Sunday, April 10, 2011 7:45 PM

A New Blog Look and a New Kitten

Well, spring has finally sprung and lots has happened since I last posted here. Bored with the old blog appearance, I opted for a new one. More importantly, however, is the news on the cat front: last fall, two of our three old cats, Black Bear (my favorite, ahem) and Little Girl, passed away within a week of each other.

Late in October, Bear started acting differently. A subtle change at first, but I noticed. I also had a feeling that it was not just a couple of "quiet days" that cats have now and then. Always a healthy eater, I knew he was in trouble when he began leaving some of his dinner on his plate. When he was six years old, he had been a "plugged" cat, suffering from Feline Urological Syndrome and had to be rushed to the animal hospital to be catheterized lest he die of uremia. Since that time, he had been on daily methionine to acidify his urine. Now, he was nearly 14 years old. I had a sinking feeling that the old problem had returned and morphed into kidney failure.

J. and I took him to our holistic veterinarian, who took blood for liver and kidney function tests. Two days later, I received the news: terminal kidney failure. The vet said his numbers were off the charts, and it was amazing that he had done as well as he had for so long. I attributed that fact to the homemade diet he had been on for the past few years. Once I calmed down, I called back and made an appointment to euthanize him. It was three days hence, and I was determined to spoil him like crazy before the end of his life.

He was still eating, so we gave him all the neat treats we could think of: canned cat food, canned fish snacks, etc. He was pampered more than ever (quite a feat, I assure you). When the time came to bundle him off to the vet, we were sad, but knew we had done all that we could to give him a great life. I had hoped he would live to 20 years, but the end came quickly and he was in fine fettle until almost the very end.

Little Girl, who had been having some recurrence of urinary tract problems herself during the previous summer, became despondent over his loss. The only female, she had "belonged" to Bear, the alpha male, and was despondent without him. She would wait for him, and cry when he didn't appear. She stopped eating. Soon, her kidneys failed, as well; we had her put to sleep less than a week after Bear. To those who claim that animals cannot love, I have this to say: You are dead wrong.

Poor J. buried two cats in one week, the second one on his birthday. As he trudged up the driveway after putting out Miss P.'s trash, looking lost and depressed, I said, "Let's go out to lunch and stop by the shelter to see what they have on hand for kittens." He looked surprised, but agreed. No way was I going to let him remember his birthday only as the day he buried Miss Thing! So, off we went--and found ourselves a cute little bargain.

Next time: A new playmate for Goldie.

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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