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.
I sense an impending threat to our family’s well being. Last night I was sitting on the opposite end of the couch from Eric, who was being monopolized by one little gray kitty who couldn’t seem to get enough of his attention.
I was quietly sitting there feeling the baby moving around.. kick.. punch.. kick. It was all over the place. I’d feel some movement through my belly onto my hands on the left side, then the right side. Then both sides. So I assumed she was doing some acrobatics or dancing or practicing kick boxing or something.
Eventually I decided Eric needed to experience some of this, though it’s harder for him to feel it because I have the reassuring feeling of the inside to confirm what I’m feeling on my hand, which he obviously doesn’t.
But he tried nonetheless, and came over and sat next to me with his hand stretch across my belly.
We were talking about the baby and we both happened to look up…. to see curious and serious eyes watching us from the arm of the other end of the couch. Very serious eyes. Very knowing eyes. Gradually she got up and sauntered casually over to us. She climbed right over top of Eric, and onto my belly, where she lay down with her face inches from mine. And she stared at me. And purred.
Eric was amused that the “feel the baby” game had ended so abruptly because of that cat rule that anything that draws our attention must be sat on, and this time it was me. Or the bump. Or the baby, or whatever.
Fortunately I believe she is very much the mother cat, so once the baby is here hopefully she’ll have more of a protective nature and less of a “I must sit on you because you are drawing attention away from me” mentality.
Since I have to sit upright all day in front of my computer, whenever I have to do computer work at home I like to recline on my couch with my computer on my… belly/lap/whatever. It’s not too shabby, and I can get a lot done while being comfy, cozy under a blanket, and usually not fall asleep 🙂
However, one major drawback to this is the threat of a cat attack.
Yesterday such an event occurred. I was for the most part lying down with a big snugly blanket keeping me warm, with my head propped up on the arm of the loveseat and my computer comfortably propped on my midsection and I was diligently working away. Then a small gray kitty came sauntering down the stairs. She used her usual entrance which involves going through the stair railing onto the back of the couch, down onto the couch arm, onto the cushion, onto an ottoman, then onto the floor. With her gaze fixed on me the entire time.
I’m not sure if it’s because I was under her favorite blanket or because I was obviously busy working on something that needed to be interrupted, but nonetheless, she completely ignored the slumbering form of Eric who was trying to sleep off a headache, or her kitty bed, or her kitty toys, or the back of the couch (also a favorite), and b-lined for me across the living room.
She sat on the floor next to my couch looking up at me for a good minute, judging the best way to clamber up (old cat, not the most graceful anymore, likes to take the easiest possible route to any destination and doesn’t always make it when she jumps up onto something higher than a footstool).
Finally she made the jump and dug her claws into the blanket, and consequently myself, and pulled herself up. And unceremoniously plopped herself down on my belly. With her face right in my face, literally not more than two inches from my nose.
At first she didn’t quite fit, perched on my little baby bump, and her butt was on my keyboard, which I did not find appealing. I tried moving her around a little which really just aggravated her. Finally I just dumped her over on her side, so that she was craddled in my arm instead of lying directly on top of me, but she wasn’t having that. She replanted herself back on top of me and made herself fit. With her whiskers nearly brushing my face.
I tried to ignore her as best I could by leaning my head to the left to peer around her, but then she would turn her head that way to look at me, so I would lean to the right, and she would turn her head that way, making it nearly impossible to see past her. This went on for at least ten minutes, with me trying to work, and having to lift myself up some to see whenever I needed to see the keyboard. (good workout!)
One thought that went through my head was that my baby is going to think it’s natural to purr. The cat has an outrageously loud purr, so much so that when people visit and the cat is sitting nearby they ask, “is there a truck outside?” Additionally she doesn’t seem to know how to turn her purr off. Even the vet has a hard time finding her heartbeat because she won’t stop purring.
Finally it dawned on me that I should return the favor and give her undesired attention, and so started petting her. She’s funny, in that she wants to be near you (or ontop of/in your face/sharing your breath close), but not necessarily pet. I think she probably has arthritis or something – she enjoys a good scratch under the chin or top of the head, but a full body pet is only for when she’s really in the mood.
She finally had enough and clambered down with an audible kitty huff, and curled up in her kitty bed nearby. And I was able to finish working.
I am a little worried I’m going to have to invest in purring devices to soothe the baby once she’s here, as musical toys may not cut it. She may even expect me to purr. I hope not.