My heart is heavy and broken, and I feel powerless. I lost another of my furry companions Tuesday night, and not at all the one I thought would be the next to leave us.
Last time I wrote of kitty health, it was after Lucky passed on and Friday was fighting for survival. Survive she has, being her normal cuddly, talkative self, and while she hasn’t gained much weight, she has been out of apparent danger and off the steroids since December.
Despite that, I still thought she would be the next to go, but that proved to not be the case. Our darling Fenwing was.
She was just a few months younger than Friday. A silver tabby with white markings who had been nicknamed “Smiley” at the clinic where I adopted her as she was missing the center part of her lower lip. I adopted her to keep Friday company.
How cute they were, two kittens running around and getting into things together! Fenwing was quite the mischievous one, and had a fondness for paper products. One of her first days at home I found her looking very pleased with herself, sitting in the middle of the entire unspooled contents of the last roll of toilet paper. Another day I was sitting on the couch and, from the corner of my eye, saw her run out of the bathroom with what looked like a giant marshmallow in her mouth. I was able to save that roll of toilet paper without it sustaining too much damage.
All the cats had collars with bells, and Fenwing was the reason for that. I was working nights when I got them, and she soon decided it was hilarious to sneak about while I was sleeping and pounce on my face. Thankfully she always kept her claws in, but she still made it difficult to get a full day’s sleep. The bells instantly put an end to that, as she decided it made her too noisy for a stealth approach. She wasn’t happy about me spoiling her fun, so she would grab hold of the bell in her teeth and pull until the safety elastic on the collar broke. It took me another collar met with the same demise to figure out what she’d done, so I had to replace it with a different style, one that had the safety clasp rather than the elastic loop.
Fen really was a social creature. She knew her name and would normally come when called. At my old apartment, I could hear both cats’ bells jingling as they’d run to meet me at the front door when I’d get home from work. And up until a couple weeks ago, Fen would pester Dylan every night when he’d get home from work, relentless in her demands until she decided he had paid her enough attention.
About a week ago, I noticed that Fen was no longer being social, but rather spent her time in the kitchen and she wasn’t eating as much as normal. She was due for her annual vet appoint so I called and scheduled her appointment, but it was several days away. Every time we left the house I worried about her, and I feared that she’d be gone when we returned. Monday finally came and the news was not good. She had lost 3.5lbs, and while her teeth looked fine (Dylan and I had worried that she may have had a mouth issue causing the change in appetite) the inside of her mouth was yellow. Our poor baby was jaundiced.
Our vet drew blood and ran tests, explaining that in her state, the kidneys and liver could be shutting down. He also told us straight on, that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being perfect health, Fenwing was about an 8 or 9. We left that day with special food to feed her by syringe, saline to give her subcutaneously, and antibiotics in case it did have anything to do with her mouth.
Monday night and Tuesday morning were agonizing. She could no longer walk normally, and her steps were unsteady and even on level ground she would stumble and fall. She had trouble maintaining balance even when still, so drinking was difficult for her. Soon she would just curl up on my fleece we had put down for her and sleep. Tuesday morning I prepared her food and woke her to give her breakfast, and her limp body had me in tears. After she staggered down the two stairs to use the litter box, she gave me the most plaintive meow, as if begging for help.
I moved the fleece onto the kitchen floor, along with the food and water dishes so she would have only a foot to try to walk. With a kiss on the head, I bid her farewell for the day as I left for work. I knew in my gut that she wouldn’t make it to her followup appointment that was supposed to have been today. That didn’t make it any easier however when I got home from work to find her on her side on the kitchen floor. I knew instantly that she had passed.
When Dylan got home that night, we went outside and dug her grave, just a couple feet to the left of where we had placed Lucky back in October. Friday has sensed something is wrong, and last night when I fell asleep on the couch, every time I woke up she was cuddled against my chest.
I have to keep reminding myself that this is the way it works. To have life there must also be death and no amount of wishing or medicine can stop the end from finally coming. Spring is coming to life just down the hill from Lucky and Fenwing’s final resting spot, and maybe I’m being too silly or fantastical, but I tell myself that their souls can keep each other company now. Together they can romp in the grassy field, enjoy the flowers, and maybe even chase the squirrels and birds or, when it comes time, the fireflies.