I honestly had planned to write something very different for today’s blog. Unfortunately, my mind is elsewhere, to be precise it is on my youngest kitty, Kaylee. And just like the issues with Gizmo last week – this week does not bode well. In fact, it is shaking me right to my very core.
See, last week – I had to have Gizmo put to sleep. She had a cancerous growth that was extremely quick and invasive on her tongue. It grew in size quickly, and cut off her ability to eat and was affecting her ability to breathe. It was an inoperable form. So rather than watching her in pain, and knowing things were not going to get better, I opted to help her cross the veil. I could have been selfish and kept her alive a little longer – hoping against hope that a surgery that would have happened today would have helped her. But she was in pain, and last Thursday morning – she had essentially checked out.
In the meantime, Kaylee had been having trouble walking on her front left leg since late May. She is the most active of the three cats – always moving, and jumping, and checking into everything. The vet and I both chalked it up to landing wrong. Rest, and some painkillers went home. Xrays showed nothing wrong with the leg. So, I babied her and watched. And waited for her to start using her leg. She didn’t. I kept checking it, pulling on it, massaging the toes, thinking that she was feeling some kind of feeling because she had refused to use it. Eventually, I could feel her upper leg getting bigger and stiffer. Like her muscle had clenched up and wouldn’t let go. This was also the time frame when Gizmo was starting her rapid decline, so my entire focus wasn’t really on Kaylee’s leg. Until the day that Gizmo passed.
On my out of the vet, an appointment was made for today for Kaylee to be seen. X-rays were taken. The tight muscle was actually new bone growth. or rather, bone growth brought about by the bone cancer on her upper leg. The prognosis wasn’t favorable. Provided that cancer had not spread from her leg into her chest, Kayle would lose the leg and the left part of her collarbone. A deeper x-ray was needed, and Kaylee was moved off to the Equine center next door for more in-depth scans. She has a mass in her chest that might just be a fatty deposit. But it could be the spreading of her cancer. Materials for a biopsy, along with the x-rays have been sent to a specialist. I should know early next week what happens from here.
Kaylee is currently on the daybed which is next to the window that looks out over the pool. This was a favorite spot of Gizmo’s, but occasionally I would catch Kaylee laying there. She has been watching out the window. A few times, I have gone over and sat with her, petting her, letting her clean my hand, my forearm, and the tip of my nose. She has always thought of me as her kitten, I suppose. Cleaning me constantly to make sure I was the cleanest kitten on the block. Some of the symptoms of bone cancer include lethargy, which she has. She does not move often from whatever spot she winds up in.
All I can do is watch. And hold her. And pet her. And kiss her. And talk softly with her. All of that, while knowing these might be the last few days we have together. Knowing that if the end is not here, long and difficult days will be ahead for the rest of her life. And if I am given that gift, her being around with a leg missing – I will count myself damn lucky. And that I will have stolen those days from the Reaper.
Otherwise, I know that this cat – a cat that was adopted from the Hickory Creek Animal shelter…. This cat, who was left in a foreclosed home with her mother and six other newborn kittens… This cat who was the last to be adopted from that entire group… This cat, who three months later would lick the tears from my face after I was verbally assaulted by the President of the company I worked for (a company I would quit four and a half hours later – in the middle of a digital phone upgrade over that abuse)… This cat, who spent every single day with me during my two years of unemployment, playfully reminding me that joy in life isn’t measured in by the dollars you make… Yes, this cat, who has meant the world to me since she came into my life and became my “puppy”…this cat has been and continues to be the shining star in my life, and I will forever be grateful for that.
No one should ever have to go through the untimely death of their children – furr-kiddo, human or otherwise. I have already done that with Gizmo, just six days ago. I can hope that I am not about to go through that again with the cat that is as close to being a familiar for me can be. But I do have to steel my heart over that possibility. Again.
How can you deal with the impending passing of a loved one? I am not sure I have that answer…for anyone, including myself. I do what I normally would. I cry when I am completely alone, and be happy and loving in her presence. I go out to the stone circle and ask the Spirits of Ancestors to watch over her on her passing, just as I did for Gizmo. I remember what I believe. And why. And that it applies to not just human beings and animals but everything around me. And yes, I feel angry. Angry that Gizmo has been taken from me. Angry that Kaylee is currently in pain. And I ask “Why them?” And I know full well I will likely not receive an answer. But I take comfort in that they had full and wonderful lives filled with love while they were with me. And while that will never fill the hole that Gizmo has left, nor the potential crater that will be opened if Kaylee leaves…it will have to be enough. Because it is what I have.