Written by: Mandi Browning

Mabel is my 15 year old tabby cat. She came to me at 8 months old after being in a pet store that was shut down for neglect. Mabel was very sick and a bit mean. She only weighed a pound and fit in the palm of my hand, but acted as if she weighed 20 pounds. Mabel had ear mites, an eye infection and a respiratory infection.

She had a hard time getting accustomed to living with Goku, our other cat, but eventually learned to love him and her new home. When Goku was around 19 years old, Mabel let us know that something was wrong. She became overprotective of him and even hissed at us when we went near him.

Shortly after, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He passed a few months later with the help of Caring Pathways and with Mabel curled up nearby.

Now at 15 years old, Mabel has been without her brother for two years. She does well but seemed to be losing weight. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with early stage kidney disease.

Here I am, my other baby with a terminal diagnosis. This time I felt more prepared to provide care. I know I can call Caring Pathways anytime for a consult or when it gets to the point of doing hospice care.

I have decided to record her journey of illness and our journey as caregivers in the hope of helping others who go through palliative care with their animal companions.

If you have a pet in a similar situation to Mabel please visit our In-Home Pet Hospice Care page.

About the Author

Mandi Browning is the Grief Support Specialist at Caring Pathways. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in thanatology (death, dying and bereavement). Her heart is to help and guide you through this end of life journey of grief with your precious companion.

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