Sunday, May 18, 2008

That's All the Time We Have

We got some bad news this week. Miss Daisy Kittycat, eldest of our four feline companions, is suffering kidney failure. She's had some weight loss of late, but we attributed that to an effort to avoid free feeding to cut down her calories.

Last Sunday, however, she started turning down Pounce, which never happens. She's always been motivated by flavor.

We took her to the vet thinking maybe she had some dental pain because she did finally accept soft canned food, but midday we learned he'd tested creatin levels and found them to be at about the worst.

He began some fluid treatments and by Friday the levels were better and her personality was chipper, so she's home for the weekend and sitting on my lap demanding my hand as I type.

Time can bring you down
It's hard to know how long she will retain a decent quality of life, but for the moment she's hanging in. She'll get more treatments next week.

At 10 1/2 it just seemed like we'd have longer with her, as Christine noted tearfully Wednesday night. Cats can often live until 20 or older, and it's Monty, the oldest Tom in the house--besides me--that we've worried about the most.

Time can bend your knees
Daisy came to us as a kitten, first out of the box when she and her litter mates were dropped off by one of Christine's co-workers so that we could choose the one we'd adopt.

We wound up taking her and her brother, Cleo, who was unfortunately killed only a few months later when a neighbor's cat chased him away from our house. Daisy became an inside cat only a short time later, something I've sometimes felt bad about, but theory is that inside cats are safer.

Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
The nights she was at the vet reminded me, even with other cats around, what the absence of her "personality" feels like. She's different from the boys, possessed of a sweetness and femininity that makes her unquestionably special and unique.

Robin Williams' Popeye was not a hit but when it was about to be released, there was a Popeye float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from which one of the film's song was performed. "Sweet Haven! God must love us..." was the chorus.

I've long substituted by own lyrics:

"Miss Daisy, God must love us. Miss Daisy!"

She dispelled any notions I had early on that cats are aloof, and as I tried to coax her to eat the special diet food the vet sent home for her, I remembered how strong her spirit has always been.

When she was spayed, her body rejected the stitches. I remember watching her eat a few days after surgery, even though she clearly felt terrible, her fur ruffled and ears turned down. The stitches gave way on a Saturday night and we had to call the vet and rush her to the office where plain cotton stitches and rounds of antibiotics were required to spur healing.

That feels like it was like yesterday, just as does the time she slipped through a hole in our fence and got nabbed by animal control, and I had to go bail her out of the pound.

Time can break your heart, have you begging please
She has curled on me most nights to sleep for as long as I can remember, has climbed into every box that's come into the house to claim it, inspect it and sleep in it and has kept the males at bay with a strong will. She forces her head between my palm and the telephone handset if I'm talking to someone and not paying attention to her.

At least this has come with warning, forcing me to slow down and cherish every poke and prod she gives me, demanding attention. My father died from kidney failure as well, but we had some good hours the days he was in hospice as he declined.

My doctor once told me it probably is not good for my lower back to have the Daisy-weight when she sleeps on my spine, but I think I'll try to tolerate it.

Hopefully that will be a good while longer.

Addendum - 2015
Miss Daisy exceeded all expectations for a cat with chronic renal failure. She responded well to care and remained with us until Dec. 4, 2015. She continued to sleep on my legs or at my side most of that time.

She breathed her final breath resting peacefully in her bed between Christine and I at our veterinarian in Orlando where we moved in 2012.

More details on her passing are here.


Erik Donald France said...

My heart goes out to y'all, Sid. All good health.

Sidney said...

Thanks, Erik. I appreciate the thoughts.

Miladysa said...

I do hope that you will have the pleasure of her company for many years to come.

The vets [or doctors] can be proved wrong.

I have my fingers crossed for you all. :-D

Sphinx Ink said...

I am sharing your Tears in Heaven. My heart goes out to you and Christine as you must face the inevitable--I hope it's later rather than sooner. I've had a couple of cats who lived to be 19 and 20 years old, and when they died it was like losing children. They were children of my heart.

Sidney said...

Thanks Milady and Sphinx. Child of My Heart is a good way to put it.

Charles Gramlich said...

A very heartfelt post. A Good illustration of how much pets can give us. That humans can feel such things when a pet is ailing says something good about the human race. Hope she still has many more good days.

AvDB said...

Poor baby kitty. You know, she looks exactly like my late Elwood--enough to make my heart skip when your page loaded. He had restrictive cardiomyopathy that spurred kidney failure. He had some good months remaining after the diagnosis and I was glad for it. Enjoy Miss Daisy for as long as you can, and she'll do the same.

Lana Gramlich said...'re making me cry. I can sympathize, as I had as beloved a friend years ago & had to do what I had to do at the end. That cat was one of the best people I've ever met. *hugs*

Shauna Roberts said...

I missed this post earlier and am sending my best wishes now. I hope Miss Daisy is continuing to improve.

I was where you are 3-1/2 years ago when both of my cats (from the same litter) were diagnosed with kidney disease AND thyroid disease. Susato lived another 2-1/2 years.

Dulcinea's diagnosis sent me into many months of anxiety and panic. I felt the way you described yourself feeling. I I thought she was going to die any day. She, who had been 13 pounds at one point, dropped below 7 pounds. Her hair was ratty, she didn't want to move, and she wouldn't eat.

Believe it or not, Dulci is still alive today. She still gets fluids, but not nearly as often as at the beginning. She's up to 10 pounds now. She developed high blood pressure as a result of the kidney disease, so in addition to the fluids, she takes pills twice a day—a blood pressure pill, a thyroid suppressant pill, a pill for inflammatory bowel, and every three days an appetite stimulant. But she's happy. She spends a lot of time purring in my arms and lying in the sun.

Every cat is different, of course. But Dulci's story shows that cats with kidney disease can sometimes be kept stable for a long time. May your cat live as long as Dulci and be as happy.

Sidney said...

She is hanging in Shauna, thanks for the thoughts. She's getting SubQ every day and an anemia medication three times a week. On her last vet visit the doctor thought her readings were pretty good. She'd been in kind of bad shape on her last visit, so he was glad to see that improvement. We don't know how long she has but today she has been in good spirits.

Shauna Roberts said...

I'm glad Miss Daisy is doing well. I hope you are too. I know all too well that waking up every morning with a knot in the stomach wondering, "Is today the day?" and constantly watching the litter box, water bowl, and food bowl for possible indications of how the cat is doing.

Shauna Roberts said...

I'm glad Miss Daisy is doing well. I hope you are too. I know all too well that waking up every morning with a knot in the stomach wondering, "Is today the day?" and constantly watching the litter box, water bowl, and food bowl for possible indications of how the cat is doing.

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