(Finished typing this up 1 month later…it was too heartbreaking to relive so soon, so it took me a while.)
Yesterday was one of the hardest experiences of my adult life; the heartache is right up there along with losing my dad and Gramma Elia and fighting for my kids during my divorce. My Little Old Lady, my kitty Mabbers, passed away around 11:30pm.
She was with us for about 4 years. We “rescued” her when she was 8-years-old from Briana’s friend, Mercy. She was the sweetest, softest, cuddliest kitty.
She was our “couch kitty”. We have Ruffles and Kika, too, but neither is the cuddly type. They’re the “fine, pet me for 1 minute and then I’ll go destroy my cat scratcher because I’m taking out my frustrations of being touched” type of kitties.
What I looked forward to all day (especially when work was stressful and hectic) was sitting on the couch, with Mabs and Jorge, covered in my blanket and watching a show, after a full day of work, running errands, making dinner and putting the girls to bed. As soon as 9pm came around I’d plop myself on the sofa and pat the seat next to me and yell, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. From wherever she was, Mabs would pop her little head around the corner and slowly trot towards the couch. She’d pause and stare at me and again I’d say, “C’mon Mabbers, it’s time, come sit with Mama!” And she’d jump on the ottoman, then leap on the couch, usually between me and Jorge, or between me and one of the girls, and she’d do a little circle about 3 times before she found the perfect spot to sit. And then the kneading would start. Oh, how I loved that. The kneading and the purring. It was my favorite. She would relax me so much I would immediately fall asleep, much to Jorge’s chagrin because it was usually during a show LOL.
It sucks that we still don’t know what the culprit was: cancer, an infection, old age, an obstruction? And that’s what’s the most frustrating and makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. Add to that, that I feel like I should have done MORE, QUICKER, but Jorge says I did so much. It just doesn’t feel like it because now she isn’t here 🙁 .
I messaged my wonderful friend, Juan V., on December 28th to get some advice about her condition: she wasn’t eating very well and had lost lots of weight in a short period of time. It was shocking to notice what seemed like from one day to the next that she was bonier than usual. And she was still urinating on surfaces. From searching Google for her symptoms, it seemed she had a UTI or a lodged hairball. Juan suggested we take her in to the vet, so we went the next morning on December 29th. Thank goodness I was out on vacation. She was such a good girl; so well behaved and just curiously taking everything in.
Lab work came back: she had an infection, but urinalysis came back normal. Her platelets (or something like that) was just slightly high, which would mean cancer or that she had a parasite, but it wasn’t so high that there was cause for concern. I asked about the possibility of a lodged hairball and the vet said we’d see how the antibiotic worked; to give it to her for 2 weeks.
In the next week she still wasn’t eating too much more so we switched her to soft food (Sheba) and she ate it all! So we went out to get more. I also went to Juan’s work, where we caught up briefly and he gave me tons of kitty food and treats and I bought a HomeoPet liquid to make Mabby get rid of her lodged hairball (I was convinced that’s what it was).
Juan’s been one of my best friends since kinder or 1st grade, until he left me after 6th grade lol. Later I found him on MySpace 😆 .
Anyway, a few days later she finally pooped! A tiny dollop, but it was something, thank goodness. I still got another hairball relief tube by Hertz, but she’d turn her nose at it.
I spent everyday stressed out thinking about her health. I had this feeling of dread all the time. We made it a point to sit with her every evening, no longer needing to say, “It’s time, Mabbers!” because she was already laying there. The show we were watching was “This is Us”–and I’m sure that didn’t help with my melancholy feelings.
We ended up having to put puppy training pads on all the couch surfaces–she wasn’t bothering going to the litter box anymore, so we accommodated her. I keep going back to that week in my head. That’s when I should have taken her back to the vet and told them the antibiotics weren’t working!
We had an insane and stressful week last week. I worked half a day on Monday because the girls and I had dentist appointments. Alaethia was getting sealants on her molars, Emily had a re-filling and a new filling and I had a re-filling and a new filling. I felt miserable afterwards but I still needed to get an oil change in the truck so we rushed, only to get lost in Mission. When we finally get there it doesn’t take long, but they used a different oil than the one I bought the Groupon for. Great. Had to get an exchange that took forever. Finally, we’re done and the girls want Taco Bell. Better for me.
They eat (I only have a diet Pepsi cause there’s nothing I can think of that’s Keto to eat) and we chat.
They hurry and we get home and spend time with Mabby. She just looks gloomy and barely eats. Not even tuna.
I ran errands late on Tuesday after work, and by the time dinner was ready and we all ate it was time to shower and go to bed. I only got to pet Mabbers a little bit while she laid on the bathmat in the hall bathroom. She never laid in there and we couldn’t think of an idea as to why it suddenly seemed like a more comfortable spot than her usual on the sofa. I walked away that evening feeling hollow and afraid for her.
The girls text me the next afternoon when they got home from school. Alaethia is concerned for Mabbers, because she seems “off”: her balance, her eyes; she just doesn’t look like herself. Then she sends me a panicked video, showing me how she can hardly hold her head up. This is around the time that I’m kicking myself in the ass for not hurrying and taking her in to the vet again the week before, or even the DAY before. I feel guilty and upset and rush home. We put a pee pad in her pet carrier and Emily grabs her red blanket and we’re off to the vet as quickly as possible.
She’s lucid, but quiet. I’m fearing the worst, but the girls seem like they’re okay. We get to the vet’s office and it’s a long wait, as everyone that was already present with their pets when we arrived are still sitting around, waiting. Then Mabs takes a turn for the worse and her breathing seems terribly labored. I panic and jump up asking the receptionists to please do something, she needs oxygen, ANYTHING, just please help. So they take her to the back and put her in an oxygen chamber. By then I’m a bawling mess, even though the girls are calm. It’s about another 30 minutes that they take us to the back and the doctor says, “Kitty doesn’t look good.” At this point, the girls chime in with the tears. He says that they aren’t ruling out cancer, since this was a rather quick progression. He asks if we want to keep her at the hospital, but says that no matter what the treatment he can’t guarantee that she’ll “make it.” I ask them to give me an estimate of what they think she needs, and to run all the tests they need to. So they bring me 2 quotes; both incredibly expensive. Again, I’m kicking myself in the ass, asking myself why the HELL I didn’t ask them to give her an X-ray or MRI or whatever she would have needed to help her the first time we took her in. I tell them to go ahead with the 2-day hospital stay with all the labs, etc. They say ok. We want to see her before we leave and they tell us to wait, but then the nurse comes back and says there’s a surgery going on and that the back is packed with animals at the moment. We’d have to come back at 10pm. I say aloud, “The girls will be in bed by then…” and Emily almost loses it and says, “You HAVE to bring us! What if she dies and we don’t get to see her!” I tell them ok, we’ll see what happens. It’s at this time that I sign a form giving them permission to perform CPR on her just in case she needs it.
We cry all the way home. We pick up Taco Bell, because it’s the nearest thing the girls are okay with eating. We get home and eat quietly, and then we give each other kisses before they head over to the bathroom to brush their teeth and get in bed. Both girls say they aren’t going to be able to sleep, but I tell them they have to try, just in case they call us from the hospital, they have to get SOME rest.
It’s 10:15pm when they call to let me know that she had crashed and they did CPR on her like we asked, but her labs are bad. The infection she had has gotten so much worse, and she’s going into liver failure. I ask if I can go in and see her right then, and they say yes. Jorge had just gotten home from work, so I wasn’t going to force him to go and I stand there not knowing what to do, and contemplated leaving without the girls, but they would hate me if something happens to Mabs and they aren’t there. So I wake them up and they get dressed quickly.
Alaethia is positive, saying, “Mabs is a fighter, she’s strong! She’s got this!” and I burst into tears again, quietly. I don’t want to tell them that she isn’t doing good, but I do. I tell them, “Girls, the reason they called is because she isn’t doing very well. She’s very sick. We’re going right now just in case she doesn’t make it.”
Cue the tears. I can’t believe this is happening and I feel like I’m the worst person for not taking her in sooner. And now it’s too late.
They let us see her about 15 minutes after we arrive. She doesn’t even look like herself at this point. We’re keeping the boys updated on our group chat about her. It seems now like it all happened so quickly, but we were there for about an hour, standing with her, letting her see us as she’s got all these tubes sticking out of her. She looks jaundiced and although she’s warm from the heating pad they’ve wrapped her with in a towel, her little paw pads are cold. At this point I just want to take her home. The nurse tells me that if we take her home, then she’ll surely die and we won’t give her a chance, but I’m looking at her and she’s suffering. The nurse even says that the reason she’s alive is probably because of the medication they gave her when they did CPR, because even me, not being a veterinarian, could see that she wasn’t really there anymore 🙁 . I call Jorge and ask him what to do. I don’t know. I feel guilty leaving her there, suffering, I don’t want to take her home if she’s going to be suffering, but I feel guilty if I ask them to euthanize her as well. We finally, after what seems like forever, talk with the girls and decide to euthanize. The girls didn’t object at all, since they could clearly see that she was suffering. They take us to a room to be with her and we carry her and speak to her and tell her how much we love her and are going to miss her. We can’t help but smooth out her little foot tufts that we love so much.
The doctor on duty takes forever, since she’s in another surgery. We can feel Mabby slowly leaving us and she hardly has a pulse. The doctor finally comes in, addresses the girls about how happy Mabs must be that we were with her and injects her line. Not 2 seconds later, she’s left us.
I sign the form to bring her home, and the receptionist tells the girls and I we all look so much alike. It makes us crack a smile and we say ‘thank you’. I make our payment and start our last drive home with Mabbers. We’re sad and crying silently; the girls holding Mabbers safely in her box.
Emily started bawling as soon as the alarm went off the next morning and was too distraught to go to school, so we let her stay home.
Alaethia had a test, so she said she’d be strong and go, but I texted her teacher to let her know she’d be an hour late. She held up pretty well, thank goodness.
I had texted my boss that I would be in late due to my girls not sleeping much because our kitty died. He sent his condolences and even let me skip a photo shoot when I did arrive at work to mourn, and probably because my face was puffy. Everyone I told saw me bawl my eyes out–so embarrassing. But I was so devastated 😥 .
We wait till the boys are home the next evening, and when Jorge gets home from work we give her her proper burial.
I’m not even sure where the kids found that metal thing, but it works. We have plans to add a little fence and flowers, of course.
I’ll miss patting the couch and yelling, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. I’ll miss having those big beautiful eyes looking softly at me, right before she would knead on my tummy. I’ll miss her so much. We all will. But it was actually Mabbers’ time, this time 😥 .