Sorry, this is a long and sad post but I have to get it out of my head.
Our cat, star of 100 photos and countless tweets, is sitting on the couch in my office next to me, dying, and it’s absolutely breaking my heart. “Kitty, you’re internet famous!” my wife used to say to her after I wrote another dumb joke or posted another photo. She was sitting on my lap a few minutes ago, edging past the indignity of my clumsy attempts to feed her cat food and water from a syringe, to awkwardly sit on my lap and purr. Then I got a phone call and she decided to move away. I opened the window for her, but she quickly left. She’s been cold and sitting next to the register eagerly waiting for it to fire up and blow some more heat on her.
My wife left for Hawaii Thursday morning, and I for Chicago in the evening. I came home from work, finished packing, cleaned her litter box and left out food. Then I petted her for about ten minutes before I hustled out the door for a weekend of too much Jack Daniels, beef, pizza and friendship. It was a great weekend for me, but as I headed home from the airport, elated but tired, I was looking forward to checking out any new Chicago posts and catching up on my timeline.
“I can’t find the cat???” I desperately texted Fiona. An hour went by as I continued to look for her. “Did she escape?” I thought I unlocked the front door when I got home but I couldn’t be sure. Is she hiding in a closet? Is she anywhere? I noticed the food and water were down, there was stuff in the litter box and she’d thrown up the couch (the little bastard). I went to bed after an eternity on Sunday night feeling like I’d done something wrong. Like I’d screwed up because either she escaped or I couldn’t find her in the house.
I got up the next morning and she was still missing. I went to work and rushed home at five PM. We have a massive flashlight because I’m a freak about the potential for an apocalyptic weather disaster so I opened that up on Monday night and started looking around in the basement. I noticed a nub of her grey-striped, raccoon-like tail poking out from between two boxes on the shelf of a desk that I’ll never figure out how she got between. I ran to the desk, but slowly with extreme trepidation, because I thought she was already dead, I moved the box a little. Her tail flicked. I quickly pulled the box away to see my sad, mostly one-eyed cat looking morosely back at me. I pulled her out as the cobwebs grabbed at her fur as if trying desperately to keep her sequestered from my desire to have her back. I took a picture, sent it to my wife and petted her for a while.
I took her upstairs, she drank some water and urinated as if she hadn’t in a long time. I made an appointment to take her to the vet Tuesday after work. She has pretty bad kidney disease that I blame on her previous owners for only feeding her dry food for the first five years of her life, the same previous owners who had her completely declawed (yes, all four claws) and let her live trapped in the basement for an extended time because they got a dog who traumatized her. Beyond cutting off her claws, I don’t think they meant to be mean to her, they just didn’t love her. Sins of antipathy.
I took her to the animal hospital, and she had plenty of snake hissing attitudes for the vet. Hissing is one of her favorite hobbies next to hating anyone but Fiona and I.
The Cat’s Favorite Hobbies in No Particular Order:
1. Staring out the window
2. Tucking Fiona and I in at night and leaving when we turn off the bedroom light.
4. Hiding on the bed when we have company and hissing at people when they come to get their coats.
5. Leaving biohazard waste on the rugs.
6. Bapping her clawless toes at my monkey slippers while hissing.
7. Sitting on my lap while I’m trying to type on the computer.
Tuesday she got blood work done. The vet called this morning to say that things are basically really bad and that I had three choices. Put her in an animal hospital and hope that even though she’s the most miserable ball of grey on the planet that an IV and a bunch of needles will make her better. I could try to treat her as an out-patient and she might recover or at least live until Fiona gets home. Or have her put down if she doesn’t get better while we do nothing.
The vet mentioned costs and that was the first time I really lost it. Not because we can’t afford it, because I’d pay pretty much anything in the bank to keep her going, but because I realized there are people out there who love their pets possibly even more than I love mine who can’t afford to keep them alive. And there are a bunch of heartless bastards who wouldn’t pay anything to take care of their family.
We went back today and the liveliest she’s been as she hissed and swatted and tried to bite me on the examination table. She got a second subcutaneous saline shot to attempt to rehydrate her since we are experiencing another failure of her kidneys. I listed my options above, and I don’t want her possibly dying with strangers, I want her here with me. Her quality of life might get slightly better for a while, but it’s likely to decline rapidly.
My wife is still in Hawaii and sadly won’t be home until this Sunday night. We’ve used Facetime so she can talk to the cat. I’m constantly sending updates, even though I feel they are always getting worse. I just hope I can keep her going until Fiona gets home and has a chance to say goodbye. There’s a chance she’ll get better but I doubt it. Every time I open can, she meows like a crazed banshee because she believes it to be tuna. When I brought her home today, I opened a can because she has to eat. She perked up and issued repeated meows that were lively, but still somewhat resigned. I put the tuna down and she sniffed, the walked away. “Why the fuck won’t you eat?” I screamed inside. So, I got out the wet food she won’t eat, mixed it with water like the doctor suggested and used the syringe to inject it into her mouth. It was a battle. A battle I’m failing at. I just want her to get better. She’s a fighter, but no one can make a little cat brain understand that they need the food to survive. To make it to Sunday. To say goodbye to Fiona.
I have a million things I should be doing right now. The house desperately needs cleaning. I have two papers and a final left to finish for school. I have to cook for a potluck at work tomorrow. But all I can do is keep looking at the cat, petting her to make sure she’s breathing, and hoping she can make it until Sunday.
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- rabbitinski said: Joel, my heart is breaking for the three of you. I hope she makes to Sunday. Give her an extra pet from me.
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- pseudofauxme said: I had the shittiest day at work that I’ve had in a long time, but it’s nothing compared to this. This fucking sucks.
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- bombmom1 said: I am so sorry Joel. My heart breaks for you and your sweet Kitteh.
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- andsoisyourface said: Oh Joel, I’m so sorry. My heart breaks for you, Fiona, and the kitty. :-(
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- mongrelmess said: Damn, you made me cry and I don’t even like cats. *sending you some hugs*
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- skinnerwrx said: So sorry to read this Joel. I hope she makes it to see Fiona again.
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- hiimles said: I’m so sorry Joel. I’ll be sending you my best wishes.
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- justblamechris said: Oh, Joel. My heart is so sad with yours. Bless her little heart! Sending prayers and love and good juju.
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- changingstephanie said: I’m so sorry, Joel. :(
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