A tribute to dearest Cleo (19th Feb 2007 – 23rd Oct 2023)

Cleo was one of our Super Seniors.

She had a clean bill of health all her life until she was diagnosed with early-stage chronic kidney failure (CKD) in September 2019, together with her mother, Pole. Cleo was 12 years old then. From then on, she was merely on thrice-weekly subcut and a raw diet. I would like to believe that the raw diet sustained her well for slightly more than 4 years before her kidneys took the inevitable downward dip. During the 4 years, she was as normal and healthy as any other cat and lived life to the fullest despite the CKD.

When the downturn happened, Cleo was also diagnosed with early heart disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and lastly, lymphoma in the kidneys. This was a triple jeopardy which was indeed very hard to battle.

I am thankful that there was no prolonged suffering for Cleo. Her downturn came about a month before her demise, and during this time, she was still eating and exhibiting normal behaviour. The final blow was when she vomited blood and was thus hospitalised for 3 days. I visited twice daily and spent time with her. She was still able to eat occasionally. I asked to bring her home after 3 days as the treatment was no longer working and it didn’t make sense to keep her on the IV-drip anymore.

She came home to familiar surroundings, to be with her family again. The first thing she did was to lie in the sunshine. She was still quite normal except that she did not want to eat anymore. It was on the next day, in the morning, where her hind legs became wobbly and she just wanted to lie down. She still preferred to be in the sun, to lie on the soil and grass and earth herself.

Cleo passed away at 6.23pm that evening, surrounded by my husband and me, and all her cat family members. It was the most peaceful and serene passing I had ever witnessed all my life. There was no struggle, no seizures, no heaving at all. Her breath slowed down and stopped. Such a blessed passing.

I am grateful she did not have to endure any prolonged suffering.

Cleo will be dearly missed. This is my photo tribute to her. She spent 16 years 8 months and 4 days, enriching our lives with her unconditional love.

Cleo was born on 19th February 2007 in Ming-Yi’s wardrobe in our old house.

Baby Cleo

Cleo with her brother, Wolf.

Cleo with her other brother, Pans.

Cleo and Wolf, around 5 months old.

Cleo with Bunny

The above two photos are particularly memorable. I had stupidly taken Cleo to the vet’s without a carrier, thinking I could carry her in. Cleo, out of fright, jumped off from my arms and went missing for many hours. We launched a search together with the vet assistants. A friend who had some reiki abilities also came to help. But we could not find Cleo. It was only when my husband came back from work and he came to help search that we found Cleo. She had been hiding in a wooden crate just next to the clinic.

I would never have forgiven myself for my utter stupidity if we had lost Cleo that day. Cleo was 2 years old that time and I took her to the vet’s because of her balding issue. If you had been a blog follower since then, you might remember her balding issue, on both sides of her flanks. I took her to many vets, but nothing solved the problem until she finally grew out of it, after 12 years! The problem just resolved by itself.

This was the first day we moved to our present house. Cleo was 5 years old.

Cleo was a CNRM cat in our old neighbourhood. All our cats were. But once we moved to this new neighbourhood, we built the back catio for them (Bunny’s Place) because I was worried they might try to escape and find their way back to our old neighbourhood. So from carefree CNRM cats, they all adjusted to living indoors with the back garden.

Cleo at 6 years old. Keeping me company at the computer.

Cleo at 7 years old.

You can see the balding of the entire buttocks in this photo. Bald, but still beautiful!

At different times of the year, the balding would be of a different size but it was always from the flanks to the back. We didn’t mind it at all. Cleo also didn’t mind it. In fact, it became her fashion statement and Tabs somehow found a way to “follow” the fashion and Tabs also started balding!

A family photo.

Cleo at 9 years old, she was quite the disciplinarian! Everyone was afraid of her.

Fierce, right?

But completely harmless and such a dear little thing!

Cleo at 10 years old.

Cleo at 11 years old.

As aloof as she appears to be, she is actually a very super manja cat.

Sweet, sweet Cleo at 14 years old.

Even after reaching her geriatric years, Cleo always maintained her “baby face”.

We have movie stars avatar for most of our cats. Cleo’s was the legendary Elizabeth Taylor in her role as the ever-resplendent Cleopatra.

Cleo looks so royal in this photo, doesn’t she?

As royal or queenly as she was, Cleo was afraid of thunder. Here, she huddles up with Tiger behind the door during a thunderstorm.

Look at that face!

I have tons and tons of photos of Cleo, all memorialised on this blog, with their respective day-to-day stories. All a treasure trove of love.

Every memory is special, unique and irreplaceable. Every memory will always be deeply treasured.

This is the beautiful GIF done by Cleo’s vet, from a video taken when Cleo was hospitalised a few days before her demise.

Cleo was always so special because she clearly had a mind of her own, and a very strong one at that too. She was always suspicious of everyone, even us! And she would only eat the food that had been first eaten by someone else, preferably the ones she trusts the most, Cow Mau. So instead of eating fresh food, she preferred to eat leftovers by someone else (I joked that it’s to ensure there was no poison!).

Cleo was also very perceptive of humans. If anyone visited and Cleo ran off to the furthest place she could, it means that person isn’t a cat-friendly person. Our Cleo-barometer was super accurate too!

Cleo was our cat with what I call the “golden mouth” because I could never pill her! She disliked anyone opening her mouth. So when I had to feed her medicine, you can imagine what a world war that was! In the last one year plus, I had to feed her Renal-N and Amlodipine (for border-line high blood pressure). Luckily I could crush the small bit of Amlodipine, mix it with the Renal-N powder, add some pasty tasty food and rub it on her mouth. She accepted that, but don’t ANYONE try to open her mouth! That was taboo. There’s gold inside her mouth!

I could go on and on about Cleo and her antics. After all, it’s been 16 years and 8 months that she was a part of my life. Our pets bring us so, so much joy and beautiful memories, don’t they? But eventually, age catches up and the reality of mortality sets in. Then as they age, we have to prepare to outlive them and eventually mourn their passing. It’s all part and parcel of being a pet parent. As painful as each death is, you’d rather outlive them so that you can see them through their lives and take the best care of them when they need it.

The plain truth is that everyone is born to die. No one escapes aging, sickness and death. But while we are here, we try our best to bring joy and happiness to others and if we can do that, our life would have been well-lived. All our pets fulfil this because they bring us so much joy, happiness and unconditional love, with no expectations of anything in return. This is genuine true love that they give us.

Cleo’s life was certainly well-lived.

Be free and be happy now, Cleo!

From stardust to stardust until the next Big Bang!