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Kitty

When buzzy_mcbuzzer died, we went one whole month without a cat, and then three fell upon our house at once. Two of them were a mother-daughter pair - the mama named Tigger, and the baby named Ziggy. The third cat was a bit of an emergency case.

My friend Julie had had a premature baby, and her baby had had some pretty major breathing problems - as in the baby occasionally stopped breathing. She was told to get rid of all of the things in her house that could potentially be causing problems, and one of them was her cat, Kitty.

We had already agreed to take Tigger and Ziggy, when we found out about Kitty. Kitty was a silver tabby who'd had a pretty rough life. She'd grown up in Chilliwack, BC as a stray, amid some pretty serious enemy kitties. Then Julie relocated and had chosen to adopt and bring Kitty with her. Now Julie was faced with a situation where she had approximately 24 hours to try to find the cat a home, or take her to the SPCA. Since the SPCA was brimming full of cats, and they were putting them down pretty much as soon as they got them, we figured what the hell... we'd give it a shot. The worst that could happen would be that Kitty wouldn't get along with Tigger and Ziggy, and we'd have to take her into the SPCA ourselves.

This is exactly what happened, except we couldn't bring ourselves to take her in - we'd fallen in love with her.

She was perfect for Alex - did not react badly under any situation. Had claws but did not scratch. Great temperament. The only unfortunate thing was that she did NOT get along with the other cats. Oh we followed every book we could find, on how to integrate the two families, but it just did not work. In the end, she became the upstairs cat and claimed the entire top floor of our house, while the other two were the main floor/basement cats. The baby gate actually proved to be an effective barrier, despite it could be jumped by all the cats if they had really wanted. Yet they accepted this physical boundary as their territory line. When they felt feisty they would swipe at each other through the gate, but really there weren't many problems after we put up the baby gate.

Having Kitty upstairs full-time meant sacrificing a bedroom, which was an easy decision at the time, since one of the bedrooms was being used as an office. Since Alex was a very active child, and since the rest of the top floor of our house was fairly compact, Kitty's food, water, and litter box had to be kept out of site. The office wasn't perfect since it was carpeted, but it was the best option we had, so that's where it went. This was a pretty happy situation for everyone, especially the cats. It meant more vacuuming for us, but all in all, it was very workable. Probably being required to vacuum more often was a good thing, since it meant the rest of the house got cleaned more regularly than we probably would have otherwise been inclined.

Sometime over the last few years, we found out Kitty had some pretty serious health problems. She had a hyperthyroid, which made her lose tons of weight. She was put on this medication for the rest of her life, which is this salve that is absorbed through her skin - we put it on the back of her ear. She was skinny skinny skinny, but once she got on the meds, she started to plump back up. Then she started to lose weight again. When we had her checked out, it seems the meds were within therapeutic ranges, so it meant the problem was something else. They determined she also had high blood pressure, but that was actually helping to keep her kidneys perfused... ironically her high blood pressure was helping her...part of her anyway. We gave her some medication for that, but since we couldn't really tell if it was actually helping or not, we elected to discontinue that particular med. Around that time we started to run low on cash for vet bills/cat meds.

We made a decision, at that time, that we would not do things the same way as we did them with buzzy_mcbuzzer. Buzzer had been our baby girl, and we had sunk a fortune into trying to find a way to help bring her back to health. Ultimately, there was nothing we could do. Also, in trying to prolong her life, I'm afraid we went a little bit too far, and only prolonged her suffering.

It's difficult to know that line... it's one of those things where you don't know it's there until you've crossed it. For Kitty, we decided that we weren't going to make any heroic efforts, since she was already a senior cat and had a mysterious undiagnosed illness, in addition to a serious illness that was already diagnosed. We would keep her happy and comfortable, and as soon as she started showing any signs of actual distress, we would have her put her down. It would be easier on her, easier on us, and we would probably all be happier knowing where our limits are. Kitty has been steadily declining over the past couple of years.

When I got pregnant with Stephen, we weren't sure what we would do exactly, in terms of living space. What we decided, was that Stephen would stay with us in our room, and we wouldn't even bother thinking about finishing the room that would eventually become his, until Kitty was gone. At the time that we made that plan, we did not anticipate Kitty lasting much longer - she was so thin. It has been almost a year since we could no longer comfortably sleep with three to a bed. Since both Stephen and I are very light sleepers, and Alex and Jason could sleep through an air raid, it made sense for me to start sleeping with Alex in her room, and Jason to continue sleeping with Stephen in our room. We all get more sleep this way. This has been our sleeping arrangement for over a year. I have to admit that I look forward to the day when I can again sleep with my husband.

Sometime in the last year or two, Kitty started this annoying habit of yowling. She did this especially right outside the bedroom doors just after the kids got to bed. It took us a while to figure out that she was partially deaf.

If you would have asked us in the second half of 2009, we both would have told you that we didn't expect Kitty to make it to Christmas - there was just nothing left. Then, in the month before Christmas, there was a big turn around. Kitty seemed to start improving. She was in a better mood, she was more loving, she was eating, her coat seemed better. She was still thin, but she didn't seem to be getting thinner or weaker. We figured maybe it was a remission. She cuddled with Alex every night - they even developed this little bond. She and Stephen were particularly close, although recently she's been quite attached to Alex. Up until tonight, Kitty seemed to be stable and happy.

Tonight, she is not. Tonight, she is trying to urinate everywhere she can, and only a few dribbles are coming out. This is the Sign that she is in distress. There is some kind of problem. We don't know what it is, and it could be minor, but ultimately, we can't afford to explore the option. We made this decision years ago, that when it came to this point, this would be it. We are spending our last night with Kitty, feeding her her favourite food, giving her lots of pets, and giving her the downstairs kitties' treats (it always made her feel better).

I never really thought this day would come. I am so sad for the kids, so sad for Kitty, and so sad for me.

I am heartbroken.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
bertine
Jan. 27th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
<3

Sometimes this is for the best and I think you are making a good decision.
sharya
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
I almost wish that we could do it now... just to get it over with, and so she wouldn't be so distressed.

It's going to be a long night, and I can't imagine wanting to go to work tomorrow afterwards :(
joeymichaels
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:18 am (UTC)
Poor Kitty. It was so hard deciding to put White Cat down a few months back since she was still so social and happy - but she wasn't able to eat or drink anymore and it was just a matter of time. This is so sad, but they sort of let us know when its time. Love and strength to you.
sharya
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think it is time. We think she's weighing less than 3 pounds now... so there really just isn't much of her left. We don't want her to suffer anymore.
stuporstar
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
So I know you're thinking its time to put her down but the urinating on everything/few dribbles is what Maxie does to tell us he has a urinary tract infection. I give him Cranberry pills. It clears up in a day or so. I know that probably doesn't help you (as Maxie is hissing and growling right now at me because he's been holding in his pee b/c he doesn't like the electrician who has been at our house for a few weeks being around his litter box *sigh*)

BIG HUGs all around.
sharya
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks Rissa, we know it could be really minor. It's just that she's now weighing less than 3 pounds, and is nothing but bone. There's just not much of her left. It's more likely that whatever is afflicting her is causing additional urinary problems now, or that her kidneys are failing due to the extreme weight loss. It's possible that it's just a minor UTI, but realistically, it would only prolong the inevitable by a few weeks.

These kitties of ours will try and try until they just can't try anymore, and we just don't want her to suffer.
avecvu
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
Love to you and your family. <3 <3
sharya
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
<3 thank you.
phaedie
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Hardest decision a human can make, also happens to be the second greatest gift you can give Kitty.
The first one obviously being giving her a safe home where she felt loved for her final years.
You are a great Mommy to human babies and kitties alike.
Am cursing my keyboard for not having a hug function. <3
sharya
Jan. 28th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
Keyboards totally need a huge function. <3
egbert
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
So sorry to hear it. I am dreading the day we're going to have to do the same. I fear it's probably going to be later this year, seeing as the oldest is now 19 and in kidney failure. Of course she still seems to be doing fine, so who knows.

Sadly, god_kitty is now 13 or 14 as well, and rather overweight. I hope he still has a few more good years, but I'm not so sure. Sigh.

Good thing we're already breaking in replacement kitty. ;)
sharya
Jan. 28th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
I did not know you had a replacement kitty! Details! Pictures! Of all kitties!
(Deleted comment)
sharya
Jan. 28th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, I think it does too.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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