My Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty

Posted by on Sep 4, 2006 in Journal | 3 comments

Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty written three weekends ago... My Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty is not well. He may be dying... I thought so yesterday as the vet at the emergency animal hospital thought he had kidney disease which is fairly common in older cats and for which there is no cure. It's terminal and all you have is an undisclosed amount of time until kitty dies from it. This is what the vet thought Mr. Kitty had, but also said she heard a heart murmur so needed to do lots of diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis. They kept Mr. Kitty, inserted an IV for fluids as he was severely dehydrated. They also ran their tests and after 9:00 last night, called to say it was heart disease rather than kidney disease. That news actually sounds a little more optimistic, but we won't know specifics till a heart specialist looks at Mr. Kitty tomorrow. Yeah, it's crazy, isn't it... talking about your cat seeing a "heart specialist". And this is a troubling side story... cause how much money do you spend on a cat... a cat... when you can so easily replace this aging, sick cat with a tiny kitten a million times over... FREE or for a few dollars. I don't know what the value or worth of a pet is... but I guess I'm fixing to find out. I got Mr. Kitty when my son (then in 8th grade) and I were staying with my mom... about 13 or so years ago. Matthew wanted a kitten (we'd had cats before) and as our situation at the time was at a very low point... I swear I was on the verge of bonafide, official "nervous breakdown" so I thought getting a kitten would be a good diversion. So we found an ad in the newspaper from a family in Mobile with kittens and we went to have a look see. We came back with what we thought was a tiny black and white female kitty with a black marking the shape of a heart on her nose... and we named "her" Isis.. It wasn't long before Matthew's kitty became my kitty because "she" was a fireball like most kittens are. "She" scratched Matthew one too many times and with Matthew's skin problem, that is not a good thing. So... I took the kitten to the vet for checkup and to discuss having front paws declawed. That is when we discovered "Isis" was a MALE kitten. Now... you would think... no big deal... but it WAS. We had already had in our minds a girl kitty with female attributes and a female name. Matthew and I both were way taken back. And this is partly why Mr. Kitty is named Mr. Kitty. We just couldn't come up with a boy name... so he was alternately called the kitten Mr. Kitty or Sweet Pea or Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty. We officially named him Cyrus... another stab at Egyptian deity since "he" was no longer the girl kitty we had named Isis. But Cyrus, as a name, never took off... and Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty did. Go figure!! I remember Sweet Pea Kitty sleeping with me at night... a tiny furball across my neck or on my shoulder. And I remember my arms getting scratched to pieces when playing with me. And I remember that although he didn't go outside... other than my mom's screened in porch... but a few times, he was continually infested with fleas. I gave that kitten more baths and would stand him on the bathroom window ledge and with tweezers, pick the busy fleas off him and drown them in a paper cup of alcohol. This was a ritual several times a week!! And he loved to play and chew on ribbon. This is pretty disgusting, but once he swalled a piece of ribbon and I found myself a day or so later pulling it from his butt. Yes, that piece of ribbon had made quite a journey. Soo... for the thirteen years we've had Mr. Kitty, I've been careful not to leave any ribbon or string laying around cause I knew he liked to chew and swallow such. When Sweet Pea Kitty was 4-6 months old, we moved to Seattle, Washington from Mobile, Alabama. We traveled this distance towing a u-haul trailer with our dog Star and cat Sweet Pea and I swear it was the best across country trip ever. The animals traveled great. Sweet Pea Kitty roamed the car for the most part... sometimes settling on the front dash for a nap... a most adaptable, easy going cat for sure. And when we finally arrived at our new "home"... which was actually a small furnished studio apartment of sorts, I bought a leash and figured I could take the cat outside for walks using it. Yeah right!! Less than five minutes on our first outing, he squirmed out of the leash and I was a bundle of nerves till I finally caught and held my cat in my arms. I don't understand my extreme paranoia of letting Sweet Pea Kitty outside... maybe I was afraid he'd get run over in the busy parking lot or get lost. I told myself to wait until we got settled in our permanent home and then I'd let him be an outdoor kitty. That never happened. However unreasonable, the fear was real and because of it... Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty rarely got to go outside... I do have one fond memory though of when we were staying in that little three room apartment in Silverdale, Washington... at night Mr. Kitty would become full of energy and we all enjoyed listening to him ping and pong from wall to wall in that place. We laughed and laughed listening to him run rampage through the place at night. When we did settle into a home in Bothell, Washington, Mr. Kitty did not get to go outside, but we did get him a little friend. Enter.... Miss Little Bit. Guess we added her when Mr. Kitty was about two years old and he immediately bonded with her. They were best buddies... would sleep and play and clean each other. Then I added Punkie Kitty to my feline collection. And lastly, added Charlie ... cause I thought Punkie needed a special buddy since Mr. Kitty and Little Bit Kitty were so close. And sure enough... Punkie and Charlie are buddies. And most recently... just a couple of months ago... I added a canary to my collection. I had canaries as a girl and loved their singing... and I'll say "it just worked out" so that I got a canary. And yes... it is possible for four cats and a canary bird to live under the same roof in near harmony. So... here we are... one big happy family. This summer I've even allowed the cats to go outside. And they have loved it! I know the cats' personalities... their behavior patterns... what they like. It's been most fun to see the different personalities develop in my cats. Mr. Kitty is king of the hill... even with his front paws declawed, he can fend off the other two males (Punkie and Charlie). He definitely has an attitude and doesn't back down. He KNOWS he is top dog! I know Mr. Kitty doesn't roam when he's outside. He likes to lay in either the sun or the shade. Miss Little Bit is kind of shy and doesn't stray too far from the front or back door... but she does like to chase birds and squirrels. Charlie and Punkie are the ones I have to "round" up after a couple of hours. But they don't go very far and I usually find them under a big shady bush in the yard. Mr. Kitty has had some medical problems this summer. We think he got his eye scratched by another one of the cats during a fight and when I took him to the vet re. that... the vet found a tumor in his neck and was more concerned about that. They removed it... said it was benign... no big deal. Then Mr. Kitty became infested with fleas so I took him to the vet just a month ago for treatment. I went on vacation for a week and have been back for two weeks now. Its's just during these past two weeks I've noticed out of the normal behaviors from Mr. Kitty. He would sleep under a bed upstairs all the time... hardly ever come out. he used to like to sit in our laps in the evening, but he hadn't been doing this. Then just a few days ago when holding him, I noticed how light and frail he looked. Then yesterday it dawned on me that he hadn't been eating or drinking. I made an appointment to take him to our vet on Monday afternoon, but we were quite concerned that his condition would deteriate before then, so we took him yesterday (Sat) early afternoon to an emergency vet hospital. And that's how this bit of writing began. Now we wait to hear what the cat cardiologist says tomorrow. What surprises me most and what leads me to write about this is the depth of sadness I've felt since learning I may not have my cat with me much longer. Why so much feeling over a family pet? What has Mr. Kitty given to me so that I am so distraught over losing him? a week later... We brought Mr. Kitty home on Wed. He's still not eating or drinking. We feed him pureed meat babyfood with a syring... squirting it into his mouth... and Mr. Kitty fights it to the last bite or squirt or whatever. We're waiting for results of one last test which will determine the next stop down this unfamiliar road. about a week later... We heard last night the results of the test... Mr. Kitty has a hyperthyroid problem. I took him to the vet down the hill today... thinking now that we know what the problem is, we can get some medication to take care of the problem. It's treatable... what he has. But when the vet looked at my cat, she said he was jaundiced (I had noticed the yellow coloring) and that it was a sign that his liver was failing. With every word she spoke, hope just evaporated and I welled up and just cried to myself as she spoke. She would never look me in the eye when talking to me. I suppose when you bad news, it can be difficult to deliver it. She wanted to run a test to check his liver... to see if it was reasonable to try and save him. So Mr. Kitty is spending the night at the vet clinic... she wanted to insert a feeding tube and get some nourishment in him so he would have a bit of a head start if indeed she thinks it is worth while to try and treat him. We should know tomorrow early afternoon. More waiting... Now... It's been three weekends I believe since I first wrote about my cat. He only lived two weeks after I noticed something was not right with him. The vet put him "to sleep" last Friday. My cat has been dead a week now, it still hurts. That's about all I can say cause it just hurts to think about it.

3 Comments

  1. so sorry to hear about Mr. Kitty. The question: What is a cat (pet) worth? is a hard one to deal with. The human practicality says that the cat is just another animal which can easily be replaced and should not hold any real significant economic value. But the fact is, a pet’s value is determeined not in economic or other quantitative, practical terms, but in emotional and spiritual terms. You’ve had Mr. Kitty for as many years as a teenaged child. You’ve got a relatioship and intimate bond established with this “animal,” so much so that you know it’s personality and can appreciate its idiosyncracies. So it’s completely fair and reasonable to feel badly about it’s his declining health. Don’t deny yourself that part of the greiving process.

    But also remember, quality of life is just as important to the cat as it would be for a person. When considering extensive animal healthcare, I think it important to consider the noraml lifespan of the pet, the physical and emotional stress the pet is subjected to when undergoing the diagnostic and therapeutic care, and the benefits gained by going through with those procedures. And then you have to ask yourself, am I doing this for the pet, or for me?

    Sometimes, closure is the best thing for all parties. It’s hard to say goodbye, but ultimately, it’s unavoidable.

    Good luck with this difficult time.

  2. Daily we have to make hard decisions, pets regardless of what species become so much a part of our lives and often we gain so much comfort in having the pets when other aspects of our lives become “too” hard.

    I had to make a decision once that necessitated me to take our dog to be put to sleep. I think that the most selfless thing that you might do is to snuggle with Mr.Kitty and thank him for the pleasures that he has given you and your family and then let him go.

    I wonder what Mr. Kitty would say if he could talk?

    Good luck

  3. Hi Marie, I actually hate to be writing this, but I wanted to let you know that your writing has given me comfort. I am putting my beautiful kitty, Cassie, to sleep tomorrow morning. She is my first kitty, the one who has made me love cats. She has lymphoma and we’ve been struggling with nasty side effects for a while. I remembered reading your journal entry about Mr. Sweet Pea Kitty and decided to revisit for another read. Its feels nice to know that things will feel better given time, and that I’m not the only one losing her mind over a cat. =)

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