Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In Memoriam

I had a horrible month last month, to be honest. I hate to sound so down and pessimistic but it really was the worst.

First, the Owl had four teeth (and his wisdom teeth!) pulled. The orthodontist went over with us at great length why that was necessary, poor kid. I was trying to find him soft foods he could eat, and just when he could have (maybe) progressed to the harder stuff, it was time for the braces! So he is back to soft foods. Thank goodness, he has a girlfriend that makes him happy (at 14!). They're very cute together (but I'm still keeping a close eye on them!)

During all of this, the Rhino was sick, and both the boys had FCAT all week, which they are not supposed to be absent for, no never never never, so I picked the Rhino up the moment his test was over and stayed with him until I could run and pick the Owl up, get some soft food the Owl could eat, get some bland food the Rhino could eat, and rush home again!

Leo, our kitty, was six months old and went in to get neutered, because I am a responsible per owner and that's what you do.

And then he got sick.

At first, I thought maybe he was just recovering from the operation, but he wasn't himself. He slept too much, and his eyes looked cloudy. I took him back to the vet for antibiotics; they thought it was a respiratory virus, which seemed most likely. It wasn't, and the antibiotics didn't help. I had managed to keep him eating, but still he was losing weight.

He got sicker, and with everything else going on I got very stressed. I caught shingles, which, if you ever have the chance to do? Don't. They're painful, and much worse than I remember my childhood chicken pox being. I still have red marks, and it's been three weeks now.

I took the kitten back to the vet, who had no clue; he gave us stronger antibiotics. I fed Leo his favorite foods, made sure he had lots of water, gave him lysine to make his immune system stronger. In response, he simply got worse.

His back legs stopped working; he weaved like he was drunk and couldn't hold himself up. We took him to the animal hospital. When I put him on the floor to show them how he was walking, he couldn't hold himself up at all: his front legs just slid out from under him, too, and he fell over on his side. Through all this, he had never whimpered or cried out or hissed or anything. He rarely even meowed; but we knew he must be miserable when he growled at the vet. I'd never heard him do anything like that. I couldn't stand the idea of him being in pain.

The vet at the hospital was honest, "You are at the point, now, of diving in with both feet for a whole battery of tests...or deciding that enough is enough and quitting." We were thinking now, were pretty sure, that it was FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). Which is invariably fatal. And which, since we only had the one cat and he was an indoor kitty, Leo must have caught from that first vet visit to have him neutered. Or it could have been Feline leukemia, or lymphoma, though cancer is rare in a kitten that young.

Just to run more tests, they would have had to catheterize him (he couldn't even walk), run an IV, and put him on prednisone (he was dangerously anemic). And if the blood tests weren't definitive, we were talking about blood transfusions and going after bone marrow...

He was only seven months old, he was a kitten, and I keep thinking, "If I hadn't taken him in to be neutered, maybe he would be okay..."


I felt that putting a kitten through all that was something we didn't want to do. Especially since the most likely diagnoses were invariably fatal. I felt that it was better just to be merciful, because he wouldn't understand why we were doing all that.

So they brought Leo in to me, wrapped up in a warm towel because his temp had sunk to 95.5, which is very low for a cat, and I said good-bye to him. I told him what a special kitten he was, how even the Engineer, so against getting a cat at first, had fallen in love with him, even laying down by Leo's bowl and feeding him with a spoon to get him to eat; how the Rhino had always adored him, and the Owl thought he was the most awesome cat ever. And I told him I loved him and he was my best friend, and I was sorry he had to go through all this. I reminded him of his soft shelf in the sun and the roast beef he loved and how he loved to play and couldn't any more.

And then I let him go.


I promise, my next post will be much more cheerful.


KentuckyGal said...

Oh Viv, how TERRIBLE! *HUGS* Sometimes doing the best thing isn't easy. You SO deserve some better times coming up.

Vicki said...

Just found your blog (thanks to twitter) and I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. Sounds like his short life was a happy one. I'll give my own kitty (12 years old and snoring away in a patch of sunlight nearby) some extra scritches around the ears today in honour of Leo.

Much More Than A Mom said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your little friend. I hope things look up for you soon.

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