Sunday, September 14, 2008
Mikey - long, sad post ahead
Yesterday, we had to put our cat Mikey to sleep.
Neither Kei nor I had seen him the past 2 days, and he wasn't around much for the past week. When Kei had last seen him, Mikey was grumbly but Kei didn't think much of it. Mikey was grumbly often and tended to hide in the garage for days at a time. He liked his personal space.
When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, Mikey was laying on our kitchen floor. Not too unusual...but he wasn't moving. When I called him, there was no response. I thought he was already dead. I got down on my hands and knees and looked at his face. He was barely breathing, his eyes were half open, and he kept swallowing oddly. I pet him, I talked to him, I opened a can of his favorite food and put some on a fork to feed to him. Nothing, not even an ear twitch.
At one point, he struggled to lift his head, let out a pained meow, then sat there staring at the cabinet doors. Our other two cats where freaked out, pacing and sniffing him constantly. At one point he just kept howling and growling at the cabinet. He didn't seem to see anything or hear anything.
I called Kei since I had to leave again. He was heading home, so I hurried and got dressed and ready to go. I head Mikey howl again, and somehow he had moved from the kitchen to the hallway. I went over and layed down on the floor next to him. His eyes closed and as I started to pet him and talk to him, he started to purr. His loud, motorboat purr. He closed his eyes and put his head on the floor. I was worried that he had fallen or had a seizure so I touched his back paws to see if he would react. He always hated someone touching his back paws and usually would snarl and run off. This time, he didn't even flinch. I called Kei again and checked where he was. I had to finish getting ready to leave, so I pulled up the info for the cat hospital for Kei, and talked to Mikey as I got ready.
When Kei got home, I was leaving. I told him to call me and keep me updated with what was going on. I knew something was very wrong, but I figured it was something fixable. After a few phone calls, Kei got an appointment with a vet and called me. I turned around from where I was heading and headed to the vet. Mikey still was not moving and just kept howling. Kei didn't even put the door on the carrier - Mikey just laid there with his head on the opening ledge.
The vet had bad news. Mikey's bladder was blocked and as hard as a rock. He was showing signs of blood poisoning. They suggested doing blood work and unblocking him, putting a catheter in, then flushing him with fluids to get the infection out. But, they were closing in 15 mins and we would have to be transferred to an emergency vet or else Mikey would be alone for two days. Leaving him alone was not an option. His bladder was close to bursting, so the vet drained it so that we could go to the emergency vet and have them handle everything from there.
The draining only bought us time. He was still lethargic, but no more howling in pain as I drove. Kei was in contact with his mom, who told us that no matter what, if there was something to fix him, she would pay for it. When we got him into the room to be checked by the emergency vet, he still only laid there - but was much more pissed off about things. The tech couldn't touch him with out getting snarled at. Kei kept petting Mikey and calming him down. But the vet was pretty sure that this was not just crystals or a normal blockage. She told us it could be a tumor, it could be something else altogether and the blockage was just a complication from it. Nothing could be figured out until blood work was done. To do blood work though, they would have to unblock him. But, there was no definite that he could be unblocked, or that he would survive the sedation needed. At this point, he had bit a tech (hard) and a bite report had to be filled out (yay for California laws >:-( ) and he wasn't letting anyone near him.
We knew what we had to do. At over $2,000 for the procedure that wasn't sure to help him at all, and probably would do more harm and cause him more stress, we knew. I called Mad's Aunt Jen and she came and picked him up. I asked her to go do anything with him - as long as it was safe and legal, I would pay her back. Kei couldn't talk to his mom at this point and I went out to my car to call her. I told her what was going on, and started sobbing. I told her I didn't want to make the decision but I didn't want Kei to have to either. This was the cat he had raised for 10 years - from the time he was able to fit in Kei's palm. But now, our 14lb Maine Coon cuddly bear was barely 9lbs and out of his mind from the blood poisoning. She offered to come be with us, it was so kind. The techs and vet were worried that things could go from bad to worse at any moment and needed to know our decision. We told them we just needed to get Mads off with his Aunt, and they understood.
Mads was getting antsy, so we told him that Aunt Jen was going to take him somewhere fun so that he didn't have to wait so long with us. He had done amazingly well for a 4 year old, but we didn't want him to be there for the whole thing. (To be honest, we also didn't want to be mommy and daddy while dealing with this. Kei had gotten Mikey right before we had started dating - he would get jealous of me when we dated, and was our "baby" before Mads was born. He was the first pet that Kei had raised from a kitten. He was a part of our entire relationship. ) Mads knew that Mikey was sick, and probably wasn't going to come home with us. But we left it at that.
Moments after Jen left with Mads, my mother-in-law got there. We all went into the exam room again. The tech told us that he probably could not bring Mikey back in for one last goodbye. Mikey was snarling and trying to attack everything. The tech said that also because of CA law he would have to put a catheter in if we wanted to be with Mikey when he was put to sleep, and that it would not be easy on Mikey if we chose to do that. It seemed like b.s. (I've been there for 3 animals being put to sleep), but we didn't want any extra stress on Mikey, and we didn't want to see him when he was already not there mentally. Kei signed the required papers, and as the receptionist was talking to us about our options for his remains, we heard Mikey snarling and growling in the backroom. Then it was quiet.
The vet came back in after a bit and told us she believed we had done the right thing. She said if it had just been a mild infection, he would have improved after getting his bladder drained. But he had gotten much worse. We knew we had done the right thing for him, but we still felt awful. We still wanted our grumpy fluff ball to go home with us, to snarl at Suki and leave tumbleweeds of cat hair everywhere. We wanted him to be snuggling with Mads while he slept, even though he barely tolerated Mads when he was awake. We wanted the little bear cub of a cat that liked to burrow in blankets and sleep on the clean laundry.
It was very comforting to have my mother-in-law there. She got me to laugh by calling me and herself "marshmallows" as we cried. She pointed out somethings that we hadn't thought of, but that helped us feel we really had done the right things for Mikey. I called Jen, she told us she would keep Mads as long as we needed. We went out to dinner with my in-laws, then went to get Mads.
Jen had prepared Mads a little (thank goodness!) and told him that Mikey was very sick and that if the vet couldn't help him get better, then Mikey might have to go to kitty heaven. But in kitty heaven, Mikey would be fine and get to play with other kitties all day. He was happy with that thought. Kei and I talk on the way about how to tell Mads. We don't want him to know that Mikey was hurting. We also don't want to hide death or make it something bad and scary. But we can save the really hard stuff for when he's older. We decided that since it was so late, that we would tell him Mikey was still at the vet for the night. Mads didn't ask until we got home and ready for bed anyways. We told him that Mikey was very sick and the vet was going to see if medicine would help. Maybe we're pansies for not telling him last night, but we felt it would be better to save it for the morning. We plan to tell him today that with how sick Mikey was, it was better for him to go to kitty heaven, so that he wouldn't be sick anymore. We'll tell him that we'll miss Mikey but we'll always love him and have him in our hearts and memories.
Heck, honestly, I don't know how the talk will go, but we'll wing it as best as we can.
Posted by Ashley at 6:17 AM