Tag Archives: cat

These Are Not Good Things

daisy-001

After constant debate, I decided that euthanizing Daisy was the only humane decision I could make. I know that mentally, she was not ready, nor was I, which is where I struggled. But I could not do anything to keep her body in sync with her mind, and it was causing her to suffer.

So now there is none. Within three months, I’ve said goodbye to both my dog and my cat.

I came home yesterday and cleaned. Her litter boxes, her food bowls. Today I washed my sheets and finally washed our bathroom floor mats- after nearly a year in the laundry. She had started defecating on them, so I could no longer put them out.

This morning, the sound of a cat howling outside my window woke me up around 6am. This is not normal, but I refused to get out of bed and look. No. I’m not taking in anything more right now.

My son and I finally moved the 200# broken turtle tank to the garage, and as expected, it wreaked havoc on my back. I ended up sleeping for about four hours later in the afternoon. Throughout it all, I kept waking up to the feel of a cat jumping on my bed. My old cat, Sigfried. He had the mass to make that small disturbance. Daisy did not. The only time I felt her on the bed was when she started to lick my forehead. I was exhausted, yet I think in control of my capacities. It felt so real, I forced myself awake each time. What if it is a cat? Like, the boys found the one howling outside the window from this morning and brought him inside? What if it isn’t a cat, and I left the back door open, and someone’s on my bed?

I set out the bathroom floor mats when I got up. The fuzzy thick ones that feel so good on your feet, and it was not a good thing. I stared at them, turned away.

I made my bed, and after some thought, threw my pillow in the center of the bed, as she’s no longer taking up the right side. And that does not feel like a good thing. I stared, and turned away.

My clean house. No accidents to clean up after. And it does not feel like a good thing.

Yesterday was rough. All I felt was loss, and flipping through my photo albums, my sense of loss was amplified by the amount of pets that have come through my home and are no longer with me, and it struck me as a failure.

But today was better. My stepdaughter said that all those pets and animals and fosters remain a positive aspect of her childhood, and that helped enormously. So I thought of Daisy’s goofiness. Her strange, unique meow. How she liked to bite my ex-husband every morning way back then. How I found her, sitting outside her former person’s house, patiently waiting for someone to claim her again. How she always liked the warmest part of the house (on top of the lizards’ cage in our Colorado house, under the covers with my son at my mom’s house, or on the heat vents at our current house), how she still zipped around the house in a fit of play until last year. How she detested me every time I brought home a new litter of kittens. But then how instantaneously she forgave me when they went away again. How she has slept by my head for most of our 16 years together. How she use to bite me if my hand came too close during the night. Brat. Her former name was Sassy, and that she was.

She was a good thing.

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2017 is heading in a bad direction.

2016 didn’t end much better.

For the pets in my family.

My sister was supposed to fly in for a visit in November, when her 6 year old cat suddenly crashed. The diagnosis turned out to be colon cancer. Oddly enough, this is what our grandmother died of. Weiwei died just a couple of weeks ago. Only six years old.

In December, my cousin began texting me that her dog (also around 6 I believe) had suddenly gone paralyzed. She took Coco to the neurologist, who ended up needing spinal surgery!…..a couple days after my cousin’s father was hospitalized for back surgery! But Coco (and her people!) recovered quickly and without incident 🙂

And now it’s my house’s turn. A couple of days after Christmas, my 15 year old pit started limping, and my whole being plummeted. I knew that it wasn’t an injury, and given her age, I was terrified with the alternative: cancer. It goes with her history in a way. Every time I’m prepared to take her in for a dental, she blows a leg. She’s had cruciate surgery in both knees already. I thought we were safe this time. But no. Front leg.

As I no longer work in a veterinary clinic, and as I recently moved to this area, I had to figure out how to find a veterinarian. That sucks. It really does. I do not like being on this end of things. The vet we went to took X-Rays, but wasn’t sure. I was able to have them emailed to me, and showed them to veterinarian colleagues, who both suspect cancer as well. I haven’t told my children yet, and she and I are going to another vet on Tuesday. Over a month on pain medicine, and her limp has increased. And I’m afraid.

suni taking a break

I’ve already been watching my eighteen year old cat like a hawk since last summer, when I was sure she’d go. Several masses sprouted up on her, and then they opened. She no longer looks like the picture below, which was only two years ago. Only two years! Seeing how much she’s changed is very disheartening. She no longer grooms herself, and has lost half her weight by the looks of this picture. I wasn’t prepared for that.

Masses on cats are bad. Talking my sister through things was very personal, as I was silently going through the same decisions with my own cat: when is it enough? When is it clear that their death is going to be a long time coming, and that their pain is only growing; when do we know to say that it’s time? I had it planned, her humane endpoint, but now I’m forced to rethink it, and make myself be a tech and not her person, and rely on what my intuition is trying to tell me. And so she has a vet appointment as well now. An ‘I don’t know what to do’ appointment. I sought out some familiar comfort by finding a cat’s-only clinic, even though it’s across the border in Illinois (it’s not that big a drive). How are there no cat clinics in Indiana? I so miss my Colorado people right now.

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I have dealt with this in my career for the last 18 years, and yet to face it personally, all I can think is indecision. And fear. Lots of fear.

My Dragon Cat

She’d been found with her three black kittens perched on an upper ledge of a business in downtown Denver. Somehow, a fellow intern had been alerted. She caught them and brought them to Alameda East, the hospital we’d just begun our tech internship at. It was Friday, and the day before Halloween. Her kittens were snatched so fast that l only saw one. There had to have been at least us 30 interns crammed in the kennels to see them- as if we’d never seen a kitten before.

No one was paying any attention to her, so I picked her up and just stood there, holding her while her fate was being debated. Her babies were old enough to leave her, and she seemed ready to have someone look after her for a change. She was maybe nine months old, which means she’d gotten pregnant at her very first heat, at six months old. She was still a kitten herself.

She laid there in my arms silent and fully at peace, her head over my elbow, her eyes closed, and her arm stretched lazily out over mine. I didn’t know she was mine right then, but she did.

The hospital administrator said she was not allowed to stay there but someone from Bel-Rea (our school) thought she’d be able to become a school cat, though not until the next week.

I didn’t want a second cat. I was 18, l’d just begun my three month unpaid internship, and I didn’t know how I’d feed and house myself or my other two Alameda East animals.

l was dating my now-ex-husband at the time, and he was (is) heavily superstitious. Toads give you warts, black cats are evil, etc. Did I mention the next day was Halloween? l said l’d take her until the school could and at three am, l took a bus to his apartment, got her settled and comfortable, and left her for him to find when he got home from his night shift. He called me immediately, of course. By the end of the weekend, I couldn’t give her to the school, so l took her to my home, and she became mine. Like she already knew she was.

That was fifteen years ago.

An hour ago, l held her at the vet’s office. She had her head on my elbow and her arm over mine, and she laid quiet and peaceful. This time, we both knew she would not come home with me.

When I got home last night, she was ataxic and wrong. I thought she’d had a stroke. l took her in, even though I already knew. Today, she couldn’t get to her feet at all.

Us techs always tell owners to be mindful of what they name their cats. Precious, Baby, Princess, Diva -we see these names and already know they are going to be cats from hell. Because they always are. At age eighteen, l felt too young to write my book, so I named her after my protagonist’s mother to remind me to keep writing. My protagonist’s mother was dragon raised. And this tiny little black nine month old cat was very quickly my dragon-cat. If anyone upset me, she was suddenly right there trying to beat the crap out of them. She’d break through screens if another cat came onto the yard. I wouldn’t see her for days. But I’d never see that other cat again.

She was the last of my three Alameda East pets, and l can’t believe they’re all gone. Where did fifteen years go? l sat with her and thought of my other two (God I miss them so), and all the ones between and after. I saw her through life and into death, and I like to imagine that our others were there to welcome her so that she wasn’t suddenly alone.

I didn’t bring her back home.