Sunday, August 20, 2017

Doubly unfair...

On the heels of losing Beatrice, this is extra heartbreaking...

On Friday, I took Millicent the vet because she had suddenly lost a lot of weight. On top of that, the other day, I felt a disturbing lump on the side of her abdomen.

I had a bad feeling as soon as I felt that, but I tried to tell myself it could be hyperthyroidism (like Mootie has) or maybe her dewormer hadn't been effective, or...

but no. Millicent has a huge, aggressive tumour in her abdomen that will take her life, probably in a matter of weeks but you never know.

You can see the mass sticking up from her side (top) in the photo. It came out of nowhere and now fills most of her abdominal cavity. Her x-ray was appalling. As soon as I saw Dr. Dave's face as he palpated the lump, I knew we were f*cked.

So far, she is not experiencing any pain, and she is eating quite well (feeding the tumour, losing her healthy weight.) The most likely progression will be for the tumour to begin to block her digestive tract, so we will be watching her closely for vomiting or any other signs of a blockage, at which point we will have to have her euthanized. For now, she is taking prednisone twice a day, in the hopes that it will stimulate her appetite (which right now is good) and also possibly shrink the tumour a bit. I will take any time it gives us, but it is unlikely to be much. At the same time, she's tolerating the prednisone well and seems her usual self, apart from suddenly being bone-thin.

Millicent is only 3 years old and perhaps the sweetest cat I own. She gets along with all of our other cats and is just so special to us. Here is the bio I wrote about her for our farm website:

This sweetheart of a cat sticks her tongue out and drools when you pet her. Millicent was abandoned at a nearby farm when her elderly owner was sent to a nursing home. Sometime after that, another neighbour noticed a starving cat at the empty property and began feeding her. Over the next three months, this woman (a senior citizen herself) fattened Millicent up nicely, but she couldn't offer her a home, so she asked a mutual friend of ours if Gordon and I would take Millicent as a barn cat. She kindly offered to pay for her spay surgery as well. So now Millicent moved in.

She is very shy but she is also very affectionate, and loves to be cuddled. She has been slowly coming out of her shell, but when humans have left you to starve, it takes a while to trust them again. We couldn't be happier having Millicent with us. She was born sometime in 2015 and that mark on her forehead is a patch of grey, not dirt. We adopted Millicent on September 9, 2016.

I am angry and sad. I wanted Millicent to have a long life with us, just as I wanted foster kitty Beatrice to have a couple of beautiful years in her new home with our friends  Sharron and David. I know this is just how life works, but it sucks. I have some other lovely things to post about (we have eight foster kittens here right now!) and I will, but today I am just hurting for our sweet cat. All we can do now is give her as much love as possible for whatever time she has left to us. And then she will go join Beatrice, and our old fluffy orange guy Julius, and all the other beloved pets on the other side.

Just a beautiful little kitty soul.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Damn it...

Beatrice went to the Rainbow Bridge today...

Beatrice soaking up some sun in her new home.

This summer, I fostered Beatrice for a while for a local rescue organization, then my friends Sharron and David adopted her a few weeks ago, and gave her the most wonderful, loving home a cat could ever imagine. We all thought that this blind, geriatric feline would squeeze a few years out of life yet (her initial veterinary check-up went very well!) I was thrilled to think about her enjoying the kind of love and care she was clearly being denied when she was taken from her previous owners with her fur so matted, it clung to her like a turtle shell and hampered her movement.

Sharron came to visit Beatrice regularly while she was with me, then made me the happiest kitty-fosterer around when she said they were going to adopt this old gal. At her new home, Beatrice was given a comfy new bed in a patch of sunshine, walks in the grass, and so much more. Most of all, she was given love. I consider myself a poet, but I can't find the words to describe how touched I was by Sharron and David offering to adopt this cat. I could see what a beautiful, affectionate little soul she was, but not many people are going to be willing to take on a 16-year-old blind cat. But then, Sharron and David are special that way. They did not overlook this dear little cat.

Whispering in Beatrice's ear about the great things about to happen to her!

Sharron got to work figuring out how she would introduce Beatrice to their other two kitties, and how she would keep this blind cat safe as she wandered around her new home. Sharron took Beatrice for a "spa day" at the groomer's. We talked about how gorgeous her coat would be once it grew back in (when she was rescued, most of her fur was shaved to remove the mats.) I loved hearing Sharron tell me about how well Beatrice was settling into her new abode. She was quite fearless about jumping on and off the couch!

Then a few days ago, Beatrice started throwing up bile and began turning up her nose at food. Long story short, and after a lot of veterinary care, today they discovered a large tumour in her stomach that was spreading. She was having trouble eating and had lost a substantial amount of weight in a very short time, and the prognosis was poor. So my friends made the difficult decision to put Beatrice to sleep this afternoon.

So many hearts are broken tonight! Some people will never understand how a pet can become a beloved part of your family, but I certainly do, and I know how quickly Sharron and David became attached to this little beauty; she certainly charmed me in the time she was with us. They had planned to give her everything she had previously been denied, but in this case, life has been cruel. The one thing I can say is that, while I know this is so sad for my friends, and I wish I could spare them the pain of losing their kitty, and I question myself, (I wonder if I missed a sign? Should I just have kept her knowing how old she was?) part of me is just so glad they took her home. Because for a few weeks, she had it all, and she truly knew what it was to be cherished and loved by humans. I could not be more grateful to Sharron and David for that.

And that's why I keep doing this rescue work, even though it can be heart-breaking, emotionally and financially draining, and painful. I do it because I believe every animal deserves love, respect and decent care. And Beatrice finally got that! I just wish with all my heart that she had been able to stick around to enjoy it a bit longer.

I love animals and I always will, but they sure do smash your heart into pieces sometimes. Please send kind thoughts to Sharron and David, who are grieving tis sweet cat.

I hope she is chasing butterflies through fields of catnip now, eyesight completely restored.

Beatrice, you were loved.