hellbob & I lost our beloved cat, Gabriel, earlier today.
The medical crap that you probably don't want to read.
Last Tuesday night we noticed that Gabe was very dehydrated and shaky. We did what we could for him including using a syringe to get him to drink water and Pedialyte. Wednesday morning Rick worked from home and got Gabriel in to the vet as soon as he could. They got some IV fluids into him immediately and diagnosed it as mid-stage kidney failure, which also caused dehydration and anemia. They gave him some shots to boost his blood cell production and sent him home with subcutaneous fluids for us to give him. He seemed to perk up right away with the treatments and was trying to eat and drink again. We took him back on Thursday for another shot, to pick up the syringes full of medicine that we would need to give him once a week, and to go over his test results. At this point the doctor seemed hopeful too that he would pull out of it. He was still going to need regular treatment and monitoring for the kidney failure, but they seemed to believe that he was not terminal. Friday, Saturday & Sunday we took care of him. We gave him his fluids every day & he was eating and drinking more than he had been, although not as much as we would have liked. He seemed to be keeping everything down too.
Then, last night, Sunday night, he was very wobbly as he was sitting there. He wouldn't drink or eat his regular food. We gave him some canned food which he seemed happy to eat. The wobbling stopped. But at midnight he threw up most everything he'd eaten and was so week he ended up falling into it. We washed him up and tried to get more liquids into him, but he just wanted to lay there.
The last day.
We tucked him up in bed between us, and really neither of us got much sleep. In the morning we made the impossible decision that his condition was too serious for us to put him through the pain and confusion of the extreme treatment he'd need. It was so hard. If he'd been younger we probably would have tried to fight for the extra time. But at almost 19 years old (the equivalent of 90 human years) we didn't want to risk putting him through all that just so we could selfishly have him for a few more weeks or a few more months. I'm grateful that we'd gotten our tax refund last week. That way we could make the decision based solely on what was best for Gabe without have to feel guilty that the decision was based in part on money.
The appointment was made for the evening right when I'd get home from work, and hellbob made arrangements to work from home so Gabriel wouldn't be alone.
I tried to go to work. I even drove all the way there, and pulled myself together. When I walked through the door though, the first time I tried to talk I just fell apart. I was going to tell them that I didn't think I'd be able to work a full day and I just started crying. Every single person at work has at least one pet. They all told me not to worry about it, to just go home. There was very little lab work and Jenn said she could easily do it. So after more sniffles and after making sure there wasn't anything she'd have questions about I got in my car and headed back home.
I stopped at the store for a few things, including liverwurst. It's Gabe's favorite snack. I couldn't make a liverwurst sandwich without "accidentally" dropping a few chunks.
When I'd told Rick I was coming home he moved the appointment up to 3:30.
I tried giving Gabe a small bit of liverwurst and he sniffed it but wouldn't try to eat it. He didn't even try to lick it. I think that is when I knew that he really was ready to go. The boy never turned down liverwurst in his life except for a few months after I'd foolishly tried to use his favorite food to hide pills.
genevra stopped by in the early afternoon with gigglemonkey_b & technomonkey_m so they could all say goodbye to Gabe. technomonkey_m didn't want to come in at first because since Gabe was sick he didn't want to get sick too. He was fine once genevra explained that it wasn't a sick he could catch. I got lots of hugs from them and they told Gabriel goodbye and that they'd miss him. gigglemonkey_b even told Lump that she was sorry Gabe was going to die. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Lump is probably thrilled to death to be an only child now. She hates almost everyone, but especially Gabe.
Shortly after genevra & the twins left, while Rick was still on a call for work, I saw his breathing get shallower & shallower, accompanied with gasps for breath. We went in to Rick who hung up on his work call. We just held Gabe together. It was so fast from there. He was gone within 5 minutes.
He went so fast. It was quick and peaceful and hopefully painless. He was in Rick's arms with me there. It was best that way. He hated the vets office and would have hated to be there.
It was just so damn hard. Our cats growing up were all either outdoor cats or indoor/outdoor since we lived out in the boonies. I'd never had a cat die of old age before.
When I met Rick 17 1/2 years ago he had this awesome cat. Friendly as could be. Purred like a mother-fucker. The very first time Rick kissed me that cat was curled up on my lap. That was Gabriel. My entire life with Rick has also been with Gabriel. I just can't imagine not having Gabe around.
You were the best cat I've ever had, Gabriel. If there is an afterlife, I hope you enjoy the hell out of it.
Gabriel ~ 1991-2010