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catawampus

My Little Foster Cat Kiki's Last Day Tomorrow

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catawampus

After my beautiful boy Biscuit passed recently under truly horrible circumstances, I began to foster a few other kitties. My first new foster, Kiki, was rescued from the street and after losing her tongue to cancer, she was given a permanent feeding tube. This was all meant to be temporary as the vet told us that cats with feeding tubes do not tend to do well long term. 

I planned for this eventuality. I knew we didn't have much time together. But the heart and the mind seldom communicate with one another when it comes to this sort of thing. 

She had not been doing well these past several weeks. But I had been so preoccupied with my 3 other fosters, all with medical issues, that she was more or less relegated to the background. She slept most of the day and didn't ask for attention like the others. I took her for granted. I knew she wasn't doing well. But I just figured she'd bounce back with the antibiotics she was taking. She never did.

Today, while trying to change out her feeding tube collar, she lurched and her entire feeding tube came out of her neck. I immediately took her to the vet thinking they would just replace the tube. The vet however was emphatic. It was time to say goodbye. Due to her current state of health and the invasive nature of putting in another feeding tube, it was best to end her suffering. So it's my fault. If I had not been so careless, she would not have gotten frightened, not tried to run away and I wouldn't be facing yet another death in the span of a few months.

I have made a pallet beside her so that I can sleep next to her tonight. I want to be present for her tonight. Too little too late is the expression that comes to mind.

She is the sweetest, gentlest, tiniest little Tortie girl and I love her more than I realized.  I've been crying off and on all day. I blame myself for this. I should have been more proactive, should have done more. Could have done more. 

I'm just devastated that I let this happen again. She never got a chance at a beautiful life, not the kind I wanted to give her. She deserved so much more than this life handed her. I was meant to cherish her every moment of every day and instead I let life impede that. I let work and stress and other cats deprive her of more time and attention and the love she deserved.

Just overwhelmed and heartbroken. Again.

 

 

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KayC

I saw your post on the other site...you've given her life, I hope you know that.  She has love and a home and after she goes to her spirit world, she will still love you and be grateful to you for taking her in.  Thank God you were there for her, so many die alone out in the wild...

I know that does little to assay your tears, today is going to be a day of sadness and introspection, but I hope gentle kinder thoughts enter in too.  You're a good person.  RIP little Kiki.

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catawampus

Thanks, KayC. Kiki has crossed rainbow bridge. I stayed next to her most of the night, morning and day today. I gave her last moments on this earth as much love and affection as I could. It doesn't make her passing any less painful. Too many tears to count. She was only with me for a few months but it feels like she was with me for a lifetime. All too soon on the heals of losing my precious Biscuit Boy.

I feel like i failed her on so many levels. It was all too soon. Not enough time. She deserved so much more than life gave her. :(

Feeling lost.

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KayC

I don't think you failed her, maybe life did...it sure isn't evenly distributed.  :(  I'm sorry.

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Filly

OH No!  I'm so very sorry that you are going through such pain and loss again -- too soon after the loss of Biscuit.  I read his story and now Kiki's.  I remember our conversation on my thread about the little little torti next door that got ran over.  Sometimes no matter what we do, it is not enough.  Were they in our lives to teach us, for us to help, to help us, or just for a fleeting moment of time?  God must have had a plan for these sweet little torti girls to come home. 

I still feel that I failed the little torti next door too.  BUT ... you know they could have gone through much worse without us.  I don't know.  It's never easy to lose them and we always feel responsible; but really there are some things in life and death that we just can't control.   Maybe this is our lesson to learn.

By the way, my Luna Roo had a feeding tube in for nearly 3 months before she passed a year later.  I thought she had recovered, but the illness came back with a vengeance.  Feeding tubes are a nightmare and not for the meek.  I feared the same would happen with hers.  The whole process was traumatic, so traumatic that I can't write her story.  I believe my lesson from the vet on how to deal with the tube was maybe 10 minutes long.  Anything could have gone wrong, and I'm so sorry that you and Kiki had to experience what I feared with my own cat.  You know, I lost her anyway and now you have lost Kiki. 

Please be kind to yourself, because no amount of regret will ever bring them back to us.  Fostering sick animals also is not for the meek.  It comes with such an emotional toll.  You're a saint to help them as much as you can.  Please don't forget that without you, they may not have had a chance at all.  

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catawampus

Thanks, Filly. Our little Torties are so special, aren't they? Kiki was such a beautiful little girl.

Today was really hard. I slept off and on all day. Cried a good bit. Barely able to work. I keep going through all the signs I should have picked up on. I recall mentioning some of these issues to my rescue outreach contact but I was not insistent enough. I should have told her I wanted to take Kiki in for a checkup. But with work and my other kitties, she just got relegated to the background most days. She slept so much but in hindsight I should have realized she was doing poorly and taken action. Perhaps I could have given her more time. Or at least time where she was more comfortable. I wonder if I did the right thing by her. I do believe I failed her. To think she was in so much pain for so long -- weeks! I saw the signs. I saw the symptoms. But I just pushed them aside. Oh, the medicine will work. I just need to let her rest. It's the tube that's uncomfortable, right? Or so I convinced myself. But I think her cancer had come back which is why she would get so upset if I pet her near the left side of her mouth, hissing and growling at me and running under the couch. I don't know what I thought at the time. But I never once considered her cancer had come back. I should have. I should have insisted to my rescue contact that we take her into the vet. This is what happens when we disregard our first instincts I guess. We suffer the consequences along with our babies.

It seems this is a pattern with me though. Maybe I'm not a good cat dad. Maybe I'm just better off alone, for their sake and mine. :(

I hope you're doing better these days. I haven't spent time on the forums. Life just got in the way I guess. Thank your for replying and for your kind words.

Sorry for being so maudlin and cynical tonight.

 

 

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KayC

You really did go through a lot with her.  I lost a cat, George, to cancer 13 years ago, when I found out I had him euthanized immediately, but he suffered greatly that last month after he'd been first misdiagnosed.  They'd prescribed medicine as if he had a cold, a respiratory infection, I thought he'd get better or I never would have put him through it, just remembering brings back horror thoughts, he was such a sweet cat, he deserved better.  But we don't know, not until a decent vet tells us what's going on.  

I wouldn't say you'e better off alone, nor them either.  Can you imagine if she'd had no one to care for her at all?  These animals needs us, even if we aren't perfect and all-knowing.  None of us are, but don't discount what the power of love does in their lives, even if we can't cure everything that comes their way.

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catawampus

Thanks, KayC. I'm sorry about George. That is such a sad story. We try so hard to help them. We do what we think is right and yet it somehow always ends with tears and regrets. I've come to have little faith in many veterinarians.

I keep reliving the days and weeks leading up to yesterday. How I'd ignored the obvious signs, made excuses and assumptions, downplayed the severity, allowed myself to become distracted with other things, and pretended all was okay. When in reality she was quietly suffering as they often do. I let myself become overwhelmed and often withdrew. Went about my life. Put my back to her as I worked at my desk. Took for granted we had all the time in the world together. 

Had I not been changing her collar yesterday, she'd still be with me. And maybe, just maybe, I would have finally understood how she was suffering and taken her in to the vet and maybe, just maybe, her life would have gotten a little better and we would have had more time.

Why is it, with each death, rather than being left with fond memories and the knowledge of a life well lived, I'm left only with regrets and anguish? Is it all worth it? 

My only consolation (small though it is) is that in her final hours, I spent them side-by-side with her, laying next to her, inches away. She purred and made biscuits as I pet her and she looked at me not with the fear and pain I'd come to expect, but with comfort and perhaps even love. I hope that's what she felt.

 

 

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Filly

I'm sure that Kiki felt your love as she was showing you with her purrs and making biscuits.  Perhaps she was showing you her gratitude for taking her in and spending quality time with her before she had to go.  She had such soulful eyes.  

You are probably right about the cancer coming back.  Cats are masters at hiding their pain, and she was getting upset about that side of her face being touched.  There's really not much more that you could have done for her as a feeding tube is not a long-term solution for a quality life.  As all of us who have gone through cancer with animals can tell you, it is all about the quality of life rather than quantity.  We want them to stay longer with us, but that can be cruel and selfish.  

You gave her the opportunity to live out her life in a home with someone who cared about her and not a shelter cage.  You had the kindness to let her go with dignity and love.  It sounds to me that you care SO much that the regrets and anguish are overshadowing the fact that you stepped up when she needed you.  

It's so much easier to love them than to love ourselves.  They are easy to love and it is easy for us to punish ourselves for our faults.  I speak this through knowledge that these truths apply to me as well.  It probably doesn't mean much when the pain is so current and overwhelming, but I think you are a great cat-daddy.  

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catawampus

Thank you so much, Filly. What you said definitely resonated and means so much right now. Today was another tough day, lots of tears. But reading yours and KayC's kind, honest and soulful words helps me cope. 

I wish none of us had to endure the pain associated with loving and caring for our little ones. But I suppose I still do it because I always seem to have more love to give in spite of everything.

 

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KayC

My cat, George, had thick green stuff coming out his tear ducts.  The vet told me to express it, to get warm water on it to help it out.  I did that, every day.,  I remember putting him in a bathtub of warm water and swishing water over his eyes with a warm washcloth.  Cats hate water, but he took it so well.  I was holding him up with my hand under his tummy while doing it and he started purring, just because of my touch.  That breaks my heart to this day.

When we ran out of medicine and he was no better, I contacted the prescribing vet and they refilled it.  Went through that course, still no better.  Took him in to our regular vet, he said he has cancer going through his sinuses, coming out the roof of his mouth, he showed it to me.  He said to imagine the worst head cold I'd had in my whole life, multiply it by 1,000 and that's how this cat feels.  I put him down immediately.  But I've always regretted that last month.  Oh that the emergency vet I'd taken him to had been as interested in my cat as in their high fees!  Oh that they would have looked him over carefully, but they did not!  They would not even let me back with him.  After sitting there waiting quite a while, I went looking for him and found him all alone in a room.  I doubt they gave him a cursory glance!  They charged three times as much for the Rx as his usual vet did.  I called them after he died, told them about their misdiagnosis and how much pain and suffering they put him through because of it.  They were kind of like, So?  Did I really expect an apology on his behalf?  Did I really expect some sort of humanity?  No, this was an institution, there for the money, not for the animals.  I will never take an animal there again.  And I told everyone who would listen about it.  I'm sorry to say they're still in business.

But never have I forgotten my little George, in so much pain, purring, just because I was touching him.  I miss him, I always will.  He was the best cat anyone could ask for.

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Filly

Aw, Catawampus, I'm sorry you are having another bad day.  If you are like me and most others who really love(d) their animals, this fresh new pain is bringing back all of the emotions from losing Biscuit.  I wish we didn't have to grieve so much either, but if not now, it will be later.  Suppressed emotions are not good for us, so let it out for as long as you need.  When I lost the little tortie next door, it brought back all of the grief for my own cat that I lost.  I still have one cat, so tried my hardest to not be upset around her, so there was a lot that I had never allowed to surface.

You said it all when you say ... you "still have so much love to give."  I feel the same way.  Why not love one or more who need us than to reject the certain pain that will come some day?  The only reason I can think of, at this point in my life, is that I cannot afford the expensive veterinarians.

KayC, I've been through going to the extremely expensive vet hospitals too and thought I was going to have a mental breakdown just taking my cat to a new vet.  My vet retired and although she wasn't cheap, she was honest and thorough.  I respected her greatly for that.  I could not take my cat to the vet hospital now after seeing incompetence at an exorbitant rate.  So I hope that I have found a good new vet who also handles surgeries and a comprehensive list of illnesses.  Also, I'm so sorry for what Georgie endured and that there are so many more vets out there who are only in the business for money.  It makes me wish that I had gone to school and become a veterinarian myself in order to care for my own.

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catawampus

KayC, I'm so very sorry for what your kitty George had to go through. It's just utterly heartbreaking. Your poor little boy, you did so much for him. You trusted the vet as we all do. We believe they have the best interest of our babies at heart, but so often we learn how callous, indifferent, and incompetent they are only after it's too late. Once our babies go into the back we really have no idea how they're being treated. As you probably know, I went through something very similar with my Biscuit. Unlike your emergency vet, they were at least apologetic afterwards (probably because I left a horrible review of my experience on Yelp), but it was too little too late.

Filly, you're so right. Losing Kiki so soon on the heels of Biscuit is bringing all that back. I've even been dwelling on the other kitties I've lost in the past several years. I now have 5 urns. I am about to have a sixth with Kiki. The losses seem to pile up through the years and each new one brings back the loss of the previous. Like you, I also don't have the money for expensive medical treatment. I'm quite poor these days, so now I long-term and permanent foster hard to adopt kitties typically with chronic conditions. The rescue organization pays for all the very expensive vet bills which I could never afford on my own. 

Speaking of which, I started fostering a new kitty a few weeks ago. Her person passed away and she was moved from foster to foster and spent weeks in cages. She's an older kitty and has some kidney issues and is anemic. She's a sweet girl and I couldn't say no when the rescue organization asked if I would take her. Her name is Fifi. She has nowhere else to go, so it seems she is now a permanent member of the family.

 

 

 

 

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KayC
7 hours ago, catawampus said:

She's a sweet girl and I couldn't say no when the rescue organization asked if I would take her. Her name is Fifi. She has nowhere else to go, so it seems she is now a permanent member of the family.

Ahh, you were meant for this, you're a good dad even though you doubt it.  I took in a 12 year old cat that I met when she was ten, promised her a forever home as she'd been abandoned more times than you could count.  She'd never been to the vet although someone crudely fixed her.  She's now 24 and gets around well, although her hearing and eyesight have diminished some and she's slowed down a lot.  Who knows, maybe you'll have Fifi a long time to come!

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Filly

You are a godsend for Fifi, Kiki and the rest of your family!  Not too many people will take on the hard to home kitties with health issues.  It is a good thing and must be a very good rescue to provide vet care for these cats.  In my city, they may provide care for a month or so, but that's about it.  Of course, I know that I would be a failed foster every time.  Once I take one, it's for life.

I've never had a cat live to be 24 years old -- that's remarkable!

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KayC

I think Kitty has one of those rare conditions to heal herself.  She's amazing.  I wish I had documentation on her, that they could study her, but honestly, she would not take kindly to the poking and prodding.  She rules the roost at home but is shy around strangers.

And I quite agree about Biscuit's Dad, the animal world is thankful for him and those like him!

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catawampus

Thanks, Filly, yes, the rescue I work with is amazing. I started fostering with them when I came across a Facebook post of a kitty who'd been rescued from the streets and been living at a shelter and then a vet hospital for months. He had had all his teeth removed and no one was offering up their home. I couldn't say no. That cat turned out to be my Biscuit Boy.

KayC, that's amazing about your kitty. You took her in when no one else wanted her and gave her a forever home. That is such a heartwarming story. It always breaks my heart when I hear of dogs and cats who never know the love and care of a good home, a warm bed, a full bowl and plenty of hugs and kisses.

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Filly

Aw, Biscuit was your first foster!  I must have missed or forgotten that.  I have been talking to my mom about taking in an older cat when hers passes.  She is in good health now at 14, but my mom, at age 80, says that this one will have to be the last because of her own age.  I tell her quite frequently about older cats who need homes too & cats whose owners have passed away.  If not for the medical bills, I believe she would consider it.  She feeds 3 ferals now, along with birds, squirrels, ducks and anything else that eats.  

I did a search for the oldest living cat and find him to be Rubble from the UK at age 30.  The kitty before him was Creme Puff who lived to be 38.  I met a cat who was 28.  She could not meow and like your kitty, KC, she slept a lot but seemed content and happy.  Certainly, Kitty would not want, nor deserve, to be poked and prodded just because she continues to live into a ripe old age.  I pray that my surviving cat can live to be anywhere near her age!

I hope both of you are doing well, with all considered.

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KayC

Kitty doesn't begin to sleep as much as other cats I've had.  She sits on the step stool in the kitchen and waits for me to enter, then meows loudly for some Easy Cheese.  She's a relentless beggar!  Maybe that's the key to old age, be demanding!

Filly, I wonder if your mom could foster older cats.

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catawampus

Filly, your mom sounds awesome, a real animal lover. :)

I don't think I ever mentioned in my original posts that Biscuit was my first foster. I guess I never really thought of him as a foster. If the rescue had told me they'd found a permanent home for him I would have adopted him instantly in spite of his medical issues. There was no way I could have ever parted with him voluntarily. Fortunately, he had a wealthy patron who originally rescued him from a kill shelter and she paid for all of his medical treatments over the years, treatment that I never could have afforded.

KayC, your kitty sounds like a real character! A bit like my other foster Scooter. He still has scarcity mentality from living on the streets and sits by the food bowl waiting for me to fill it. He just looks at me and meows. "I'm not feeding you, you just ate." And then I feed him. How can I say "no" to that face?

 

 

 

 

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KayC
7 hours ago, catawampus said:

He just looks at me and meows. "I'm not feeding you, you just ate." And then I feed him. How can I say "no" to that face?

This is me and Kitty's conversation all the time.  She spends hours in the kitchen waiting for me to come in so she can demand Easy Cheese or treats from me.  I scold her and then give it to her anyway...I keep thinking how I'll feel if she dies and I can't give it to her again.  So she's spoiled rotten.

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Filly

Oh, I know you could never have allowed another to adopt Biscuit.  Do you feel that way about all of your fosters now?  It doesn't take long for them to get in our hearts and heads and to reside there for the rest of our lives.  How is Fifi and the others doing?

All of my (and my mom's) animals have been spoiled throughout the years, other than the beagles who were working dogs for my dad who hunted rabbits.  Even those were spoiled when he wasn't around.  They were only "allowed" in the house when it was bitter cold, when one was sick or pups that needed extra feedings.  I was the "nurse" and he taught me how to care for any wounds or illnesses, and I would bring them in the house as soon as he left for work and take them back out before he got home.  I ended up with one as a pet whom we had cured of distemper, because she could never smell a rabbit trail again.  So many animals over the years to remember. 

Today is Pet Remembrance Day, which is different than Pet Memorial Day in September ... so it says to honor our past pets.  Lighting a candle to honor Biscuit, Kiki, Little Little and my Luna Roo ..

 

candle.jpg

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KayC

I didn't know about that, I would have lit a candle for my Miss Mocha, lost her 6/3/16.  Hard to believe it's been that long.

My animals are super spoiled.  Arlie has his own loveseat and recliner by the window.  Watching him enjoy his perch last night, he loves looking out the window there.

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catawampus

I didn't know about Pet Remembrance Day either! I didn't light any candles. But I've been thinking about them! 

So many of our little ones have come and gone throughout the years. They all add so much to our lives. As difficult as it is when they leave us, it's worth it. My life is so much fuller and happier because of them.

Fifi, Scooter and Minxy are all doing well, thanks for asking. :)

 

 

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