Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Goodbye

I think I am finally in a mental state where I can try to explain the last two posts without getting tears all over my keyboard. We've said goodbye to another furry family member.

On December 9th, at 5pm, we said our farewells to Anubis.

It all started with what we thought was just another bout of his IBD that flares up sometimes, especially when the seasons are changing and he starts shedding more. We called the vet, they checked him over, and gave him his standard run of meds to help with digestive troubles (as well as some antibiotics for his teeth, since he has some dental disease and at his age they didn't want to risk taking him into surgery). We got some special food he could eat with a syringe, since he has lost some electrolytes and therefore some of his coordination, so he needed a little help with eating.

After several days of TLC he seemed to be doing better, everything was looking up, life started to go back to semi-normal.

But then something when wrong. He stopped eating on his own again. He started acting lethargic. Something didn't feel right, and I thought I felt a lump where there shouldn't be one, so I panicked. I called the vet, then I called James who said he would meet us there. We were worried about his kidneys, since his bloodwork had shown some troubles with that in the past.

The lump turned out to be nothing - just something about the way he was sitting. The vet checked him over, everything seemed good. But then both she and James noticed the skin on his ears looked a little yellow, so we decided to have some bloodwork done again, just to be safe.

His liver was failing.

All of the levels that would indicate liver trouble were through the roof. One of them was so far off the charts, they had to dilute the sample to even get a reading. It had to have happened within the previous day or so. Everything else was good. Everything else, through medication and modification of his diet had brought his other vitals all back within normal ranges - even his kidneys, which I worried my homemade diet might fall short on after he refused to eat the commercially available foods. But there was no way to prevent his liver from giving out. And the vet told us anything they could do to fix it would not in any way be kind to him - hospitalization, tubes in the stomach, and they couldn't even guarantee he'd come out of it alright.

So we were told to take him home for one last night. Spoil him. Love him. Say goodbye. We bought him fried chicken, which he loved, but he didn't get very often because it's not very good for him. He ate a lot of it that night. I wonder if he knew it was his last chance. Or maybe he just thought it would make us happy to see him eat. We gave him his holiday presents early - with lots and lots of catnip. We figured maybe the catnip would ease the pain a little. We hoped he would pass on his own in the night while he was sleeping.

The next morning he was still hanging on, skin an even deeper shade of yellow, still wanting cuddles. Still refusing to go. Every time he started to so much as fall asleep he would jerk himself awake again. And so the time came for his appointment. And even then he tried to hang on. But the injection did its work. We hated having to make that decision, but we hated even more to see him keep on suffering, and it was the last gift we could give him in this lifetime. He isn't hurting anymore.

We buried him in my parents' yard next to Simba. The vet's office gave us an imprint of his paw to keep, which we plan on making a nice shadow box for. I have a painting of him that will end up hanging in James's home office once we get it framed. We're really going to miss him. The house feels so empty without him. But it's going to be a while, we think, before we bring anyone else home. SimbaToo is happy with my parents and though we plan to visit her plenty, we don't want to take her away now that she's bonded with them so well.

I know I'm going to keep thinking I see him for a while. Every time I see a shadow out of the corner of my eye, every time I walk by the places where he slept, I'm going to want him to be there. We haven't been able to bear to put away or even wash up the cat beds yet. Haven't moved his bowls. It feels too soon for that. Maybe eventually, just not now.

And I was wrong. It seems typing this brought the tears all back. But then, the pain never really goes away completely. It just sort of dulls into the background after a while.

They may leave our homes earlier than we would like, but they never leave our hearts.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Good Kitty

Once upon a time, there was a kitty so good, and so brave, that the Heavens wanted to keep him for their own. But this kitty knew that down on Earth, there was a man he deemed worthy of his love, who would love him just as much in return. And so he left the Heavens to be born in such a place where he knew his man would find him. And find him he did.

But the man was still just a boy, and did not live alone. And so life was not easy from the start, for not everyone was so nice and loving, and the Heavens wept for the good kitty was now on Earth where they could not keep him from pain and strife. The kitty was plagued with fleas, and began life very ill, but the boy took care of him. And when other people shouted and did not-so-nice things to the boy, the kitty was there to comfort him.

And so it went, the good kitty and his boy protecting each other and standing by each other through all of life's trials, until one day when the boy was a man, they left for a better home.

Life was better for the kitty and his man at this new place, and the kitty even met another good kitty who he came to love very much. And not the kitty not only had a Daddy to live with, but a Mommy too. The kitty was very happy for a time, and forgot all about the Heavens and their lack of strife.

Until one day the other good kitty got hurt, and he began to worry. What if the Heavens took her back? What would he do if she was taken away from him? He loved his man, but he also loved the other good kitty. And so when the Heavens took her, he contemplated going to join her. And the Heavens would have welcomed him back with open arms. But it was not to be so. The good kitty decided that his Daddy needed him more, and so he stayed on Earth to wait for the other good kitty to sneak away again, and he was sure that his family would find her.

Every day he grew a little stronger, a little happier until he was okay again. But he was getting older, and the Heavens wanted him back. And so one day they tried to take him. But the kitty said "no, it is not time for me to go yet," and he fought and his Daddy fought with him to help make him well again. And so the Heavens were forced to let go, and wait patiently until it was time.

More than a year they waited, and watched as he grew happy and playful again, with his Daddy and Mommy taking such good care of him that even the doctors were amazed and pleased at how his health had improved. But the Heavens knew something that the good kitty's family did not. Something the good kitty tried to hide. The good kitty's body was failing, and it was starting to hurt.

He tried to hang on, as good kitties often do, but one day his family began to notice, and they were afraid. They loved the good kitty very much and did not want to lose him. And he fought very hard - he wanted to stay, too, you see - and his family on Earth tried to fight to save him. But then the doctor found something that was wrong and could not be fixed. She said that it was time to say goodbye. The good kitty's family was very sad, but they told him he was allowed to rest. But still the good kitty would not rest. He felt that his Daddy, this man he has chosen all for his own, still needed him. And so, in spite of his pain, the good kitty tried to stay. But the good kitty's family knew it was time to go.

They knew the Heavens would welcome him back, for he was good and brave, and very smart. He was the best kitty anyone could ever ask for.

And they also knew that someday that good kitty would sneak away from the Heavens again, and when he did, he would come to find them.

Because good kitties always come home.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

We said goodbye today

We said goodbye today
with fried chicken and catnip and some of your favorite things.
We cried some
We cuddled some.
But most of all we told you it was time to rest.

We said goodbye today
and the sun came out for a while, just for you.
There were warm blankets
and calming sounds
and lots and lots of tears.

We said goodbye today
and told you we will always love you.