Thursday, January 14, 2010
Mickey is gone.
This is such a shock for me, as I know it will be those of you who know I've had an injured cat sequestered in the downstairs bathroom for two months. Mickey was 15. In mid-November he had a chunk of his leg removed by what the vet guessed was a rat. Home care involved soaking his leg four times a day at first, and what turned out to be four series of antibiotics. He had to wear a cone collar to prevent him from reinfecting the wound by licking. We made six visits to the vet.
It was a long haul, but Mickey was doing wonderfully well. The whole family was excited to see him get close to complete healing. He finished his antibiotics, and we stopped the soaks this week. I weighed him yesterday, and was happy to find he'd gained another pound, up to 11.5 pounds.
We had a nice routine going where I would take his collar off in the morning (or twice a day on days I didn't have to go to work) and then hold him and pet him for a while before feeding him. He loved this, and so did I. He had this great habit of rubbing his face against mine, hard. Purr, purr....
We did that this morning, and everything was fine. It was still fine later when I changed his litter and cleaned the floor. But at 2:00 p.m. I heard him cry out. I opened the door and found him panting and salivating, unable to walk. I called the vet immediately, and they said it sounded like he'd thrown a blood clot.
I took him right in. The vet said if a cat throws a clot, it's likely to lodge in the artery that supplies blood to the hind legs. This is what happened to Mickey. He was paralyzed, and in great pain, and there was nothing we could do except end his pain.
The vet, who treated Mickey all along for his injury, felt so bad for both Mickey and me. She and I talked afterward for a long time. I told her that although I'm sorry Mickey had to suffer with his leg injury, I'm not sorry we had these two months of intensive contact. Before he was hurt, Mickey was a rather elusive indoor barn cat who had to be coaxed out of hiding. But he and I bonded strongly while I was caring for him. Although this makes it harder for me now, I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know, and to deeply love, this wonderful cat.
I'm also so grateful that it happened while I was home. I had to leave for work at 1:00 p.m. two days this week, and at 2:00 yesterday. I was planning to leave today at 3:00. If this had happened to him even one hour later, I would have been out of the house until 10:00 p.m. and Mickey would have suffered all that time.
On the drive to the vet I hoped he could be saved, but I told him if I had to let him go Jill would be there to meet him, and she would take good care of him. I said I would join them someday, and when I did I would take him in my arms and feel his face rub on mine, hard. Meanwhile, I will remember that feeling always.