Goodbye Rico

Around eight years ago (in 2012), a neighbor moved away and asked my then 10-year-old to look out for their cat Rico. Sweet, abandoned tail-less Rico could say his own name. It didn’t take him long to settle near to our home. His close friend Charles followed. Over the years (until we got Charles fixed) besides Rico, we fostered many kittens for the local shelter and took those in poor health to the vet.

Outside he often bathed expectant cats and later looked out for their kittens. He was also kind, playful, and loving with my children during a time when they needed it most.


While Charles roamed the streets, Rico would spend his time sunbathing in our backyard, at sundown, he’d climb over the roof and lounge in the front yard with his friends. In the evening, he’d return to our yard for dinner, then spend the night in our garage. And first thing every morning, he’d be at the backdoor waiting for his “can.”

In 2019, as he entered geriatric status, we brought him inside. He lacked litter box skills, so back outside, he went. He seemed happy about this.

Two days after Charles passed, Rico climbed over the roof into the front yard, precisely where I had found Charles. When Rico returned, he was very ill, and couldn’t walk. I took him to the vet, and his results were normal. They referred Rico to a surgeon. She, too couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.

Charles and Rico sun-napping

For several weeks, Rico seemed to be on the mend. In May he took a sudden turn, I brought him back to the vet. His eyes were already glazing over. But the vet (*who should have known better) gave me two options, put him down, or give him one more round of, “be$t gue$$” treatment. I did the latter and took him back home.

In the night, I went to feed him, and he cried out. I couldn’t bear to see him like that. It seemed he was trying to hold on, fighting death. Somewhere between midnight and 6am, death won.

This seems like a cold post, but after putting down Iron and Charles and nearly losing Lulu, I understand, something. Rico falling ill to a mysterious disease right after Charles’s passing was no coincidence. The hard thing with Rico was that I believe he did not want to leave us.

Rico and Charles in the light.

About a week after Rico’s passing, I had a dream about him. He was a cat, about a year old. His face was nearly the same, but he had big brown eyes instead of green, and I called to him, “Rico?” Some part of him recognized me, and he circled my legs. As he did, I pet him and saw that he had a tail!

This is my Yelp review for the Vet who treated Rico during his last hours.

This past May, I spent an obscene amount of money on my sick cat (tests/treatment) to get him well; I didn’t mind this.  Roughly a week ago, he declined. His eyes were glazing over. So I brought him back to UNI, where the vet recommended $800 of tests/treatments and, a possible slip of the tongue, said, “It would be unethical for you to euthanize him.”

I opted for treatment, stating I’d proceed with testing if he showed signs of recovering. I then brought him home; he passed away that night.

I believe that a vet should be able to tell when an animal is suffering/dying, i.e., eyes glazing over (which I just learned is a clear sign).

I felt like this vet was trying to milk a last several hundred dollars out of damn near dead pet, and she did. Euthanizing would have been the compassionate road to take; however, the lesser amount was “unethical” to her bank account. –a condolence card is hardly recompense for this exploitative behavior.

Though credited for his unused medications, I was charged yet again to drop off his body.

I had been bringing my fur babies to UNI for years, but this business has changed, putting profits above animal care. (I exclude Dr. Kang & support staff from all of this).

I’ve since found a new qualified and compassionate vet for my furry family members.

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