Tuesday, March 04, 2014

RIP Blue Kitty


Blogging has gone by the wayside, thanks to the immediacy of Facebook, so this post is a week old, but still as painful to write.

My beloved alleged Russian Blue kitty (Samsara's Indigo aka Sam aka Blue) passed away in my arms here at home a week ago tonight. He was not even 10 years old yet.

In November, he'd started acting "off". He was mincing his food, and had lost a little weight. I thought it was a tooth abscess like Zander had (Zander is fine, BTW, and turned 16 today). It was an abscess, but it took a second vet to find that 10 days later. The first vet missed it, did bloodwork, and discovered Blue had signs of kidney failure and was severely dehydrated. Whether it was acute (curable) or chronic was yet unknown.

We were sent home from Vet #1 with subQ treatments, special food, and a phosphate binder (Epakitin). He wasn't eating. I tried a bazillion ways to get food into him, glued myself to the internet, and finally resorted to bottle-feeding puree of Purina NF from a feeding syringe. At the beginning, he was so out of it and reluctant to eat that I was lucky if I got 5ml into him every 48 hours.

My gut said "second opinion". Vet #2 confirmed the CRF, found the abscess, gave him a powerful antibiotic shot, and then he had dental extractions December 4th.


He came home ravenous, ate more than I'd seen him eat in weeks (and more than I ever would again), and slowly but surely began to bounce back. I added two more kidney support supplements (RenAvast, Azodyl). His appetite improved. He still wasn't keen on regular wet food, so we had a round the clock bottle-feeding regimen when I wasn't at work. He began to gain a little weight, his personality came back, and he was about 97% "back".

Then at the beginning of February, the initial symptoms returned. The constant lip licking. The refusing of food. The mee-yawning (where he yawns and meows at the top of the yawn). The hunched pose. The hiding. The really nasty breath. The withered dried up puckered look. The jaw grinding. I couldn't see an abscess, but gave him some antibiotics and a teeny dose of pain meds just in case. It didn't seem to do much.

I had just paid property tax and had about $60 to my name until the next paycheck in two weeks, so I just prayed this was just a setback, and that we could see the vet soon.

And then came the trouble breathing.

Thursday Feb 20th, I rushed him to the ER vet because he was breathing funny. The vaporizer didn't help. Thank God a friend had loaned me $200 in cash because I had nothing to give them otherwise and they expect payment before services are rendered. (No Good Samaritan fund there.)

Chest x-ray clear. Blood work awful. Oxygen tank helped some, but in their opinion, he was shutting down and might not make it through the night.

Their offerings: either hospitalize him in oxygen ($400) until we could see our vet in the morning if we wanted another opinion, or put him down.

I chose door #3. Take him home and see what happens.

He made it through the night. My vet (#2) echoed the idea that he was shutting down and waited for me to give the go-ahead for the goodbye shot.

Again, I opted for door #2, asked for a strong antibiotic shot instead (in the event it was an infection, which both had said it COULD be but probably wasn't). I wasn't going to put down my beloved soul mate knowing there might be a 0.00000001% chance it was curable, so we got the shot and went home.

He didn't change all weekend. Didn't get better, didn't get worse. My last ditch effort was to try steroids in case it was asthma (which, given how filthy I discovered our main living area was when I cleaned it that weekend, was likely, along with other symptoms he'd shown over the years that I'd blown off as nothing). Monday, he got steroids.

Tuesday morning, he was still the same. I figured that by Wednesday, he'd either be responding to the steroids, and we'd all be breathing better... or he'd be dead (if he really was shutting down).

When I got back from work Tuesday, he was in worse shape. That's when I knew. So I just gathered him in my arms, sang to him, held him, told him what a wonderful cat he'd been, and loved him until he departed. There was no time to get to the vet. Which was good because he didn't have to die in a cold sterile room, but bad because I couldn't get him relief from the respiratory distress.

I'm still in shock, and I can't understand why the remaining four aren't the least bit bothered by it. I still have Ophelia (19), Zander (16 today!), Jake (14 on 3/23) and Blue's litter brother Tyler (9), but they're unaffected.

I'm both upset with them about that, and envious that they can go on without the devastation I'm enduring. The house feels incredibly empty without him; I'd never realized what an enormous presence he had. He filled the whole room with his charisma and personality. He loved me like no cat has ever loved me, and I returned that love with an obsessive passion myself.

He was my most beloved cat, my heart cat, my bottle-fed baby orphan, my Little Blue Kitten.

Once upon a time, I had what looked to be a bonafide Russian Blue.

I will never be the same. Rest, my beloved, and return to me when you are ready.

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