In 2014, we experienced a few losses. First, our foster child returned to their birth family early in 2014. Kyra's grandmother died this fall. And just two weeks ago today, our cat Mars died.

Mars had a troubled life. We first heard about him from Kyra's uncle, who found him under his porch. He is allergic to cats, so he couldn't take care of him. It appeared that he was abandoned and attempted to find shelter near something familiar to him - a house.

We took Mars to our new condo, where we hadn't moved in yet. He had a few diseases that needed to be cleared up, so we had a few vet visits and expensive meds to give him. All of it cleared up except one problem: his skin kept scabbing and scraping off.

We eventually figured out that he had a skin disease that made his skin extremely sensitive. We thought he had some skin infection, but it turned out he was simply scraping his skin off with this rear claws. We rear de-clawed him and that solved the issue. For a time.

A few years later, we decided to adopt a kitten, Oberon. The two cats did not really get along. We had to keep them separated for a while, and when we finally let them live together, they kept fighting.

One day, we all were sitting on the couch, and I said, "Everyone is here except Mars. Come here Mars!" When he jumped up on the couch, we all saw a huge gash on his side, about the size of a folded-in-half dollar bill. It was horrifying. We rushed him to the vet, had stitches, months of healing, and we gave Oberon to Kyra's sister and her family. (Here is the full story.)

So we decided we had to be a 1 pet household while Mars was with us. He healed up, after a long time and many issues, but was functioning just fine. We moved in to our new house, and aside from the normal cat issues in a new place (i.e., peeing all over the place), he adjusted just fine.

A year went by with few issues. Then we started to have problems. He somehow got a new gash, followed by another, and another and another. This year it feels like he's been isolated in our basement bathroom so he can heal for about a third of the year. And that's while wearing a protective hood, which he had to wear every time or he would make it worse by licking/biting the wound.

I was going crazy trying to figure out what was happening to him. I looked everywhere, multiple times, trying to find anything sharp he might be catching on. The recliner was rather new, and I caught him sitting under it twice, so I thought maybe that was it. I put a spiky mat down underneath to keep him from laying there, and he stopped, but the scratches didn't. So that wasn't it.

Eventually I found a pin that had come loose on a curtain. The curtain was too long, and we don't have a sewing machine, so I pinned it up. I thought that was it. But he again got another nasty scratch. Eventually we determined he was just doing it to himself.

The last event occurred a few weeks ago. He was healing from a wound, and it was a big one, but was healing well, with no visits to the vet. (I was proud of my nursing skills.) It was about the size of a dime. I took his protective hood off and went to eat dinner. After dinner we went to visit our neighbors, and I forgot to put the hood back on. I came back and immediately realized I had forgotten. I rushed downstairs fearing the worst.

I found Mars, not with the healing wound ripped open again, but a brand new wound on the other side of his body. It was the second biggest wound he had since the first horrifying wound. He was shaking from the pain. It was then we decided we couldn't do this any longer. He was doing it to himself, and it was only going to get worse.

The next day, I called the vet and scheduled the euthanasia appointment. It was a very sad day. Coupled with some family drama and a dentist appointment later that day, it was one of the worst days of 2014 for me and probably Kyra, too.

Mars was a good cat. A little dumb, but a good cat. He liked to snuggle and sleep in the sunlight. He was playful and friendly. He had too much hair, too much skin (it hung under his belly as if he had lost a bunch of weight), and too much dander. But he was our cat, and part of our family.

Mars, we miss you. Thank you for the time you spent with us.

I would like to thank Dr. Kay (rhymes with "sky") at the Companion Animal Hospital for her patience and kindness through all our troubles with Mars.


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