I noticed a few days ago that Kali, my 13 year old calico that I’ve had since she was a kitten, wasn’t eating, or when she did, she seemed like something was wrong in her mouth. I took her to the vet yesterday and she has a tumor under her tongue, right behind her chin. Surgery would be radical and expensive, and I just couldn’t put her through that, not to mention all the tests and things they would have to run, and we would have to take her out of town. At first I thought I would have her put down today or tomorrow, but when we got home, I syringe fed her some prescription food the vet gave me. With her hunger finally relieved, she suddenly seemed SO happy! She ran to her dry food and ate a couple of pieces, licked her lips, and went for a nap. Later we let her outside (we don’t let the cats out because we have semis flying past our house at 55 MPH) and she was beside herself, eating grass smelling everything! Then later she actually ate some soft food on her own. The vet gave her a shot for pain and I think because of that, she is able to move her tongue better. I need to feed her yet this morning and I’ll see how she does.
We decided, for now, to pretty much do hospice care. Treat her pain, help her eat, and try to give her the best life we can for whatever is left of it. Take her out, give her snuggles, give her catnip, whatever she needs to feel as good as possible. I figure I will know when she is ready to go. I don’t want to be selfish, but I don’t want to put a relatively happy kitty down either.
Today we are going back to the vet to check a couple of labs. The pain medicine we want to use is really hard on the kidneys and she doesn’t want to put her into kidney failure. The medication (I wrote down the name but it’s in the other room) is a feline NSAID and can only be given for a short time. But it lasts a long time and I am going to ask her about cortisone as well.
This is the first time that my kids are going to have to deal with death. On the way home from the vet’s yesterday, I had to explain to Will why I was crying, and that Kali was very sick and we would need to help her die. He was upset, of course, and I did the best I could to answer his questions and reassure him. When we saw how well she did with the food, I told him she wasn’t going to die just now, and he said “Five days!”, so I told him, yes, we can see how she is doing in five days. He said he would miss her, and I told him all of us would, but we couldn’t be selfish, and we needed to make her as happy as possible while she’s still with us. (For the record, I also told him that we don’t help people die like we do pets, in case he was worried about that, and I didn’t once use the word “sleep” because he is already a horrible sleeper and we don’t need any more issues there!) Death is part of life, and I don’t want my kids to be afraid of it, yet I didn’t give him a lot of details. I figure if he wants to know more, he will ask.
So this just sucks all the way around. Just as I feel like I am handling things OK, I start to cry again, I just feel so bad for Kali and for the kids and I feel like my pets haven’t gotten the kind of attention I think they should since we had our kids. That makes me feel guilty and sad all over again. I guess the important thing is that we spoil her rotten until she lets me know she is done. Then I start thinking that we should all treat one another this way, since nobody knows how much time we have left, there are no guarantees. What a cheery way to start the day! 😦
Just an update – she saw the vet today and she is also in kidney failure. The med we initially wanted to use is not appropriate for her now. We are going to try some prednisone and see how that goes. I am hoping now that nature will take its course and she will pass peacefully here at home. I really, really don’t want to take her back to the vet, she gets so scared in the car.