We lost a family member this weekend… the girl kitty, whose age was not completely known as we’ve only had her since 2008 but we’re estimating 17 or 18, had a rapid decline last week. She was still pretty active at the beginning of the week, but has had a noticeable slowing-down over the last few months. Then Wednesday or Thursday she started getting more and more lethargic and acting a little weird. Eric took note and said that I may need to schedule an appointment for her if she didn’t perk up soon.
Then Friday he said, “see if you can take her in tomorrow” because she was sitting in his lap really weird and had been holding her head funny and had stopped eating – not even her most favoritest cat milk. I called and they said to bring her in first thing in the morning, which I did on Saturday.
When I arrived they told me they were hoping that I’d leave her there for the day for them to monitor, give her some fluids, and do some tests on her to see what was wrong. The doctor told me it was probably a kidney issue, but that if caught early enough many pets still could have another year in them. So I left her with them and we all went to Children’s to get our follow-up rabies vaccines.
While we were at the hospital the vet called and said that the tests came back very serious. She was at level five, which is the worst possible place. She didn’t give the cat more than a month to live, and made some recommendations around re-hydrating her and managing her pain through medicine. We agreed that they should keep her for the rest of the day and I would pick her up in the evening, and then bring her back the next morning for some more treatment.
That night she was so feeble. She just wanted to lie on the kitchen mat, but would move if you put food or even cat milk near her. She was so pitiful it was just heartbreaking and Eric was losing it at this point. I tried brushing her and managed to get a very low purr from her, but that was about it.
She did manage one girl kitty antic though – Eric put her in her cozy cat bed in the cat room near the litter box and food and water, and put a gate across the stairs so she wouldn’t fall down them. In the middle of the night he got up to check on her and found her downstairs. Somehow she had managed to slip past the gate.. we can’t imagine her having jumped over it so she must have squeezed through it somehow. But she wanted to be in the kitchen on the mat, which is somewhere she had never expressed interest in before.
Sunday morning I took her back and it wasn’t long before the vet called and said her temperature was dropping and she strongly suggested we come in and say our goodbyes before it was too late. They said she wasn’t going to last long, and this way we could be there when she went.
We packed up the baby and went up as a family and Eric held his preshkous kitty one last time while they put her to sleep. It was sooo hard on him. He loved that cat so much, for a number of reasons. One, she’s just the sweetest cat ever, has never bitten or scratched anyone and tolerates anything, including being cradled upside-down and carried around the house. Two, she’s always been ‘old’, for as long as we’ve had her, and has always acted rather feeble at times, like not always being able to jump all the way onto the couch, and it tugs at your heartstrings when she acts so pitiful…but other times she would rip and tear through the house at top speeds or attack toys with the vigor of a kitten… explain that one. Three, she was Eric’s – it was so obvious that she loved him so very much; she always wanted to be near him, would follow him around the house, would let him do anything to her, trusted him absolutely, and was his warm comfort when he was distressed. She was always there for him, and was perfect at making him feel loved and needed.
So he’s in a lot of pain right now. I was really upset too, but the hardest part was when I was holding the baby and crying about the cat, and the baby was beaming big beautiful smiles at me. It was the oddest feeling, not knowing whether to smile or cry, be elated or devastated. She did it to Eric too, and he had just as much trouble. I know Eric really wanted Aria to get to know the kitty too.. we both agreed she would be fabulous with kids.
Now Eric will have to get all of his preshkousness from Aria, and he’ll get ample opportunity now that I’m back at work and he’ll have her in the evenings before I get home. I honestly think God’s hand is in this, that while it was time for the kitty to go, He gave Eric someone to pour all of that love and affection into, all to himself for a couple hours each day. Today will be the hardest, as it will be the first day coming home to an empty doormat with no kitty welcoming him home with her soft little meow.
Rest in peace our preshkous little kitty.