4/1/96 – 6/21/11
Yesterday started off like any regular good day starts. We had an appointment to take Baggle in to see the veterinarian to see why he has gotten so thin. At 15 years old and having had some problems lately, we could see the signs that one of these visits to the vet, he wouldn’t be coming home with us. We were prepared. But, can you ever be prepared to say “goodbye?”
Baggle had been in because he was losing weight before. At that time he was also having loose stools and not using the litter box to deposit them. When we took him in he got some fluids injected in him for the dehydration that caused and an antibiotic prescription. Giving him the pills was a chore, but after the prescription was done, he stopped losing weight, even gained back just a little, and we were happy to see a major decrease in the loose stools, we called them “Baggle Bombs,” on the basement floor. He seemed to regain some of his energy, appetite and had returned to his old self.
But in the last couple weeks, we started to see some changes again. He wasn’t eating as much as he always has, although he was still insistent on pushing his sisters away from all three bowls until he decided which one he wanted to eat from. He started to visibly lose weight again and we made an appointment to see his vet. David and I were both thinking the same thing would happen. He’d get fluids and we’d have to administer medication again. The doctor felt his stomach and chest. She was concerned because, while he felt constipated and dehydrated, there was more, his chest didn’t feel right. She did an x-ray.
Baggle’s heart was not shaped correctly for a cat and there was a shadow, a growth or tumor. She explained options for the next step. Measures to remedy the digestive issues would only be temporary and they would be unpleasant and stressful for him, maybe more stressful than he could take in his condition. There was nothing they could do for his heart, given his age and strength. She danced around what her recommendation would be, waiting for us to suggest it, that would be easier on us. Baggle wasn’t showing it in earnest, but there were many ways that we could see he was in pain and struggling. I knew what his vet was trying to say, but couldn’t bring myself to verbalize it. David managed to and the vet said she was sorry, but euthanasia would be the most humane thing, given what he was going through and what could be done for him. They could do things to make his life longer, but it wouldn’t be comfortable or pain-free time. We couldn’t be that selfish.
I had been holding back my tears, but when David’s started, I couldn’t stop mine. Seeing David hurt on top of losing Baggle was beyond my emotional threshold. We had some time with him while they were getting ready for the procedure to pet him and tell him that the pain will be gone and he’d be able to play with Chester and Azzie again.
That was yesterday.
Today is the first day of our return to a 2-cat home. There were no whiskers tickling us awake and no desperate eyes looking up and begging for my lunch. There aren’t squeaking sounds from wet paws rubbing on the kitchen floor after he dipped them in his drinking water. David will miss someone sitting on his mousing hand when he’s on his computer and I’ll miss the cold paws on my legs. Although he was afraid of strangers, Baggle was loving and affectionate with the people he knew. Baggle was the former alpha, having retired from that position when the bossy kitten moved in. Kaline still gave him the job of “Food Czar,” always letting him at the dish first. It was the only “boss job” she gave any other cat. I think Carla may take that job now. Kaline never complained when Baggle stole her treats, but Carla did!
Kaline and Carla took turns having a thorough sniff at the carrier when it came home. I’m really not sure that they realize that Baggle isn’t coming home. When Chester left us, he was in great pain and howling from it. I think Baggle and Kaline knew that and understood what the empty carrier meant. This time, Baggle didn’t show his pain often and he wasn’t crying in pain when we left. I think maybe they knew he wasn’t doing well. Maybe that was communicated in an instinctual way that cats understand that we don’t.
Last night when we went to bed, we had Kaline on my hip and Carla under the covers between us. We usually don’t have them both, one or the other. It seems they did know we needed extra kitty-love last night. This afternoon they came down together at lunch. One rubbed the front of my legs and the other the back.
Baggle always watched his sisters play “chase.” I think it made him tired to watch them. He got rattled and didn’t want to pick sides when they scrapped. Maybe they’ll get along better now that it’s just them. What a nice tribute to their brother. As for David and me, Baggle wouldn’t want us to be depressed or grieve too long. He’d want us to love his sisters and “eat well and share it with the cats!”
It’s going to be a little emptier for a while, but we’ll always remember and treasure the years we had with our Baggle-Buddy.