September 20, 2009

Sad Cat News AGAIN

Well, geez. I have more sad cat news.

On Friday evening, I was heading upstairs after tucking the kids in, and our cat Louis (YES, I am giving a CAT a pseudonym, and I realize that's a little paranoid, but dudes, I write frankly about my mother-in-law here) (his real name is 01iver) was curled up on the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, which is highly unusual but he looked comfy so whatever. I paused to pet him, and he stood up to get harder pettings but he wasn't standing on one of his back legs. I carried him up the stairs to get a closer look and saw he had a bunch of scrapes and bites. I sighed, because he is TOO OLD to keep getting in cat fights, but he does it like once a week.

I tried to clean the two little matted/bloody spots on his leg, but he didn't like the look of the sink so I gave up. We settled him into the shoebox he likes in the computer room and he seemed fine---purring and squeezing his eyes and going to sleep.

In the morning, he was still there---and he ALWAYS sleeps on our bed, with in fact annoying persistence, so that was weird, but you know cats: weird. Paul picked him up and he mrowwwwwwwwwed so Paul put him down again, and we could see he still wouldn't put weight on his leg.

I felt like a dork calling the vet on a Saturday morning (their urgent-care hours) for what was probably going to be "Uh huh, yes, this cat's diagnosis is 'owies' and 'too old for this crap'," but...well, since Georgie, I've been a little more skittish about the cats.

And here I would like to make a long story shorter by saying that Louis's leg was shattered. Shattered. The vet thinks he was probably hit by a car. She gave him a huge dose of painkillers right away. And then she told me my options, and for a 15-year-old cat there was really only one good option, and yet there were officially other options and it feels bad to say, "No, I don't want to spend the $3,000---let's just have him die instead." But that is what I did. And then I brought him home and buried him in the back yard next to where Georgie is buried.

I was less upset this time. Last time I was a bit of a basket case, I think because it was all totally new and it gave me a Brush With Mortality along the lines of "OMG WE ARE !!!ALL!!! GOING TO DIE AND ROT AND THIS CANNOT BE PREVENTED!!!" whereas this time it was more like, "I remember where I left the shovel, and this time I will change into junky shoes first, and shoot I forgot it was pretty rooty over here but I guess I'll persevere so he can be next to Georgie."

Also, this time it was not TWILIGHT and POURING RAIN, which eased the melodrama.

I do feel awful that he spent an entire night with a broken leg. I would almost go so far as to say I feel guilty about it, but I think guilt is an inappropriate emotion when wrongs have not been intentionally committed---and in fact, we tried to do RIGHT. I moved the leg and he didn't protest, and I carried him around and he was purring, so my tests to establish whether this was an Emergency or not came back negative. Even the next day he seemed okay: I stuffed him into the cat carrier (oh, WINCE!) and he didn't fight it more than usual, and I pulled him out of the cat carrier (oh, WINCE WINCE WINCE!!) and he didn't protest. He seemed so okay, I felt like a dumbhead taking him to the vet.

But the vet tech just LOOKED at him and said, "Uh...oh. I want to warn you right now, that leg doesn't look good." So SHE knew right away, and I don't like it when something is obvious to someone else and so I end up feeling like I look neglectful/oblivious at best. It reminds me of when I brought Georgie in for a routine annual check-up and the vet immediately said, "...Does he always breathe like this?" and I didn't know what she was talking about, and it turned out he had congestive heart failure.

Well, whatever: I wish he hadn't spent a whole night with a broken leg.







95 comments:

ccr in MA said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

daysgoby said...

He was beautiful. And I'm so, so sorry.

nicole said...

I'm sorry Swistle. And you are not a vet, so some things probably are not supposed to be obvious to you. Still, I'm sorry your cat died and that you have lingering guilt.

Angie said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, Swistle. Poor kitty.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'm sorry you and he had to deal with this.. but, please don't feel too bad about the leg, he didn't show signs you should have recognized.

He was an old cat and he was very lucky to live with a family who clearly adored him. I agree with your decision, because -- as our vet told us with the last one we had to put down, "it just isn't right to do all this stuff to these poor old guys"...

Heather D. said...

I'm sorry Swistle. That sucks. He looks like a sweetie.

Mary said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He was a very handsome boy.

Nervous said...

Oh dear. I'm sorry for that you're having to deal with more sad cat news so soon, or at all. He looks like a sweet and tough kitty, and like Georgie I'm glad he got to live a good long life with you.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Rest in Peace, little kitties. I totally believe in heaven for animals where they are healthy and at peace.

Fay said...

Aww, sweet baby.

I second those who are saying, try not to feel too bad. Cats are strange creatures... hard to tell when they're really unhappy, or when they're just... being cats. Sigh.

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

I'm so sorry Swistle. You did the best you could so don't feel guilty. Don't let one night erase the lifetime of love you gave him. He was a lucky boy who clearly was loved.

Mimi said...

I'm so sorry! Both of your kitties were so precious. What lucky kitties they were to have you.

Miss Grace said...

I'm very and genuinely sorry about your cat. ((hugs))

And because I'm either the worst sympathizer ever, or else just OVERLY PRACTICAL, does this solve your towel problem? (I kid!)

Seriously babe, that sucks. Love and peace to your family.

Lindsay said...

Aww you guys were good to him. Look at the paragraph that starts "I tried..."

Love the pic of your daughter carrying him in the most uncomfortable way ever. What a good kitty for not clawing her in the face and running off to sleep in the towels.

Feel better Swistle Family!

Kristi said...

Rest in peace beautiful kitty - you defintely were loved! I love that last photo :)

Nowheymama said...

Oh dear. As if you don't have enough going on.

I'm sorry.

Swistle said...

Miss Grace- OMG, I thought of it too but didn't want to confess it! I was reading over the comments on the towel question and thinking about getting a big basket, and then I was like, "Orrrrrrrrrr....actually I guess I can just put them back on the shelf!" I've also thought about how nice it will be to seal off the drafty cat door (the remaining cat is indoor-only), and there will be no more dead moles/birds in the house, and I won't have to stress anymore about whether our neighbors hate having our cat traipsing through their yard.

Lippy said...

So so sorry for you guys. He was a beautiful cat. I am a cat person, and I just love how quirky they can be. But it does make it tough to tell when they aren't doing well.

Stimey said...

I am so sorry. And know that pets are so stoic so without a trained eye it is so hard to tell if they are hurting. Your kitties were so lucky to have you as their mom.

Clarabella said...

I'm so sorry, Swistle. How hard to lose 2 pets so close together.
I'm no expert (at ALL), but I have had a few unfortunate experiences with pets, and it sound to me like Louis/01iver might have been in shock, so he wouldn't have been acting like he was in terrible pain from a shattered leg (thus you wouldn't have known). It sounds terrible, but I as I understand it, shock sorta works as a defense-mechanism against pain. Don't blame yourself for not noticing earlier.
He was obviously a cat who was loved a lot.

Melissa said...

Oh, Swistle. I have so, so been there.

I have three dogs. When one of my dogs (Gertie) was a puppy, I was wrangling all three in the house. In a burst of craziness (She was in her first heat - starting the day before we had her scheduled to be fixed), she lept over my body as I was bending to let the last dog off the tether. And ran away. It was March and very icy/slushy. I ran in my bare feet after her. I saw her go over the berm to the busy road. I saw the jeep's brake lights and heard the squealing tires. And then! She came running right into my arms with her ears down. I picked her up and said, "Bad dog. You are such a bad dog." I carried her back to the house (barefoot, shivering, muddy). The other dogs were going mad because I was out of sight for 5 minutes. I put her in her crate (ok, shoved) and looked at her. For the first time i noticed she was standing at a weird angle. She would not come when I called her. She wouldn't move. Oh, god. The happy scenario where I figured she saw the car and came running back to me was instantly shattered.

I called my husband (hysterical) and took her to the vet. She never, ever made a squeak or a peep. Nothing. The vet said she'd be squeaking so maybe she just got brushed by the tire or something.

My 9 month old, 14 lb puppy had shattered her pelvis. SHATTERED.

So, I totally understand what you mean. We had no idea. I probably would have finished dinner and made it to the dentist if she hadn't been so ghostly quiet.

We had to totally immobilize her for six weeks. She had a "salvage surgery" where they removed the head of her femur. Then staples that she promptly chewed off. Then stitches and a cone. It was so, so awful.

The moral of the story is that sometimes animals don't act like us. You couldn't have known!

I'm sorry for your loss.

beyond said...

very sorry to hear this. from the photos it's obvious that this cat lived a very happy life...

Shelly Overlook said...

Oh no. I am so very sorry you lost another kitty. & can I just say for the record - I am DONE with sad kitty news/sick kitties. DONE. Do you hear me, Universe??

samantha said...

Oh NO! I'm so SORRY! I'm glad it was easier to you this time, for your sake. Not that this time isn't tragic or sad, but the emotional trauma attached to the situation is just as tough. And maybe it was less stressful this time too because it wasn't looming in front of you for weeks and weeks to dwell on. This was a clear-cut situation without a lot to think about.

I'm so sorry this happened. Those pictures showcasing his life are beautiful.

Cheryl said...

I'm so sorry. It's hard to lose a cat. He was a beauty.

Mommy Daisy said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry. Pets are so much part of our lives. I know how hard losing one is.

Sam said...

I'm looking at my Dude and SO GLAD that he is still here while very sorry that you lost another kitty. Poor Swistle! Fifteen years is a long time to love a cat, I want to visit you and give you a very big hug. And I'm not big into hugging. So sorry, dear. Don't beat yourself up about the injury, cats are just like that. Sometimes they purr when they aren't feeling well. It's a vibration thing. Hugs.

Karen said...

I'm sorry for your family's loss. RIP O1iver!

desperate housewife said...

I am so sorry. And- and also just sorry to be hearing MORE bad news. It feels like there has been a real shitstorm amongst myself and my friends lately, and I just can't wait to hear some HAPPY news for someone soon.
I'm glad it was easier this time, but I know it's never EASY.

Betty M said...

Poor you. Poor cat. I'm sorry - its not easy losing a pet.

d e v a n said...

Damn. That sucks, but I know exactly how you feel with the whole: other options thing and the money thing and the guilt thing. *sigh*

Lawyerish said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a sweet kitteh; he looks like he had a long and happy life with you.

nonsoccermom said...

Ugh, Swistle, I am so sorry for your loss.

Auntie G said...

I am so sorry.

ALW said...

Swistle, that is so terribly sad. You did the right thing. It's nice your cats can be together though.

Dynamita said...

Swistle, I am very sorry for your loss.


Re the towel issue... there is always a silver lining!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

So, so sorry!

alexis said...

so, so sorry. what an adorable, sweet kitty.

sarah said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.
I'm also glad that I'm not the only one whose next thought was--towel problem solved!

Mama Bub said...

Oh, oh, that pose on the couch is just the quintessential relaxed kitty pose, isn't it. Arm outstretched and all. I'm so sorry for your loss.

jird said...

I am so sorry. You did all the right things, though, not just now, but throughout his life. He was lucky to have you.

And it's perfectly okay to be happy about being able to put the towels on the shelf again.

Elle said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

So sorry for your loss.

Hotch Potchery said...

I'm so sorry, Swistle.

parkingathome said...

I'm just heartbroken for you. God, I wish I was close by so I could give you a hug

J from Ireland said...

I am sorry for you loss.
We had a loss ourselves this week and it been very difficult.

Joanna said...

I'm sorry you had to go through this again. Those are great photos of an obviously beloved and well-cared-for member of the family.

aibee said...

I reckon O1iver would have chosen to spend those last hours at home with you all.

I'm so sorry, Swistle. I really am.


xx

gretchen said...

I'm so sorry! We went through the same thing with our 23 year old cat, Imogene, a month ago. I have to believe that we both did the right thing.

Hairline Fracture said...

I'm so sorry. He was a beautiful cat.

nevermelts said...

I'm so sorry about your poor kitty. What a good boy he is, not complaining and purring and wanting to be Pet Harder.

Beth Fish said...

Thank goodness he had you there and willing to let him go without any more pain. And you went with what he told you, so that night must have been what he wanted.

Erica said...

I'm so sorry that Louis met such an unfortunate end, Swistle. He seems like a great cat judging from the way he's not killing your daughter in the photos.

Also, I know this makes me a total douchebag, but it does sort of solve the "towel situation," doesn't it?

Oh god, I'm SUCH a douchebag.

donna said...

Sorry for your loss. don't beat yourself up. Sounds like he was a tough cat and a good friend.

Snoopyfan said...

So sorry for your loss, he was a beautiful cat.

Celeste said...

Very very sorry for what happened and how.

Heather said...

Oh no! I'm so so sorry to hear about your kitty. My heart plummetted when I sat down at my computer this morning and saw the title of this post. How are the children handling it?

If he was purring, I think he took great comfort from you. Kinda sweet that he was able to show you one more time that he loved you.

Jess said...

Oh, no. I'm so sorry! And I can't believe how close this was to the last Sad Cat incident.

Also, this thing you said about guilt: "guilt is an inappropriate emotion when wrongs have not been intentionally committed"--I need to remember that. Though I am still feeling really guilty about the shitty thing that happened this weekend. But maybe eventually I won't anymore, if I can remember this.

Not to be cryptic. I'll blog about it tomorrow.

Again, I'm so sorry about your cat.

lenna said...

Swistle ~
I am so sorry for the loss of what seems to me was a darling, sweet cat. That he let your daughter carry him around like that tells me he was very loving.
My youngest son used to carry our cat Fleabag around like that and he never got upset.
Now this is what could have happened. You notice your cat has yellow around his ears where there is very little hair. You rush him to the vet. They have to do tests and take a sample of his liver to see if it is shutting down. You get a call at work and they tell you he died on the table. After you start crying and can not stop they say oh we brought him back. Back to what? They spend a few days trying to build him back up but they realize he needs a feeding tube put in. The results come back and his liver is fine but he is still yellow.
They try again to put the feeding tube in but it does not work. You show up at the vets office and they tell you he will never recover as he repeatedly crashes into the cage because he can no longer stand up on his own. He is now three times bigger than he was and the only option is to put him to sleep. $903 dollars later I do this to a sweet, layed back, gentle, funny caring cat. I have vowed to never again put a cat through that torture. After all they did they could not help him and he was only 10 years old at least Fleabag lived 16 years and he had feline aids.
Don't get me wrong vets are important and we need them but sometimes they can't help either.
Please, don't feel guilty. You are not a vet and you did not know he was so hurt.
Gizmo purred up until the end and I miss him everyday. If he and Fleabag are not in heaven when I get there I will be very upset. Not that it will do me any good.
The up side is ~ no post from Ellen ~ that's something.
Rest in peace dear cat Louis you will be very missed.
Hope your family is doing fine I will keep you in my prayers.
Take care and God Bless ~
Lenna

Cas said...

I'm so sorry. What a beautiful boy.

Kelly said...

Oh I'm so sorry!! I think you should stop feeling guilty. Again, if I believed in reincarnation, I'd be asking to come back as a cat at either your house or my mother's house. But I'm leaning strongly toward yours. It doesn't sound like he suffered that much. I mean, you did what you could for him and it was only one night and cats...they know things. he knew you were taking care of him. and I feel you on the money part of it. NO ONE wants to say "I can't afford to keep him alive so please put him to sleep" but its the practical thing sometimes. if he was 2 or 5 even...maybe. But at 15 that's a lot to put a cat thru...leg amputation or pins and screws or whatever.

be kind to yourself. You're a good momma!!!

I'm very sorry to hear about this.

Jewels said...

Oh I'm so sorry. I love that pic of him on the couch... I think cats look so cute with their feet folded up, like they don't HAVE feet!

marybt said...

Losing pets sucks. There's just no way around it. I'm sorry for your loss. :(

StephLove said...

I'm sorry. Really, really sorry. He was a beautiful cat. And you did the best you could.

Christine said...

He was such a beautiful and clearly patient boy. I am so, so sorry.

Kristin H said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. What a beautiful cat.

Tess said...

He seems to have had an outstanding life. I'm so sorry.

Safire said...

Awww...you and your poor family. I'm sorry for your loss.

Today Wendy said...

I'm so sorry Swistle. He looks like he was a lovely cat. I will admit to also thinking of the towel situation when I saw the photo of him sleeping on the towel shelf - and thinking that THAT wasn't the solution you'd been looking for.

Paula said...

I'm sorry. It's always so hard to lose a kitty.

Jen said...

Oh Swistle. I am so very sorry. He was a beautiful cat. Much love to you.

3carnations said...

I'm so sorry. It's so hard losing a pet. :-(

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, no. I am so sorry. That totally sucks to lose both kitties in such a short amount of time. I think it's wonderful you buried them next to each other (even if the tree roots made it difficult).

Bring A. Torch said...

It sounds like he was very well loved, and that you did the very best you could. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Alice said...

oh swistle, i'm so sorry. that's far to much Sad Cat News in a short amount of time :-(

Jen in MI said...

So sorry...

LoriD said...

Poor thing. He seemed like a lovely pet.

jessicabold said...

I am so sorry! I love gray cats... again...I know how hard that must be! We've got 3 and I'd be devastated!

www.Booshy.wordpress.com

Tara said...

Oh, Swistle. (((Hugs))). That STINKS, and there was really no way you could have known, and nothing else you could have done. You're not a vet, so you couldn't really tell the extent of the damage, and cats are famous for hiding their pain.

Poor kitty, poor Swistle & family. My heart goes out to you.

Shelly said...

I'm so sorry, Swistle. He was very beautiful and seems to have been very sweet, judging by the fact that he let your children drag him all over the place.

the new girl said...

For whatever reason, the pictures of Kids With [deceased] Pets makes me want to cry.

Probably because I'm 294 mos. pregnant but still.

I'm all choked up.

Whimsy said...

I'm so sorry, Swistle.

She Likes Purple said...

Oh, shit. I'm so so sorry.

Kim said...

Many have already said it, but I'll go ahead and say it too: I'm really sorry. My pet is my fur-kid, so these stories hit me hard.

Gina said...

Oh, that just SUCKS! I'm so sorry!

willikat said...

Oh my gosh, that SUCKS. I'm so sorry. So, so sorry. i can't even imagine how you feel... I agree with others--he could have been in shock, and pets often don't express pain the way we expect them to, so you did the best you could for him when you could. I think sometimes keeping pets alive at 15 or whatever when they are very much hurting and can have other side effects from accidents or illnesses is sometimes worse than choosing to put them to sleep.
No matter what, you gave him a great home and lots of love, and he totally forgave you since he stood up to get harder pets, so ... RIP Louis. And hugs to you.

Leah Rubin said...

Ooooh, it's so hard to lose a family member like him! You loved him well, and did right by him. You did everything you could, and he knew it. Keep those memories in your heart.

Leslie said...

For future reference -- I hope the nailed-shut cat door doesn't mean you won't be getting another pet -- cats purr for all kinds of crazy reasons besides being contented. Mine used to purr (and shed like crazy) at the vet because she was nervous. Purring from sick or injured cats isn't that unusual.

Trying to decipher what the purrs mean is, of course, as difficult as a toddler's babble. Given his lack of other symptoms, you couldn't have known.

AndreAnna said...

I'm so sorry to hear you had to fo through this again and lost a dear friend.

Thinking of you.

Lora said...

I read this on Sunday, and immediately cried into my cat for about two hours. I just never know what to say in these situations. I guess we aren't supposed to love our animals like they are our babies after we have babies, but it's impossible not too.

Love to your household.

Elayne said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. (First visit to your blog - shame it had to be on a sad note.)

Just a thought, for what it's worth: It's my opinion that purring is not only a way for a cat to *express* contentment, but also a way for a cat to *induce* contentment. Sort of like biofeedback, if you're familiar with that... to the extent that cats can "think" like this, the thought process might be something like, "When I feel happy, I purr - if I keep purring, maybe I'll start feeling happy."

I truly believe it's a... not sure of what word to use, they all seem too anthropomorphizing, but a "coping mechanism" or a self-soothing technique. Cats in labor purr; cats in pain purr; cats in fear purr. I rescued a cat that'd been hit by a car and had a shattered hip and pelvis; he purred nonstop from the time I got him into the car until the vet anesthetized him for the surgery (he was a kitten so he stood a better chance of recovering).

The only reason I mention this is, a lot of your readers/commentors seem to be fellow cat lovers, and maybe might find themselves in the same situation - wanting to do the best possible thing for their pet, but being lulled into a false sense of "He's okay, it can't be that bad" by the purring.

Anyway, I'm so sorry - I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you gave him a good life (it's obvious) and did the best you could for him at the end.

Farrell said...

broken leg? Hit by a car? how terrible.
So, so sad.
:(
I'm sorry.

Tina G said...

Oh man. I am so sorry. What a beautiful cat- I bet he and Georgie are playing some fun games up in kitty heaven. I can't even bear to think of the day when one of our three dies. HUGS.

pseudostoops said...

Oh SWISTLE. I am so so sorry. Big hugs.

MoCo Mom said...

Oh crap, now I'm crying. Yes, we are still snowed in in MD and I'm still reading your old posts and may very well continue in this fashion all weekend (well, in between shoveling out neighbors, and feeding the kids). Crap. I know it's old news now and you're considering whether to add a new cat now, but still. Crap. @mocomom #lovethekitties