Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goodbye Kitty

I haven't felt much like writing this week because we've had a dying cat in our bedroom, which can be very depressing. Kitty could be one of the meanest, nastiest cats you ever met, or one of the nicest. One second she would be sitting on you purring and rubbing her head against you, and the next, she would turn, bite, slash (often drawing blood), and run before you could react. But her extra-super-loud purr made up for a lot. I've never heard a cat with such a loud purr.She disliked most humans, but she absolutely hated all other cats. Bill and his kids have had several cats over the years, and she hated all of them. She had been an only cat for a while when I moved in with Bill, bringing Isis and Smokey. For about two years they were relegated to William's bedroom, the laundry room, and the kitchen - about 1/3 of the house. She wouldn't allow them past the kitchen. If they did, they risked sudden ambush. Isis (half again as big as Kitty, but not very bright) would wander out occasionally, and come flying back with Kitty in hot pursuit. Then she would hiss at Smokey. We don't think Isis's eyesight is very good, because she often couldn't tell Kitty from Smokey - with whom she had lived all her life. Smokey just stayed mostly in the bedroom; she was terrified of Kitty.Isis and Smokey couldn't even sit in a warm window without being tormented. Kitty was an indoor-outdoor cat, while the other cats are indoor only, and if they decided to sit in the sun next to a window, she would suddenly jump at the window and hit the screen with a crash. This petrified them (a squirrel used to frighten them in the same way at my old house - they really are a couple of wusses).

Kitty was actually Bill's son's cat. She slept with him and loved him in her own way, although he does have scars where she scratched him over the years. Then he got a new kitten - Alice.After Alice arrived, things started going downhill for Kitty. She was physically unable to defend her territory against three cats, one of whom was a boisterous kitten and not afraid of her. First Isis started venturing further out; usually to play with Alice. Then Smokey occasionally tiptoed out.

Kitty was getting old. To make matters worse, she also started losing her teeth. Once the other cats realized she was vulnerable, the tables were turned. She had to sneak around the house risking ambush. She couldn't move without being attacked, and started spending all her time outside. She was really miserable.

Her life changed again about a year and half ago when someone managed to snag her head with a claw, and she developed a really painful abscess and ended up with a cone on her head and drains in her ear and cheek. We had to keep her separated from the other cats so we kept her in our bedroom. Bill has never in his life allowed cats to sleep in his bedroom. He was adamant that cats don't belong there, whereas I've slept with my cats since I got my first one when I was about nine. For Kitty, he was willing to share.

She finally felt safe again, gained weight and thrived. She got to go outside whenever we were home, and sleep on us at night - often purring so loudly I had trouble sleeping. Sometimes she would get what Bill calls a wild hair, and dash around the room in the middle of the night, sometimes running over our heads. But most of the time, all she wanted was to be petted...and the occasional taste of human skin.

Then she started rapidly losing weight. Bill feeds the cats and last week he said that she hadn't eaten anything for three days. I took her to the vet, who found a mass in her abdomen that turned out to be enlarged lymph nodes. She had moderate to severe lymphoma. We started her on Prednisone, and crossed our fingers, but she kept going downhill. One night she lay on the end of the bed and didn't move all night, but we could hear her purring. Every time she stopped purring, Bill sat up and touched her to see if she was still alive, and she would start purring again.

Yesterday, Bill took her in to get a boost of sub-cutaneous fluids, and they discovered that her ears and gums were turning green, which meant that she was in acute liver failure, so it wasn't really hard to make the decision. She wasn't in pain yet, but she would be soon. He said the whole time he sat with her she never stopped purring.

I always felt a little sorry for her because she never rated an actual name, but at least we have a framed portrait of her, taken a few years ago by Bill's son, on our wall:

Kitty (Early 1994 - February 20, 2009)
Classic Kitty Expression


Kia said...

I'm so sorry. It's never easy to lose a pet.

iambilly said...

You have my sympathy. Losing a cat, even a bipolar one, is losing a family member. Peace.

Barry Leiba said...


Laurie said...

Thanks everyone...
Bill thanks you, too.