Feeble Knees

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Empty Spot on My Desk

There's a spot on my desk where a kitty should be. He should be butting my hands with his nose, causing me to type gibberish in a not-so-subtle demand to be petted. He should be trying to lay down on my forearm in an attempt to make me stop working. He should be here. But he's gone, and I miss him so much.

I feel almost ashamed to admit that personally it's been a horrible week for me. Given all that has been going on in the gulf states, I feel silly admitting that my world has come to a crashing halt over a cat. But I'd be lying if I tried to deny it.

About two weeks ago I started to notice all was not right with Little kitty, my eleven year old that I got from the Humane Society when he was just an itty-bitty mewling thing, his eyes barely opened. We counted on LIttle kitty to live a good full life yet. He gave me solace even as I've been preparing to say goodbye to our Senior kitty who's suffering from kidney failure. Little kitty was supposed to be my child's first pet. We anticipated the day we would bring our boy home to meet his kitty 'brother' for the first time.

Long story short, we had to bring Little kitty to the animal hospital a week ago Sunday. He too was diagnosed with kidney failure, only his disease had advanced much more quickly, and his prognosis was very poor. The vet gave him "a couple of weeks, maybe" to live. It was a complete shock, and I was devastated. Here I'd been saying a long goodbye to Senior Kitty for months, and now my baby kitty, the one I raised from a wee thing was fading before my eyes. Little kitty stayed in the hospital for a few days on IV fluids before I made the decision to bring him home. That was Wednesday. Despite many medications and the administration of both IV and subcutaneous fluids, he did not improve very much. He withdrew from us and hid in the bathroom. He stopped playing. He couldn't jump very well anymore. He no longer came to me when I called him. Even when I rubbed his chin, his most favorite thing in the world, he stopped purring altogether.

I agonized all week. I visited him in the hospital and brought him tunafish. I cried. I sat with him. I talked to him. Once at home, I desperately tried to administer various medications that he stubbornly refused to take. I cried some more. I lost sleep. I even found myself getting angry at Senior kitty for having monopolized so much of my time and attention the last few months - something that wasn't his fault at all, but I couldn't help myself. I did not want to put Little kitty down. But I couldn't deny he was suffering. I knew his kidney levels were sky-high, and they were not going to improve. I knew there wasn't any cure. I knew I had to do the humane thing, and it was killing me.

Saturday he made his last trip to the vet. As I filled out the euthanasia consent form my hands trembled and shook. I still don't know how I managed to exectute the final signature through my tears. Mr. F and I stayed with him as they administered the anesthesia, but I could not stay for the final, lethal dose. I cradled his still little form in my arms as long as I could and stroked his fur, which was damp in places from my tears. I told him over and over that I loved him. That it was ok for him to go. That he was a very good kitty, the bestest ever.

I always knew it would be hard for me when his time came. I never thought it would be so soon, or so sudden. Never in a million years did I think we'd lose Little kitty before Senior kitty. I think I'm still in a bit of shock, to be honest.

Every day I miss him more, and find more things that hurt: Passing by the pet food aisle in the market. The bottles of remaining prescription medicine with his name on them sitting on top of the fridge. Seeing another cat frolic outside in the grass. Looking at his food dish, now clean and sadly empty, sitting unused on the counter. Being able to shut a door behind me, and not hear his little paws scratching for me to open it. Sweeping up the remnants of his fur, wispy little black tumbleweeds, from the hardwood floors.

I still am having a hard time coming to grips with it, especially knowing that soon Senior kitty will be gone too, perhaps very soon. It's too much all at once. Too much, too hard.
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