Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Good-Bye Sweet Friend
This is, without a doubt, going to be the hardest post I've ever had to write, but I have to just go ahead and get it over with. Ya'll know Grendal had been sick lately, with what the vet said was asthma, but it turned out to be a bit more serious than that and she passed away at 2:30 a.m. on the first day of this new year. After I had taken her to the doctor back in December she did seem to improve somewhat but I noticed that by Christmas her breathing was somewhat labored again but she was still eating and all, just sleeping a lot. I was giving her some natural asthma meds and tried a little Benedryl too, which did seem to help some. She got a bit of an appetite after taking that. By Sunday though, she was refusing most food and water and wouldn't get up much. I gave her a tad more Benedryl and a little respiratory antibiotic I had and early Monday she was up and moving around, so I thought perhaps it was bronchitis or pneumonia, something that could be cured. I had to take her to another vet because the one I had been using was still closed for remodeling but they were very kind and saw her immediately. The look on the doctor's face when I told him how she was acting did not indicate good news however. A couple of X-rays later and it was confirmed to him that she probably had FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) which there is no cure for. There is no real test for it either, nor a vaccine but he said if he could draw some of the fluid off her chest it would help him diagnose it further and help her breathe, so I said okay. They drew off a fair amount and it did seem to help her. It also confirmed his diagnosis. He was very kind and honest and I appreciated that. He gave her a shot that he said would help make her more comfortable and he seemed to think she might have some time, maybe a few weeks. So, I went from thinking it was maybe an infection from asthma to being told she only had a short time to live.
I took her home and she did seem to feel a little better, even eating and drinking a good bit right away but in a couple of hours her breathing was very hard again. By this time the vet was closed again and wouldn't reopen until today. We tried to make her as comfortable as we could and she didn't seem to be in pain, just breathing hard. But I know that in itself is uncomfortable. Around midnight she didn't want to lay in her bed anymore but wanted to be on the floor, so I got a pillow and laid on the floor with her. She always seemed to enjoy that. I talked to her and assured her if she felt it was time to go that I would be okay. I told her she had done a good job of looking after me those many years I was single but I had Jack now and she didn't need to worry. She could go rest if she wanted to. I don't feel I gave up on her but was simply willing to trade her discomfort for mine. About 2 hours later she was gone.
I know many people don't care for cats or understand how people can get very attached to pets but she was something else. She was not really a pet but really like a friend. Never a time that I was sick and in bed that she was not right there beside me the whole time.
I guess in a lot of ways, she was much like me too. She could be a grumpy ol' turd if you got too close to her tail and she did not care for other animals at all. But she was a better person than a lot of humans I know, and though never a pushy or demanding cat, she welcomed everybody that came into the house.
She was never a great hunter cat and had gotten kinda pudgy over the years but she always kept her manners. She was a southern cat after all, you know. She always amazed the people at the vet clinics, the few times she had to go, because she never freaked out or got upset being in a place like that. They were always delighted at how she would just sit calmly on the exam table and "chat" with the doctor when he talked to her. She was better at taking shots than me even!
Even with me, she would always "ask" to get on the couch with me. She would wait patiently on the floor until I noticed her and asked her to come sit with me. Or she might poke me gently with her paw to get my attention.
We buried her behind the house, under the dogwoods and ferns. It's a cool, peaceful place and in the spring I'll plant some catnip beside her grave. She loved her some catnip.
So, good-bye sweet friend. I miss you terribly but I am glad you can rest now.