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My sweet little girl, my beloved Piko Piko, my cat


wendeb

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My 7 year old kitty came down with a violent illness last Friday afternoon. I took her to the vet (never imagining I wouldn't be taking her home again). I believed it was the small amount of chocolate she had gotten into the night before. After staying there a while, the vet suggested she be tested for FIV and feline leukemia, and that I could go home while waiting for the test results. The tests came back negative, but her white blood cell count was very low. She stayed in the ICU overnight. Her fever climbed the next day (reaching a maximum of 106) and still no word on what had caused the illness. Distemper test? Negative (but still a possible culprit). FIP? Maybe. We just don't know, but by the time Sunday came around I just couldn't imagine her being poked and prodded any longer, so we went and had her put down, in my arms. Now I can't get the image of the moment of her death out of my mind, and I worry that we gave up on her too quickly. I can't sleep. I feel so much guilt that it may have been her lack of up to date vaccines (she was an indoor cat that I would allow out under my supervision, but she got away from me a couple of times), or that she might have survived if we'd only given her a little more time. I don't know how to get past this. My husband and I are going to adopt again, but all I can think of now is how I'm going to memorialize Piko Piko (by making a plush doll of her in which to place her ashes, so I can still hold her close to me). I obsess over the clay sculpture I've made of her, the materials I will use, how I will cut the pattern, how I will make "her" as realistic as possible. I have schoolwork going uncompleted, and a job (where I set my own hours) going neglected. I have to move past this, but I just don't know how to right now.

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My 7 year old kitty came down with a violent illness last Friday afternoon. I took her to the vet (never imagining I wouldn't be taking her home again). I believed it was the small amount of chocolate she had gotten into the night before. After staying there a while, the vet suggested she be tested for FIV and feline leukemia, and that I could go home while waiting for the test results. The tests came back negative, but her white blood cell count was very low. She stayed in the ICU overnight. Her fever climbed the next day (reaching a maximum of 106) and still no word on what had caused the illness. Distemper test? Negative (but still a possible culprit). FIP? Maybe. We just don't know, but by the time Sunday came around I just couldn't imagine her being poked and prodded any longer, so we went and had her put down, in my arms. Now I can't get the image of the moment of her death out of my mind, and I worry that we gave up on her too quickly. I can't sleep. I feel so much guilt that it may have been her lack of up to date vaccines (she was an indoor cat that I would allow out under my supervision, but she got away from me a couple of times), or that she might have survived if we'd only given her a little more time. I don't know how to get past this. My husband and I are going to adopt again, but all I can think of now is how I'm going to memorialize Piko Piko (by making a plush doll of her in which to place her ashes, so I can still hold her close to me). I obsess over the clay sculpture I've made of her, the materials I will use, how I will cut the pattern, how I will make "her" as realistic as possible. I have schoolwork going uncompleted, and a job (where I set my own hours) going neglected. I have to move past this, but I just don't know how to right now.

I am so sorry about Piko Piko. Feeling panicky and being a complete emotional wreck is normal in the first few weeks of a loss. Just because she was a fur baby doesn't mean you still can't experience the horrible roller coaster of emotions. It is going to take some time to adjust.

For now, if you feel like crying, then cry. If you want to make a sculpture and are driven to do so, then work on it. You've suffered a shock this week; of course your thinking may be somewhat skewed. You will be able to process and move forward in time, but it will take just that.

Do you feel like sharing Piko Piko's story? How did she get her name?

ModKonnie

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My 7 year old kitty came down with a violent illness last Friday afternoon. I took her to the vet (never imagining I wouldn't be taking her home again). I believed it was the small amount of chocolate she had gotten into the night before. After staying there a while, the vet suggested she be tested for FIV and feline leukemia, and that I could go home while waiting for the test results. The tests came back negative, but her white blood cell count was very low. She stayed in the ICU overnight. Her fever climbed the next day (reaching a maximum of 106) and still no word on what had caused the illness. Distemper test? Negative (but still a possible culprit). FIP? Maybe. We just don't know, but by the time Sunday came around I just couldn't imagine her being poked and prodded any longer, so we went and had her put down, in my arms. Now I can't get the image of the moment of her death out of my mind, and I worry that we gave up on her too quickly. I can't sleep. I feel so much guilt that it may have been her lack of up to date vaccines (she was an indoor cat that I would allow out under my supervision, but she got away from me a couple of times), or that she might have survived if we'd only given her a little more time. I don't know how to get past this. My husband and I are going to adopt again, but all I can think of now is how I'm going to memorialize Piko Piko (by making a plush doll of her in which to place her ashes, so I can still hold her close to me). I obsess over the clay sculpture I've made of her, the materials I will use, how I will cut the pattern, how I will make "her" as realistic as possible. I have schoolwork going uncompleted, and a job (where I set my own hours) going neglected. I have to move past this, but I just don't know how to right now.

I am so sorry about Piko Piko. Feeling panicky and being a complete emotional wreck is normal in the first few weeks of a loss. Just because she was a fur baby doesn't mean you still can't experience the horrible roller coaster of emotions. It is going to take some time to adjust.

For now, if you feel like crying, then cry. If you want to make a sculpture and are driven to do so, then work on it. You've suffered a shock this week; of course your thinking may be somewhat skewed. You will be able to process and move forward in time, but it will take just that.

Do you feel like sharing Piko Piko's story? How did she get her name?

ModKonnie

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Hi ModKonnie,

Thank you for your response. She was named after a Japanese piko piko hammer, which squeaks on impact. She squeaked like that when she meowed. She was a shelter adoptee. We adopted her at three years old, to keep my other indoor cat company, but they didn't get along. When it was time to give one of them up (to my parents) she was too bonded to us, so we had to give Broodwich (named after an "evil sandwich" on a cartoon) to my parents. He is doing well with them. Piko Piko was shy with strangers, but not at all with my husband and me - she would follow us everywhere we went and just wanted to sit on our laps and cuddle for hours.

Even though she was so sick in her last few minutes of life, she was happy to see us and trying hard to focus on us. I think that is the hardest part, knowing we were there to end her little life in her happy moment. Her eyes were so dilated, she reminded me of "Puss in Boots" from Shrek making his adorable face.

Even though she was shy and would even hiss at strangers, everyone loved her because she was so incredibly cute. I loved her, though, in spite of that. I had never owned such a cute pet, and was wary at first of loving her because of her looks. She was just so lovable, though. Such a good cat, that I feel like "it's not fair" (as my nephew says too often), and that she deserved more time.

Another really hard part is not knowing what took her. I just miss her so much, and it's too quiet around the house and in bed at night without her.

Wende

I am so sorry about Piko Piko. Feeling panicky and being a complete emotional wreck is normal in the first few weeks of a loss. Just because she was a fur baby doesn't mean you still can't experience the horrible roller coaster of emotions. It is going to take some time to adjust.

For now, if you feel like crying, then cry. If you want to make a sculpture and are driven to do so, then work on it. You've suffered a shock this week; of course your thinking may be somewhat skewed. You will be able to process and move forward in time, but it will take just that.

Do you feel like sharing Piko Piko's story? How did she get her name?

ModKonnie

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Wende,

My Emmy was a shelter cat. I had her for 15 years, but then she got sick and died. Nights were particularly rough because she always slept right beside me. She did not get along with anyone else but me and my husband. In fact, she bit a few people. I have no idea why she didn't like others, but she was the softest, sweetest cat in the world to me. She would sit in my lap for hours just purring.

Well, to make a long story short, it was a few years before we could even consider adopting another cat. Since Emmy, I've lost several other cats, and I current have FOUR rescues. I am glad I reached out to other cats, because while I will never fill that special spot held for Emmy, I have tons of new fur babies to love.

Did the vet have any idea of what could have happened to Piko Piko?

ModKonnie

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ModKonnie,

I'm sorry about Emmy, and about your other losses. Time never does fully heal the pain of loss. I'm glad, though, that you were able to welcome more cats into your home. So many beautiful kitties are abandoned in shelters or dumped when their owners can't take care of them anymore, often to suffer the worst of fates.

The vet thought Piko Piko may have had FIP (Feline infectious peritonitus) which is nearly always fatal in cats. Oddly enough, that brings me some little bit of comfort because there would have been nothing I could have done differently to prevent it or save her. The awful thing about FIP, though, is it is extremely difficult to diagnose while the kitty is living - it's one of those things that the vet comes to a conclusion on after everything else has been ruled out (or upon autopsy, but I couldn't fathom an autopsy being performed on her). So we will never really know.

Thank you, also, for letting me know it's okay to be panicky and a little obsessive right now. I really did need to hear that. I've been taking ativan at night (one of my "as needed" medications for generalized anxiety) and have slept the past two nights. I don't feel quite so scared that I'm going to fall into bipolar depression. Having bipolar disorder along with anxiety and possibly a touch of OCD, I tend to panic in general that I'm headed toward some sort of episode, and the grief really escalated that panic. I'm sure I will experience more bad nights, but this forum, and your responses, have been truly helpful.

Wende

Wende,

My Emmy was a shelter cat. I had her for 15 years, but then she got sick and died. Nights were particularly rough because she always slept right beside me. She did not get along with anyone else but me and my husband. In fact, she bit a few people. I have no idea why she didn't like others, but she was the softest, sweetest cat in the world to me. She would sit in my lap for hours just purring.

Well, to make a long story short, it was a few years before we could even consider adopting another cat. Since Emmy, I've lost several other cats, and I current have FOUR rescues. I am glad I reached out to other cats, because while I will never fill that special spot held for Emmy, I have tons of new fur babies to love.

Did the vet have any idea of what could have happened to Piko Piko?

ModKonnie

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Wende,

I can totally see how you were panicky over triggering an episode. I am very familiar with bipolar disorder. Grief affects people in a variety of ways. I am glad you are getting some sleep--that will certainly help your emotional state.

I guess I've never heard of FIP, but I will definitely do some checking on it. Is it something cats can be born with? Or do they catch it? I'm glad you realize you did everything right, and there was nothing more you could do. I decided not to get my Emmy put down, and I have regretted that. She suffered at the last, but I kept hoping and wishing the vet was wrong.

I hope you have a good night tonight.

ModKonnie

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ModKonnie,

I did have a pretty good night (again, with ativan), thank you.

From reading about it on Wikipedia, FECV is very common in cats, especially shelter cats, and it can (rarely) mutate into FIPV, which appears to be the cause of FIP. Cats become infected easily, by inhaling or ingesting the virus, but it is not something I think you should worry about with your babies. It is rare that it will mutate. There is also a vaccine for it, but it is not known to work well and it is controversial.

I know how hard it is, but try not to blame yourself for Emmy. I'm sure you did all you could with what you knew at the time and I know she appreciated your love right up until the last. It's just so difficult to let go of someone you love so much.

Wende

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Thanks Wende,

How are you doing today? Yes, it is terribly difficult when someone you love dies. Grieving is just hard, you know?

ModKonnie

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Hi ModKonnie,

Yes, I definitely know. Piko Piko was the closest creature to me that I've had to let go of thus far in my life. When my grandmother and great uncle (and previous family pets) passed, in a way it was easier for me because they weren't such an immediate part of my everyday life. I fed her three times a day, she followed me around the house any time I was home, and she would sit in my lap for hours as I worked on homework or research. Consequently, I'm learning to deal with this in a way I've never had to before. Since I don't believe in an afterlife, I don't have the comfort of thinking that she's watching over me, or that we'll be reunited. At times like these I wish I was spiritual, but it took me a long time to come to the conclusions that I've come to and I can't convince myself differently just to find comfort.

I am trying to allow myself to grieve without dwelling on it too much, but I feel like I'm trying to walk a tightrope, with my chemical imbalances. I am already in counseling and on medications, but I know from experience even that can fail me if I'm not self-aware and careful. Also, I find myself having to explain my grief to my mom, who doesn't quite get that I may need more time than what she deems appropriate.

Piko Piko's ashes came home with me yesterday, and that was an ordeal in itself. There's so little left of her, she now fit's in a small bag, but she is safely tucked away in a pocket of the plush doll that I'm working on, and it is comforting that I have her back with me.

I hope you and your fur babies are doing well.

Wende

Thanks Wende,

How are you doing today? Yes, it is terribly difficult when someone you love dies. Grieving is just hard, you know?

ModKonnie

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Oh my.......I knew I should have stayed away from this forum.

Now I'm sucked in and invested. *sigh*

PLEASE do not feel that you gave up on your baby too soon.

About 20 years ago I refused to give up on my 'Boomer'.........in hind site I was ashamed and felt so bad about putting him thru so much.....and then losing him. At the time the vet said it was "a disease much like human HIV"

Six years ago I took 'Scooter' to the vet....although I had several other cats, Scooter was incredibly special to me (VERY long story) The vet returned to the exam room with the results of the blood tests.....in tears...."Oh Derry....I am so sorry." I was devasted....yet at that moment, I KNEW I had to say good bye to Scooter. We put him to sleep.....and YES, in my arms....it was the most horrible experience ever.....but I've had to do it 2 more times since then. It NEVER gets easier....and I STILL miss every one of them......I'm crying as I type.

I've never adopted a cat. They come to me. People call me a cat magnet. It's not that much fun really.....but with the recent loss of my mother and sister they have been my salvation.

Fur babies (I love that term, never heard it before) are very special....they depend on us for everything. Making life and death decisions for them is never easy. It's just one of those difficult problems in life that we must deal with.....and move on. We will always hold their memories dear to us....and we will continue to make NEW memories that are dear to us.

The circle never ends.

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Hi Derry,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I'm so very sorry for your losses.

You are right, fur babies are all very special. I've never had to make a life and death decision for mine before this, and I don't look forward to doing it in the future, but I know that is an unfortunate consequence of having these pure, loving creatures in my life. I've always known that I might eventually have to make that hard decision about Piko Piko, but she was so healthy before this that I never imagined it would be so soon, or so immediate. I barely had time to process the severity of her illness, so I've been doubting myself ever since. I think having such control over another's life makes the grief that much harder to bear. It really helps to have the reassurance of others, like yourself, that we (my husband and I) ultimately made the right decision for her.

Wende

Oh my.......I knew I should have stayed away from this forum.

Now I'm sucked in and invested. *sigh*

PLEASE do not feel that you gave up on your baby too soon.

About 20 years ago I refused to give up on my 'Boomer'.........in hind site I was ashamed and felt so bad about putting him thru so much.....and then losing him. At the time the vet said it was "a disease much like human HIV"

Six years ago I took 'Scooter' to the vet....although I had several other cats, Scooter was incredibly special to me (VERY long story) The vet returned to the exam room with the results of the blood tests.....in tears...."Oh Derry....I am so sorry." I was devasted....yet at that moment, I KNEW I had to say good bye to Scooter. We put him to sleep.....and YES, in my arms....it was the most horrible experience ever.....but I've had to do it 2 more times since then. It NEVER gets easier....and I STILL miss every one of them......I'm crying as I type.

I've never adopted a cat. They come to me. People call me a cat magnet. It's not that much fun really.....but with the recent loss of my mother and sister they have been my salvation.

Fur babies (I love that term, never heard it before) are very special....they depend on us for everything. Making life and death decisions for them is never easy. It's just one of those difficult problems in life that we must deal with.....and move on. We will always hold their memories dear to us....and we will continue to make NEW memories that are dear to us.

The circle never ends.

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