On January 1st, my 17 and a half year old cat Sam came in to our bedroom and screamed for his breakfast like usual. I went to get it and when I came back my husband mentioned that he was having trouble breathing. I set down his dish and listened to him taking very deep breaths. I found a very large lump on his right side that wasn't there the day before. Our regular vet was closed, and I wasn't optomistic. I did not want to take him to a stranger that didn't care to have them tell me what I knew I was going to be told. I kept him near me all day, and took him to our regular vet in the morning. He would only eat if hand fed, and he took the food very gently from me. Normally if I held food out to him he'd practically take my finger off to get it. He wouldn't purr, and this was a cat that would purr if you just looked at him and said his name. He didn't want to do anything except lay on his side. If he got up and walked at all, his breathing became so labored he was gasping for breath with his mouth open. When I left my house with him yesterday morning, in my heart I knew I wouldn't be bringing him home. The vet offered to take a chest xray, but told me that he strongly felt it was cancer. I could tell he wasn't comfortable, because he kept shifting his body and gasping for air. I decided rather than put him through extensive tests and procedures and have the same end result, that I would help put him to rest. I stayed with him to give him comfort in his final moments, but at that point he was so unresponsive to me I'm not sure he even knew I was there. I question my own decision now to end his life without further testing. I just keep thinking "what if it wasn't cancer? what if I was wrong?". I know I can't change it now and I have to come to terms with my choice. I think it was the right thing. At least I hope it was. I'm just in so much pain right now. My heart very literally aches. I've lost pets before, but it never hurt like this. Sam had been with me longer than any of them, and he's the only one I've ever had to euthanize. There isn't a single room in my house that doesn't remind me of him in one way or another. There are doors I can leave open now that I used to have to leave shut, rugs and dog beds I can leave on the floor, items I can relocate that I used to have to keep out of his reach.. Today I will clean. He shed a lot, and his hair is everywhere. I had to pull the pillowcase off the bed last night because that's where he slept and it was covered with his fur. I keep walking around my house and bursting in to tears when I don't see him in his usual spots. I have other pets, and they can tell I'm suffering. I don't think they've really noticed he's gone yet. Sam was a pretty solitary cat and didn't hang around with the other animals much, he was a total mama's boy. Our other cat used to come up and try to bully him when he would just be lounging around, and when Sam got sick of it he'd turn around and teach the other cat a lesson. The dogs adored him. They knew he was to be given special treatment because he was an "old man". He wasn't for chasing. They were allowed to sniff but that was it. Our pup used to light up when he walked in the room. I've seen them look in one or two of his normal spots, but they seem more concerned about me than anything else. My husband is being as supportive as he can, but I know he feels awkward and isn't sure what to say to me. I guess there isn't much else to say. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, but right now a day seems like an eternity. Thank you if you read this entire thing, I know this has been long and rambling but I think writing about it is theraputic.