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.

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