So, last week was pretty bad for me. Actually, it was really bad, which is why I haven’t been around online.
It started off well enough. My 14-year-old cat, Gwynn, seemed her lovey, healthy, usual self. Sometime late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, something went horribly wrong. We woke up to hear her growling and chuffing. She looked like a cat possessed. We couldn’t get near her without her freaking out. I called the animal hospital in a panic, and they could hear her in the background. They said we should bring her in right away.
The ride to the hospital was agony. There was nothing we could do or say to soothe our Gwynn. It wasn’t until the vets gave her some Valium that she finally calmed down. We spent the next 2 days shuttling her back and forth between animal hospitals to run tests and give her 24-hour care. I really tried, but I don’t think I slept at all during this time. My husband and I wandered from one task to the next in a numb stupor.
To make matters even more complicated, my poor kitty bit me quite badly during our first attempt to wrangle her into her carrier. Between running around to different vets, I also had to go to the clinic to get a tetanus shot, antibiotics, etc. And of course, since it was an animal bite, it was reported, and the Health Board started leaving messages, wanting to inspect/examine Gwynn to assess how dangerous she was.
Wednesday morning, we went to pick her up from the overnight animal hospital to shuttle her back to the day facility. I should have suspected something when the vet left us until last, even though we had arrived before most of the other owners.
They were back to square one. All of Gwynn’s tests had come back clean, but she was deteriorating. Even Valium didn’t seem to calm her now, even though it had knocked her out just the day before. She had developed painful ulcers around her eyes from keeping them so wide and drops that should have lasted for ~6 hours were only lasting for 2 or less. She was suffering and getting worse. We decided to let her go. It was the hardest, most devastating thing I’ve ever done.
Even then, it wasn’t over. I still had to call the Health Board to let them know what had happened. Then, I went back to the clinic for a follow-up visit for my bites. It was a different doctor than the first time. It soon became clear she had never experienced what I had gone through with my cat, just hours before.
Doctor: Where is the cat now?
Me: We had to put her down this morning.
Doctor: You killed your cat?
Me: What? No, the vet euthanized my cat.
Doctor: How did you kill your cat?
Me: Um, it was lethal injection.
Doctor: But the cat only bit you the other day. People wait 10 days after a bite to put the animal down.
Me: No, we didn’t put her down because of the bite. She was very sick.
Doctor: I don’t understand. Why did you kill your cat?
And on, and on, and on…
I was distraught, exhausted, and not my most articulate, and somehow there was a gap in understanding here. I can only imagine what this woman was picturing me doing to my poor cat. I don’t know how I got out of there without assaulting her or having a breakdown, but somehow, I did. I will NEVER go to that clinic again.
Now, I’m trying to pick up the pieces. I miss my Gwynnie so much. Yes, she was getting older, but she was very healthy and energetic. This rapid deterioration was completely unexpected. It feels like it was all a horrible dream that I keep waiting to wake up from. I find myself looking for her in her usual haunts around the apartment, and it hits me like a fist to the gut when I remember she’s not here.
I’m trying to focus on all the happy memories I have, and how lucky I am to have had such a wonderful companion. From the first time she saw me at the pet store, ran up to the window, planted her paws on the glass in front of me and started crying, we have always had a special relationship. I always joked that she was the one who picked me out instead of the other way around.
I’m hoping one day the events of the past week will fade and only the happy memories will remain.