Friday, August 31, 2007

Living on a Prayer...


I haven't written about the latest goings-on regarding our cat, Bud Kitty (yes, she is a girl). The simple truth is that writing means facing it, and I am not ready to face things just yet. But, after today, I have no choice, so I share with you my thoughts and prayers about our beloved Bud.

During the past two weeks, we have noticed that she has lost a TON of weight, lost appetite, and has had various other health problems. I called the doctor on Monday but today (Friday) was the soonest they could see her. I think if I had understood more about what was happening to her, I would have tried to get her in somewhere sooner, but life ran the course it did. So, today, I took her to the vet.

I'm sure in some of my previous posts, I have explained that, generally speaking, I am not an "animal person." I understand that some people are, and they think of their pets as being like a child or a large part of the family. Though, over the years I have loved Bud Kitty, in my head she is always "our pet cat."

That began to change when my Dad passed away. I'm not sure why that happened, but it did. And, watching her go from frisky to lethargic in about two weeks has increased my "part of the family" feelings about her. Today, it manifested itself into a full-blown "Bud Kitty is a very loved part of our family" feeling. It really started with the car ride to the vet.

I wrapped Bud in a towel (as a blanket) and I put her in the open cardboard box in the passenger seat, expecting her to lay there not wanting to move. Instead, she carefully got out of the box, and made her way to the middle armrest part between the front seats of my truck. Her balance has been off for a few days, and navigating this move in a moving vehicle was no easy feat. She laid there for a bit, but was soon up looking around. Before I knew it, she was in my lap, looking out the window, then into the back seat she went, exploring everything to see.

I did not go to the vet with the intentions of putting her to sleep. If that is what we needed to do, then so be it, but I was not planning to do it. The ride down, with her roaming around and actually cuddling, etc, only fortified my resolve NOT to put her to sleep unless there were no other options.

Once we got to the vet, we had to wait for almost an hour before they took us back. During that waiting time, she wanted to roam and explore, and I had a hard time keeping her within arm's reach! This was the most active she has been in a while, so I let her roam some...

The doctor called us back, and he examined her, took blood (after shaving the poor girl's throat), and ran some tests. Her pH was very (okay, extremely) high for urine. Her glucose was normal, as was her temp. Her kidneys were a little smaller than 'normal' cats. The doctor was telling me things I couldn't quite grasp, and I asked him about some of those things, but even then I was "getting it." I know she is old (16+ years), and I understand her health is failing, but I needed something more...concrete. If she's dying with no hope of saving her, tell me. How hard is that? Well, it turns out that we could give her an IV and see how she takes to the fluids. The doc said he had seen cats in her condition (and worse) bounce back once fluids were administered. He also saw cats not show any change afterward.

Faced with the "impulse" decision whether or not to end Bud Kitty's life, and given that I am not usually a "pet person," I surprised myself as I said, "Let's give her the IV and see how she does. If nothing changes, then I will know I did what I could, and we will have to let her go. But, if she does bounce back, we can make diet changes and do what we can to make her remaining years worth it."

So, after a 'good-bye' moment, I left her there, praying that if she can get better, that she will - and praying that if it only means pain and suffering, that she won't. Since this is a holiday weekend, we probably won't know anything until Tuesday. However, tonight we did our usual shopping trip, but when we came home, Shan and I both had those moments of "Where is Bud Kitty?" as we scanned the area, only to remember that she was in Hope, at the animal hospital. For all the times that cat has hissed, growled, swatted, bit, and scratched us, not having her here at the house is a very empty feeling.... One I am praying is only temporary (at least for a few more years)....

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