Requiem for Kylie
I just got back from putting Kylie to sleep. I am a blubbering wreck. I have never had to make that kind of decision before, and I always thought that I would rather she just died on her own than for me to have to make that decision, but seeing her so miserable yesterday and getting worse and worse, I could not bear to see her suffer any more than she has already.
This has all happened so fast, not even 2 weeks! At least that means she wasn't suffering long, and really only miserable for 3 days, since for the week after her eye she was okay. Hindsight is always 20/20 of course. As of Friday afternoon I had hope for just the thyroid issue, which would explain voracious thirst and possibly high pressure on the eye, but she had only been drooling a few hours, and she was still attempting to eat, making a giant drooly mess of both her water dish and food dish, so I kept cleaning her water dish to give her fresh water, not realizing until late Sunday that the 2 liter reservoirs of water in the kitchen and my bathroom have only gone down 1/2" since Friday night, and she's been trying to drink every 15-30 minutes, so obviously no water was actually getting into her. She stopped trying to eat her dry food Saturday morning which could have been just being finicky, but after the party was over she didn't even try the dry food. I tried giving her some wet food Sunday night and she eagerly licked at it, but never finished and just got it all over her face, chin & front paws as another drooly mess. I didn't realize until last night the coughing she was doing when trying to drink is that she can't swallow. I didn't realize until Sunday afternoon that she hadn't used the litter box in over 24 hours. I was clinging to my hope that it was something treatable and not looking for more problems or connecting the dots. Saturday night was as bad for meowing, drooling and cuddling attempts as Friday night, which meant 2 nights of no sleep for me but at least that meant she was still jumping up onto the bed. Sunday morning she started having trouble walking, like her back hips were sore. Throughout the day she kept gingerly walking around with an arched back, looking for somewhere comfortable, trying every water source she could find like the shower, and even the open toilet by hanging into it from the seat, like maybe different water would work better. She kept wanting to lay outstretched on the tile, or on the carpet, and she would moan and meow for help, breaking my heart each time. If she did hide somewhere and stop meowing, then I would get paranoid and go searching for her, wondering if I would just find her dead. Yesterday I was already a wreck, but today is worse.
Last night Kylie did not even attempt to cuddle, which means I got some sleep, but I woke up in terror that maybe lack of meowing meant something worse. I heard her in the litter box when I woke up so I went to watch. It looked like she was trying to pee but nothing was happening, and she gave up without burying anything. When I talked to my mom yesterday afternoon she recommended I write up all the symptoms and she'd send them to our family vet who is also a close church friend, which I did. I really wish I could find a vet like that around here. He emailed me back with some hope about the thyroid but to check the eye first, but he ended with it could be a tumor causing it all, which is what I had actually already worried about over a week ago when it was just sneezing & eye pressure. Hearing her moan, seeing her so listless, not grooming at all, drool matting her chin & front paws, was horrible to watch and not being able to do anything for her, and through the evening she kept seeming more listless and miserable. She didn't even want to be held or cuddled last night. I was beginning to let myself put everything together that I don't think she's going to make it and her body was just shutting down, so I called my mom this morning, she had talked to the family vet again last night, and since Kylie had gotten so much worse so fast, he was recommending to end her suffering, thinking it was most likely a brain tumor causing the sneezing, eye pressure and now lack of ability to swallow. Unless there was some magic treatment, which I doubted, I was afraid I might come home from work and find her dead, and my mom told me she agreed with our family vet just to end it so she's not suffering any longer. I called my vet again which is just Banfield at PetSmart, told them she has gotten so much worse since Friday, not swallowing anything and no litter box use so I was afraid this could be the end, and they said I could come in right away at 9am. That vet said Kylie was really dehydrated, they weighed her twice since she'd lost a whole pound in a week (10lbs to 9lbs), but even though I was saying I can't bear to see her suffering, that vet called & got me an emergency appointment at the specialist office I was originally going to call first thing this morning if it was still just thyroid. I drove straight over, finally got into a room. Kylie was so miserable she wasn't even doing her nervous panting during car rides and vet visits, nor was she fighting when picked up or taken out of the carrier. After explaining everything and saying I wanted to stop her suffering, that vet recommended keeping her overnight in ICU, possibly 2 nights, rehydrating her, then doing ultrasound & other poking and prodding, then once they investigated I would have an informed decision. I had no faith anything they found could be remedied since she was an old cat, old enough for things to just stop working, and the thought of her last days being in a scary hospital away from me, being poked & prodded & more miserable, I just couldn't bear and I told them so. I said if she could understand we were trying to help her that would be one thing, but since she can't I couldn't bear the thought of her thinking I deserted her & left her in a scary place when she was already so miserable. If she was a younger cat, not the estimated 14, maybe even 16 years old, perhaps I would have agreed to that $2000, but I really believe her body was done, and since she wasn't dying quickly and was so obviously miserable, I couldn't subject her to more misery.
The extra irony is that my dad is coming this weekend to help me install my new master bathroom vanity cabinet that I specifically ordered to fit the fancy new CatGenie self-washing litter box that Kylie was finally happy with. We will still install the cabinet, granite top, faucet and new valves and drain, but it will be very bittersweet that the original reason is not around anymore. I hope to get another kitty eventually, so hopefully I can train that kitty to use the fancy litter box too. Right now it's just another extra kick in the head in this really crappy month. I knew I was going to jinx myself if I asked what else could go wrong this month...and there are still 2 days left, so I won't say it again.
Kylie had a good long life, with no problems until now, not even any fleas. She had the loudest purr you could hear across the room that often interfered with movie nights, the largest vocabulary complete with multiple inflections, and the most personality I'd ever seen in a cat, very sweet when she wanted to be, but mischevious enough to keep life interesting. I am very glad I had such good company in my life for 11 and a half years. I miss her so much already.
I put this all here so I hope I don't have to talk about it again, so please don't ask or I will never stop crying. Thank you.