Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Losing Another Old Friend

It never gets any easier when a beloved friend in fur and fangs dies. 

Last December old Spooky trotted about the house on the day of his death. At age 16 the old cat could no longer digest his food well enough to not slowly get thinner and thinner. His last day he ate well, chased the younger cats around the house, and purred on the laps of his humans. He fell asleep in a favourite windowsill that evening and slipped away, off across the Rainbow Bridge. 

The year before old Samantha crawled under the covers of my bed and cuddled close. She didn't want to leave the bed except to eat and use the litter box the next day. The day after that she became unable to manage to get out of the bed, so I laid her on a favourite cat bed on the floor beside the heater, close to my bed and covered her with a thick towel. She snuggled into her covers, fell asleep and drifted over the Rainbow Bridge. I miss her to this day. She was 18 yrs old.

I miss them both.

Princess Squeeky II got sick about a week ago. At first she just seemed to have gotten a tummy ache, maybe a hair ball or something she ate or a tummy bug of some kind. Her sister, Gidget and her niece Doris were both doing more hairball barfs than usual. Her brother TigerTail started sneezing now and then.
A virus can be a deadly foe to the old and the very young.

Last Friday evening, Squeeky wasn't interested in her evening cat treat. That got my attention. She seemed OK other than the tummy upset problem. Saturday she went out before I got up, and didn't come back. After a good deal of searching she was found hiding out under the neighbours house, in the crawl space. When I crawled in after her, she lead me out and back home. She seemed to be OK, but again she didn't eat her treats and barfed up a foamy yellow mess.

She kept getting worse day by day. She stopped eating all together and could not be enticed nor forced to eat. I tried a gelatine, sugar-salt mix with a bit of ginger for her tummy by syringe into her mouth. She took it OK, some of it anyways. She was getting weaker but still moved from room to room.

Yesterday she started to cough up blood. She refused to swallow even dribbles of water. She went into a closet where she lay down, blood dripping from her mouth. I do not know why she bleeds or where she is bleeding from. 

There is no money for a vet. I do not know what is wrong with by beautiful cat girl. But I have seen this process before. She is going on 14. Princess Squeeky I was 16 when she died, in October. The next spring Princess Squeeky II was born. That is 30 years of having a Princess Squeeky in my life, my heart, my home. I call her my feline alter-ego.

My beautiful cat lies dying. Today she is accepting the sugar-salt water by drops in her mouth. She swallows some, some dribble through her sore, dry mouth. It is all that I can do to keep her comfortable now. She is very weak today. I was surprised that she survived the night.

It never gets easier, watching a fur baby die. I've done this many times before and I will have to do this again. The slow deaths are the worst, the wasting from cancer or some other illness that takes it's time to kill. Some deaths have been sudden.. hit by a car or a heart attack. Then there are the old cats who just grow frail and just go to sleep and never wake up, with no suffering.

There is always grief. In a very slow death the grief starts as soon as the hope is gone.  A sudden illness is very painful for the human care givers. We are helpless, and the death vigil seems to stretch out time. It is exhausting. A quick, sudden death is a sudden jolt with a jolt of deep grief.

My heart is breaking. Part of me is dying with this beautiful kitty cat. She loved so very much. She mothered every kitten she came across, no matter who's kitten. She took care of her kittens even when they were grown. She even mothered her brother and sister. She loved her humans as well. Very well.

This is another heartbreak, on top of the many heartbreaks of recent months.
I already miss her very much. 

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