I’ve been quiet on my blog lately for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I had to put my little friend Alex to sleep last Saturday.
I knew it was coming for a long time. I’d posted about her various health problems over the last couple of years, first with diabetes and me having to give her insulin shots twice a day, then on to the never ending urinary tract infections. She couldn’t walk very well because of nerve damage from the diabetes, and so she couldn’t use a litter box. But last year, since I was busy grieving my Dad’s passing I didn’t have the strength to make the tough decision to put her down.
Earlier in the year I decided that if there was another health crisis it would be time. A couple of months ago when Alex had the last urinary tract infection I was able to simply get a prescription over the phone rather than take my kitty in. You see she really hated going to the vet, and they were never able to handle her well enough to get a good sample so mostly I would haul her in, she would growl and hiss a lot and based on the symptoms I described the vet would prescribe antibiotics.
Alex spent most of the day Saturday outside in her box enjoying the sun and the birds and the ocean breeze. In between laundry in and out of the garage, I would poke my head out and check on her. In the late afternoon I looked out and she was on her way in, but her back legs had collapsed and she was meowing. I went out to the garage to switch out some more laundry, then back into the kitchen for some ice tea, and Alex still hadn’t made it back into the house, and when I looked closer she wasn’t meowing but rather panting, tongue out and everything. I rushed out to see what was up, maybe she was trying to hock up a hairball (these things happen on occasion) but when I went to pet her she was really in distress and then she had a convulsion sort of flopping like a fish.
While I went to get the cat carrier, I called my friend Karin who I was supposed to meet for a beach walk and I told her that I wouldn’t be meeting her, that I was taking my baby to the vet and I was afraid I wouldn’t be bringing her back home.
Karin said she’d meet me at the vet. Then when I was at the vet, my sister called and I all I could do was cry… so she said she would come. Debby called Ralph, who then called me and said he was on the way up.
The vet told me that Alex had a really high temperature, they had her on oxygen to hopefully relieve some of her respiratory distress, and they would need to do more tests to determine the problem. That it was possible that the infection was in her brain which caused the convulsions… And so I said I didn’t think it was a good idea to put her through all that, only to maybe have me bring her home for a couple more months until the next urinary tract infection. Her quality of life was not good.
This was the hardest decision I have ever made. Alex was a special kitty. at least to me.
When she was a kitten she used to wake me up in the morning by sitting on my chest and licking my nose. She was smart too. When she first played with the kitty dancer (cardboard thingy on a long flexible wire that you dangle in front of your cat to make her crazy) she was watching it in the mirror, and instead of charging the mirror she flipped around and attacked the real one.
She used to love to drink from a dripping faucet, in fact, she loved water. When I lived in Chicago I had one of those big claw footed porcelain tubs and she liked to walk around the edge of it while I took a bath. Until one day when she fell in. (let me just say ouch– she used my leg as a launching pad to get out).
She also loved ice. Sometimes I would put some in her water bowl so she could fish it out with her big (I mean seriously big, like 1 1/2″ wide), fur lined paw, then batting the ice cube around the kitchen floor until it melted. I forgot to tell Ralph about her penchant for ice cubes. When he took care of her while I was gone he was sitting there in my living room, his nice scotch (on ice) was sitting on the floor and along came Alex, dazzled by the ice, reaching her big furry paw in to scoop out a cube, only to be thwarted by a vigilant Ralph… not sure if he was saving Alex from the scotch or saving the scotch from Alex….
Alex drove across county with me (and Karin) and survived the car accident in Nebraska (when we hit a deer). She survived being attacked by not one but TWO Chows. She comforted me when my Grandma died, when my Granddad died and last year when my Dad died. She let me huddle over her and cry into her long soft fur.
Her favorite thing to do was to play Sunday paper. I would read and toss the pages and she would dive under them… she enjoyed this even lately… it may be awhile before I can read the Sunday paper again.
I miss mer more than I can say. She is not waiting in the kitchen for me to feed her in the morning– and in fact I’ve been buying my coffee from Starbucks on my way to work because I can’t stand being in the kitchen. And she is not waiting for me at the door when I come home from work– so I’ve been working late, and running lots of errands after work. There’s a big empty spot in the living room where her box was, and a big empty spot in my heart.