Juno’s Last Road Trip
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Yesterday morning, December 13th about 9:30am, our cat Juno passed away peacefully. Even though we knew it was getting close and we were preparing for it, it’s never easy to loose a beloved companion like a cat.
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience for her last few hours. Around 5:30am, while we were fast asleep, we both woke up to her clawing her way onto the bed since she wasn’t able to jump up anymore. Joe helped her finish the climb and she moved as quick as she could to stand on my chest and look straight at my face with her big green eyes. That’s when I knew we were coming to the end. That face, that look - she made it very clear telling me she was ready.
I gently stroked her face as she turned, motioning me to join her at the end of the bed. I grabbed a throw blanket she liked and fluffed it into a comfy spot for her. She arranged herself but also making sure I was coming to cuddle too. Even though her and I were very connected she was never a big cuddle bug. I grabbed my pillows to lay by her, curling myself up the best I could to stay close and not be in too much pain myself. When I was settled, she nuzzled in closer to my body so I put my arm around her other side to make her feel safe and loved. She gently rested her head in my hand. We laid there together for about 2 hours. I whispered soft comforting words as her breath slowed. I though for sure this was the time but she hung on.
Around 7:30am she got up to eat something. She watched me as I walked around the bed to help her down. At this point she had not drank any water from her dish for over 24 hours. The only liquid she was getting was from the extra water I put in her wet food. She licked a little food and then tried to go to her litter box. She had also be struggling with hard constipation. I usually had to assist her these last few days. This time she whimpered and would not let me help. This is when I knew we needed to take her to the vet and help her one last time. I woke Joe up and he jumped into action like a soon-to-be-father taking his pregnant wife to the hospital to have their baby. Joe was level and cool headed getting us where we needed to be which helped me focus on making sure Juno was as comfortable as possible.
I am so grateful we have been staying at my father-in-law’s house for my surgery recovery. I feel like having this space and stability (a non-moving home) made Juno’s last few months more comfortable for her as I have been more comfortable too. We had already established and taken her to a veterinarian office in the area. As travelers, knowing where a good vet is can be a challenge. This was one less thing we had to think about in that moment, we could just focus on her instead of scrambling to find the right place. Her last ride in the van, she still knew she was home. She tried one more time to go to the bathroom. She got off my lap, stumbled to the back where her litter box usually is. We didn’t have it there so she looked at the bed but knew she could not jump up. So she did the best she could on the floor while I steadied her as Joe drove.
We arrived at the walk-in vet, right when they opened at 8am. There was a line of people waiting with their little puppies and kittens to get spayed or neutered. I stayed in the van with Juno wrapped up in the blanket on my lap while Joe went in. When it was Joe’s turn to sign in, they said they did not have enough staff to do what we needed. They sent us to their other location about 5 minutes down the road. We checked in there and I’m so glad they had us take care of the payment upfront so we didn’t have to think about anything after we were done. The few times Juno heard a loud noise in the waiting room, she looked up at me and nestled in closer to my right shoulder, her favorite spot. She normally is not bothered by loud noises.
Looking back, I’m actually glad all this happened the way it did. The room they put us in at the new office was so peaceful and perfect. The doctor came in and talked to us a little bit to get to know us as he gave her the first sedation shot. I continued to hold her in my arms as her breath slowed even more and she relaxed. The doctor was sweet and thought it was so cool Juno traveled with us. He said, “Most humans don’t even see or do half the things she’s done! She has had an amazing life.” I am so glad we provided that for her as she provided us with an irreplaceable travel companion. The doctor even agreed it would be almost impossible for us to find another one like her. I ended up holding her close to me wrapped in the blanket for 2 hours, the total time from when we left the house to the time I laid her on the table in the office.
It was time to put her on the table for the final shot. The doctor helped me gently lay her down and get her comfortable. As I stroked her head, he realized how thin she was and got a smaller needle. He attempted to find a vein in her legs trying 3 different spots because her veins were so small and collapsing. As he said beautiful words to help Juno cross over and I stroked her head and gave her kisses, a bright ray of sunshine broke through the clouds outside, beaming through the stained glass window and directly across her face. She drifted away with her final breath. Absolutely perfect!
Even though I’m crying tears of grief, I am also crying tears of relief that she is peaceful now and tears of joy at all the great moments we’ve had with her. This morning I even had to snap myself out of my routine to check on her by her food dish before I did anything else. She was the best cat we’ve ever had and this was truly a beautiful end to an extraordinary little life.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us through this process. Juno certainly had her own fans! I will still be sharing photos and videos of her on our TV show and social posts because we have so many that we have never posted. Seeing these will help me celebrate her life and share the great times we had traveling together. Maybe we can also inspire and teach other cats and cat parents to travel as well.