loved to sleep between my legs. Normally, she’d prefer to be burrowed under a fleece blanket, but every once in a while, she’d do without the blanket.
This is the pet heating pad we bought for Willow. This is one of the two times we actually saw her on the pad.
And here’s the other time we saw her on the pet heating pad.
Cleo has no sense of or respect for Willow’s boundaries. Willow was all zonked out, and Cleo just plonked herself in the very little space left in front of the window.
And here’s Willow in the patented cat circle with tail wrap.

The featured image shown at the top of the post was one of Willow’s favorite spots besides the bed. She loved my recliner chair memory foam cushion, and often would sleep at night in the chair. Presumably, the chair was safer than sleeping on the bed during the night. I often felt like we had shifts on the bed and chairs. We got the bed at night, they got the bed during the day. They got our chairs at night, we got them during the day.

It was rough to lose Willow, and on a holiday no less, but we feel grateful for the time we had with Willow. She definitely had a unique personality.

5 Replies to “Texas: Losing a member of our RV family”

  1. Jo - Jowanna – Retired early to travel the US and Canada while living in our RV. We travel with our faithful cat, Black Lightening. We strive to explore all the places we dreamed about when we were working.
    Jo - Jowanna says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Renal failure is a hard way to go. I am glad you got that extra time with her and that she fought with dignity to the end. My cat would not eat that special food either. Hugs to you and your husband.

    1. Thank you. We appreciated all the extra time we got with her. While we’ve thought about getting another cat, our remaining cat is an anxious/clingy kind of cat who doesn’t like sharing her humans. She is still looking for Willow, but we don’t think she handle having other cats very well, and we can’t really do the “introduce slowly” method.

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