Saving Fatface: A Sad Ending

If you have read my posts on this blog Saving Fatface and Saving Fatface Part 2 , you will be aware of my hopes of rescuing and adopting a black cat, a stray who regularly appeared in our garden during 2019. ‘Fatface’, so called because of his large cheeks, seemed to be homeless, appeared uncared for, and worse, seemed to have problems with his ears.


We fed him in the garden for months, trying to coax him nearer and nearer to the house. Finally, in early September,  with the weather beginning to turn and my concern for his ear problem growing, we managed to trap him and get him to the local vet for treatment.  Following 7 days at the vets to see if he would be claimed by an owner, we finally brought newly named ‘Morris’ home.

We thought it would be best to separate him from our other cats for the time being, so I kitted out our spare room as a ‘cat heaven’, with various beds, toys,  blankets and scratching posts. Morris looked horrified at all my expensive efforts, and promptly took up residence under the dressing table.


I worried about him when we were out, so I also bought a  a CCTV camera (the “Morris Cam”) so I could watch him wherever I was. Even with the camera, it was hard work that first week. Morris would dive for cover whenever Andy and I entered the room, wouldn’t touch toys or treats, and would only eat when we were out of the room. His ear didn’t seem to be getting any better either.

I sat in the room whenever I could and talked to him but he was sticking to his corner and I was worried that he was in pain with his ear.


Friends and family became used to me talking about him constantly, and I scoured the internet for advice. We tried Feliway diffusers and Zylkene to try and calm his anxiety, and decided to take him back to the vet for an update on his ear which didn’t seem to be healing.  Getting him into the cat box was a scene straight out of an Eling comedy, but Andy eventually managed it, calming him by brushing him with an old hairbrush of mine – genius!

The vet suggested that she put him under anaesthetic to really clean out the ear and get some antibiotics in. However,  when we went to pick him up, she told us that she had found a large mass in his ear.  She couldn’t be certain of the cause, but had taken some samples and the results would be back in a couple of weeks.

We were concerned but not unduly worried as the vet seemed relatively optimistic and we were delighted when Morris started coming  out of his shell over the next few days. He would quite happily spend hours being brushed, purring and head bumping and trying to get as close to me as he could. We discovered that Morris dribbled when he was happy, which was fine, until he combined that with a vigorous head shake. Spray everywhere!


By now,  he was coming straight to me whenever  I came into the room, and would purr and stretch his back as I stroked him. I could even pick him up and put him over my shoulder. But the cutest thing by far was his pedalling. He did it all the time! He had huge paws and was continually flexing and kneading them whenever he was being stroked. If I sat down he would hurl himself onto my lap and rub himself against my arms and body. If I stopped stroking him for a minute to answer an email or make a call, he would demand further attention.  I didn’t get much work done for a couple of weeks. It amazed me that given he was a stray, and having presumably known minimal human contact, he would let me hold his paws and tickle his tummy, without a suggestion of a bite or scratch. 


He got into a habit of waking up about 4 am and playing football with the little toys and balls we had bought him. He woke us up several nights and we could hear him from our room batting the balls from one end of the room to another.

But .. his ear was not getting better and I was aware that we had an upcoming appointment with the vet who would give us the results of the biopsy.

The morning of the vets appointment Morris seemed happy and was again loving and purring and pedalling with his paws. I held him for a long time that morning.  Perhaps I knew what was coming.

As soon as I saw the vets face, I knew that the results weren’t good. She told me he had aggressive cancer in both ears and it was spreading. The mass has grown again and she was concerned about his pain levels going forward. We talked about some options, but I knew in my heart there weren’t really any, and there was only one decision for me to make.

I could hear her talking to me, but it felt like she speaking from a long way away as I stood there holding him and feeling him cling to me and purr in my ear.  I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to be as strong as I could for both of us.


Emma the vet was wonderful, she sat me down, still holding Morris and gently explained how she would put him to sleep. I held him and stroked his beautiful soft fluffy head and talked to him softly, while the vet put the injection into his paw and he slowly slipped away, still purring.

My heart felt like it was breaking.   I continued to hold him and cried my heart out while Emma talked to me and checked him for another few minutes until she was sure he had gone.


I rang Andy who came home to meet me and I took Morris up to his little room for the last time, while Andy prepared the garden for his burial. I wrapped him in his favourite blanket and we buried him at the spot where he used to wait for his food in the garden. I put all his balls and toys in with him. I was absolutely inconsolable.

How I miss him! It’s been 5 days now and this is the first day when I have felt anything like strong enough to write. As I write,  I’m crying again.

Should I have had him put to sleep? Did I do it too soon? These questions would haunt me for the next few days, but Emma’s words also turned over in my mind about how much the mass had grown in the last two weeks alone and how she wasn’t sure that she could manage his pain going forward.

We didn’t have Morris very long, but what an amazing little character he was!  This dear little stray, who had finally accepted his new home with us and had even started to come to love us. He never bit or scratched once and all he wanted was our love and attention. I just wish so much I could have given him longer. He was a beautiful soul and I shall never forget him. ❤️



54 replies »

  1. Aww poor baby. But what love he shown and he knew he was loved back. Those moments will be precious for all.
    You were patient and you loved and cared for him to the end.
    Cancer is a horrible thing and no doubt he was in pain. Probably more than he shown. My last cat died of cancer which was through out her body. But I have precious times, right to the end.
    I’m glad you got a close encounter to him, to see tje other side of him.
    Hugs to you. Xx

    • Thank you so much. It hurts so much still but I keep trying to remind myself I did the right thing. ❤️

  2. Oh no, really sorry to hear this. A year ago our beloved family dog passed on, so that’s caused much grief. Animals really are wonderful beings. I hope you can take solace in the special memories.

  3. I’m so sorry, that is quite heartbreaking. I am so pleased you were able to give him love and comfort towards the end of his life and I hope that you are soon able to come to terms with your sad loss. x

  4. That is so sad. I am very sorry. I do know a little of how you feel. We had something similar happen with a cat named Casper. If you search for “Casper” on my blog you can find the story.

  5. So sorry to read this sad and painful news about such a lovely cat. Hope you can find some comfort in the beautiful memories of Morris.

  6. You did the right thing. We do not have to let our pets and animals reach a point when they are suffering and in pain. We can give them the gift of goodbye. It is so sad but it is the best thing to do.

  7. I’m so sorry to read this. I had to make a similar decision with my golden retriever girl, and even when you know you’re doing the right thing, it can be the hardest thing you ever have to do. I’m sorry you didn’t have long together, but you made those last days happy ones, and prevented his suffering. I’m sure he was grateful for that.

  8. We have thirteen rescues and all have major problems from ibs to Calici virus we have one which is 22 yrs old but acts like a 2 yr old we love them all but know their time is limited .we dread the days that are coming when we start losing them but I know they will only go when I’ve exhausted all options as long as they are not suffering we recently had one with pneumonia it was close but he survived when it comes to cancer it’s no other choice you haven’t an option with a human and I watched my mum suffer.i will not let any of my animals suffer like that and I have that choice you love them you have to help them he could have suffered outside without know any compassion. So thank you for your kindness to him and giving him the love and care during his final days well done doing a tough job this is probably why he came to you and I know how much that hurts.👏

  9. You never really get over them when they go – but you do start to remember more of the funny, endearing and weirdo-cat little details about all of the days before the last one. My daft lad (Floyd) went over the fence at the beginning of the year – or, more literally, under it. Buried in the spot where he’d just loaf about in the sun and watch the birds on the feeders. He was a lover, not a fighter :-). Hope you’re smiling at the memories soon.

      • Named for the TV Chef and general bon viveur, Keith Floyd. Lived up to the name admirably – I had to watch him like a hawk if there was red wine on the go, and he could eat for England right up ’til the end. Morris – now that’s a proper cat name if ever there was one!

      • Thank you … I remember Keith Floyd and the wine drinking! …yes Morris really suited him ❤️

  10. I am so sad for you, he was a very special boy and you gave him the love he deserved. I know you are heartbroken and it does hurt so much. But know this, you did the best you could for beautiful Morris.

  11. Not seen your blog before, I was directed by Facebook, so very sorry you lost this lovely boy. It’s such a shame you didn’t have him for longer, always heartbreaking to lose a pet

  12. oh my god. and there was so much hope. you really are a miracle worker if you can get a stray cat to become that friendly when they’ve never had human encounters. I’m so sorry. this is really sad in so many ways.

  13. I’m so sorry for your loss. I held my beloved cat as the vet injected him at the end of his fourteen years with me. The pain is real. But please take comfort in the fact that you gave Morris a beautiful end to his life. That was a gift and a blessing.

  14. So sorry you lost this handsome little man. I know exactly how you feel as your story is similar to my rescue of Marley who was also a black cat. I had him 18 months when he lost a lot of weight in a matter of a few days. After several veterinary consults, tests and an op, the result confirmed he had a cancerous lump in his abdomen that had invaded his liver. I will never forget Marley, he was very loving and gentle. I think these cats find there way to us for a reason.

    • Thank you so much Dawn for reading and taking the time to comment. I am sure beautiful Marley (what a fabulous name) is still in your heart and knows you love and miss him xxxx

  15. I cried reading this, you were an angel to Morris. He was blessed to have found you, and I hope despite his short span of time he found the love he longer for. Thank you for taking him in and loving him through his last day

  16. That was so sad- sometimes we are put in a person or animal’s life just so that God can reinstate in that person or animal the trust that there is a higher place than they were. You gave him that sweet spot of his life and he shared his sweet spot with you.

  17. Having pets my entire life this was such a hard post to read. I can relate to so much of your experience. Losing a pet is hard. It is so emotionally draining. At the same time remember what you did. How you brought this little animal in and gave him a far better life than he ever had. That tells me so much about you.

    • Thank you so much. I’m still sad and it’s been a few weeks now. I just wish I could have given him longer 😞

  18. So very sad. Over the years I’ve experienced the same pain of “letting go” of a pet many times. It never gets easier. Healing will come, and think always of the love and joy Morris brought to your home. He might simply have picked out your home (and family) to live out his remaining days. Animals (in my honest opinion) are more sensitive to these things than humans. I hope you are soon resting easy and remembering the love and pleasure Morris chose to give to you and your home.

    • Thank you so much. It’s still really hurts when I think about him and I worry whether we could have seen how things went for a few more weeks … but I couldn’t bear to think he was in any pain. Thank you for reading.

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