Alexis Kaline Patch
50 ended with tears. We said goodbye to our Kaline, just a couple weeks before her. 12th birthday.
Early in June she was taken to the vet to look at her because of severe weight loss in a very short time. It was then, on June 8, that she was diagnosed with kidney failure, something that there is not a cure for in cats. It's also something that is, while not common, it's not uncommon in house cats. Her vet told us it may be months, it may be years, but there is nothing that could be done to reverse the damage.
I prayed that she'd have years, but she lost 25% of her body weight in about a month. David got prescription food and I made cat-recipe chicken broth to try to get her to drink more. She did eat the food, but just a little each day, and wasn't even interested in the chicken meat, let alone the broth. She still cuddled and purred with me and crawled on David's hip for morning scritches, but she was still losing weight and seemed to be slowing down. Last week she was struggling to get up on the furniture or the cedar chest to look out the front window. She was spending most of her.time in the sunny spot in the upstairs hall – it had always been one of her favorite places.
For the last couple of weeks, when I sang the song I always do when I'm giving evening treats, she still came running down with Carla and Marco, but she became even more finicky than usual, only eating her favorites. Then this past week she'd run down but just watch the treats tossed and her brother and sister eat them. When it had been a couple of days since she'd eaten and David gave her a bowl of moist food with lots of gravy, which she loved, she looked at it, put her tongue on it for a test, and then shook her head and walked away. That really was the sign we had to accept. It seemed like she was only holding on for us. Her once shining coat on her strong body was just hanging off pretty much her skeleton.
David came home from work early Thursday. Uncharacteristically Kaline came downstairs as soon as he came in. She halfheartedly struggled when he put her in the carrier and when she was in the carrier she gave three scratches at the floor where her usual was she try to dig herself out for a while. There was meowing but not as robust as usual. We were about to take the longest and most painful ride we've ever made to the vet. You see, when it's been the final ride with our cats before we didn't know that was the last trip ahead of time. Even with Baggle, we knew he was sick and that day was coming, but we didn't know that was that day when we left home. For Kaline we knew.
Cats purr when they are happy and content or when they are nervous and afraid. We both cried a lot during the last couple months and even more during that ride to the vets office on Thursday. We were in what was set up to be the crying room at the vet's office, lots of seats around the exam table and the feel of a room at a funeral home with a box of tissues on the windowsill. Kaline purred while we pet her. She sat on my chest, the "cat shelf" she discovered as a kitten and never accepted that she'd outgrown, one last time. When the vet's assistant came in for us to sign paperwork, she was teared up too. The job and the crying pet parents never gets easy, even for the people who do it professionally.
After she stopped purring and her labored breaths stopped, we left the office. We stopped at the desk to let them know the tissue box was empty.
On the way home David noted that it was sunny out. Unsuccessfully choking back tears I said "That's because there's no more…" and broke into an uncontrolled loud sob. He said he didn't understand what I said but then said, "I think I know what you said” and joined me in more tears. I tried to say "kitty sunshine" again unsuccessfully. I sang "You Are My Sunshine" with the kitty sunshine customized lyrics to her since she was a kitten. I couldn't sing that song since her diagnosis because the last line, "please don't take my kitty sunshine away" was just too painful to sing to her.
There will be more tears for a few days that will fade from tears into happy memories. But right now her song is over and I just wish it had been a more extended cut.