My kitty was 17 years old. She was a healthy and spry (though crotchety) old lady until just a few months ago. Then the week before the wedding, she got sick. The vet thought it might be treatable with antibiotics, and she responded well to them. The timing was extra complicated, because it was the week before our wedding. We would not even be able to complete the course of drugs before we were scheduled to leave town for the honeymoon.
"Get a really trustworthy friend," my vet advised us. All well and good, except how to you convince Mouse that the friend is trustworthy? Mouse was always afraid of strangers, and many people in my life have never even seen her. She hides when somebody comes over. I feared she would end up hiding from her caregiver, alone and frightened, get sicker, and die alone.
I couldn't let that happen. It seemed our options were to euthanize her before the wedding, or board her at the vet's, let them finish the medication, and hope for the best. After some agonizing, we took the necessary financial hit to give her a chance. Much to our relief.... it worked.
We came back from our trip to find her back to her old feisty self, if moving a little slower than before. Post-wedding, we both started enjoying Mousie Cuddle Time. M goes to bed earlier than me, and we have always had a tradition of my "tucking him in" and saying goodnight. I lay on his shoulder, and as often as not, Mouse would hop up too and lie on my hip, or his stomach. It became known as "Family Cuddle Time", and M got in the habit of calling right before bed: "Mouse! Karen! It's family cuddle time!" We would tease her when she was late, and missed it.
M also started Mousie/Mikey Cuddle Time in the mornings. He would eat a bowl of cereal, and she would curl up next to him, quietly, patiently. When he had finished the bowl he'd set it on the floor, and she'd hop down and enjoy the milk residue.
All our cuddle times started coming to an end this week. On sunday we noticed that Mouse was much more lethargic. She seemed to have 5 places she liked to sleep, and her whole day was spent napping in one, hobbling to the next one, then napping in it for awhile. She got skinnier, and more frail.
We went to great efforts to bring her yummy protein-rich food to eat. She would start by licking it happily, but would never really bite, and would never really eat that much.
We knew we had to take her to the vet, but work was crazy busy. We focused our efforts on giving her lots of yummy food and warm snuggles. We scheduled an appointment for Wednesday after work (today). It was so great that M was able to be there with us, since so far I had been doing the cat care-taking on my own.
The vet examined her. The poor baby weighed only 4.5 pounds, even with all the feeding we'd been trying! The vet had multiple concerns. She was a very sick kitty. The felt some strangeness in her intestine which might indicate cancer. Her kidneys were tender, and her breath indicated kidney failure.
She offered several ideas: doing blood tests, doing IV fluids overnight, trying antibiotics.... but she warned us that even if the tests could give a diagnosis, she was still very sick and there was no guarantee the treatment would work. It was also possible that there was no treatment. She carefully avoided recommending putting her down, but we both could sense that may be the best option.
The vet left us alone, and we both shed a few tears. "I feel like it's best to say goodbye to her here, while we're all here and loving her. No more needles, tests, pills, rides in carriers, no more hiding all alone. At least she can go surrounded by love."
M nodded, a tear slipping down his nose. "Here I'm not even a cat person," he said to me.
I nodded, blinking through my own tears. "You don't have to be a cat person," I told him, "in order to be a Mouse person."
The vet and staff were kind and gentle. Mouse went quietly, and seemed to relax at the end. Goodbye kitty Mouse-Face, with the M on your forehead that stands for Mouse, but if you flip upside down it's a W for my last name - even though you never liked the flipping up and down.
Go play in a sky full of sunbeams and tuna. I love you.
More photos of Mouse