Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday post

As I have written before, I try to keep this particular blog positive. I don't want to sell anything here, promote anything or rant about what is going on anywhere in the world. I want it to be somewhere readers can come on a Saturday and find something interesting about our world and maybe even feel uplifted. Unfortunately my world doesn't always cooperate with giving me that kind of material.

When we took this terrific trip around Oregon with an RV, that seemed to provide me with enough material to last a month or more. It still would but life has been intervening, and it's hard to write positively about anything when I really just want to have a good cry. The stresses are coming from multiple areas, none of which might seem like disasters to someone else.

So here are some pretty pictures from years back in Wyoming, the sort that inspire me even when I am sad; and if your own life has been sad lately, read nothing on the other side of the bear sculpture, come back next Saturday when I hope I have a better personal handle on it.


Here's the gist of it. When your children grow up, and maybe even for those who never had children, your pets become your family. They are your kids, and although you know they won't likely outlive you, you want for them a good life, one that is long as possible and happy. That's what we try to provide our cats here. For years it even worked...

But in the last four years, I've lost too many cats for me to be sanguine about the loss I now face of a young cat we got two years ago from a kitty rescue group. She was the replacement of a cat I had lost in 2009 of old age.

 2006 digital painting of me and my shadow

Persia was my little buddy, my shadow, and I dearly loved her. She would purr as soon as she came near me, but when she began to go downhill at 18 or so, I accepted it as part of life. I couldn't stop it and although I cried over it, it was just life as she just went to sleep in our home.

A year or so later, I looked outside and sleeping in our garden was a little cat who looked just like Persia. She came into the house as though she had lived here, and sat on my lap immediately. That was when I discovered something wasn't right, a drainage of some sort. We were already scheduled to go down to Medford where our son-in-law is one of the best veterinarians I know and not just because he's our son-in-law. He's just gifted and has instincts I respect very much. We thought he could figure out what was going on.

He did x-rays, showed us what he found. She had massive mastitis which probably had been made worse because her interior body, spine, all of it was out of alignment. Someone had either beaten her badly at some point or a car accident but whatever the case, he said we could never fix all that was wrong. The mastitis was too advanced but the reason it developed was because of the internal damage. We respected his diagnosis. I cried but we had him put her to sleep. We brought the body back here and buried her near my Persia.

I am not sure how many months later it was before I thought I wanted a female cat. So two years ago, a Saturday in November, we'd gone shopping. While Farm Boss took the groceries to the car, I headed for the Pet store.

There in the cages were rescue cats. I knew her instantly. She was long-haired, black and white like Persia and the kitty who had mysteriously appeared. She was 2 1/2 years old, born right when Persia had died. We filled out the paperwork, took her home, and named her Pepper. She happily adjusted to the other two cats, taking no guff off either, and settled into life here.  Us and the cats were going along fine.

Readers here know we lost BB this summer but again, it was old age. I cried over that too, but you know old age is old age and he just went to sleep as Persia had done. Another burial.

So in October when we got back from our little trip around Oregon, I realized my beautiful Pepper, was getting thin. We thought at first worming hadn't worked and wormed her again. When it didn't, we took her into our local veterinarian (who has been our veterinarian for 30 years) for blood work and to get his analysis. She'd lost four pounds since last spring when she had her rabies shot. He was mystified but when the blood work came back, it looked like an infection with high white cell count. Organs though seemed all right. So she went onto an antibiotic. By now she was hating us handling her, terrified to be touched with so many medications as this was a particularly bad year for fleas and she was being driven crazy by them. So handling her, medicating her, and she began to hide and kept losing weight.

We took her back into the veterinarian on Tuesday and by then I was very worried that we were going to lose her. We are but not from anything I'd have expected. The most likely diagnosis is a congenital defect. Something that could have killed her long ago but had only expanded into life threatening in the fall. It's (not a techie term for it) a herniation of her diaphragm which has her organs going up into her chest cavity. It's catastrophic and unfixable.

I've cried for her short life where she got dumped by someone twice and where she should have had a long happy life with us, but she won't. They said that she eventually might have problems breathing. Right now she just wants to sleep, nibble a bit but most of all she wants to go outside where she loves being so much. Now, with so little energy, she sits and just looks.

By Friday I finally realized I am not prolonging her life but rather her dying. Next week, if she's still alive, we will have our veterinarian come out to the farm (he said they make such visits) and help her die here where she loves being. I don't want her to ever feel she was dumped again. We'll bury her near where Persia's body is.

I've cried for me over this cat who I thought would be here for a lot of years. I've so enjoyed her beauty, her feisty personality (we jokingly called her ricochet for how she bounded around the house), the way she slept on my shoulder with her chin down flat so relaxed, so much everything I could want in a cat. She was my replacement for Persia except she isn't going to be.

This is not only painful but such a shock as this summer she was apparently totally healthy. She had never been outside in her previous homes, but Farm Boss secured two fenced yards where she could be outside and still safe from the road. She loved to be out there more than anything I know. She certainly does savor life even as hers will be a short one.

Pepper in August rolling in the dirt

I have also cried for Blackie who now will be an only cat until we find a new kitten. We will get a younger cat this time so he can teach it the ways of this place and not be browbeaten by an older one. I will get one as soon as possible, not though for me because I need to grieve now that I have finally accepted that I can't do anything to change the situation based on the words of two veterinarians up here but even more of my son-in-law, who I know would do anything he thought he could to save her. He's that kind of man, but he also is someone who doesn't kid himself about reality. It's how I try to live but sometimes it's harder than others.

I love cats. Dogs too but right now we aren't in a situation where a dog works out. We will get another kitten, maybe two more before it's done but I will always miss the ones I lost. They are so loved but anyone who has a pet knows we can't keep them forever at best. Just longer would have been good :(


Tabor said...

Somewhat like falling in love when you were younger. You get your heart broken again and again and swear off love...but you cannot. Is is part of our DNA and we go through it again. All of those cats brought something to your life and were worth the short time that you had them.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Tabor. It's just easier when they can live out a full life. Still if we have pets, we have to have this as a part of the package. If they outlived us, we'd worry about that too.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Rain.....I'm soooo very very sorry you are going through another painful loss....This is heart breaking. I know.....Poor little sweetheart. It is the hardest part of loving a pet-knowing you will lose them, and in this case, so very young....I send you healing hugs, my dear, and the courage to love again. May her passing be peaceful and painless.

Rain Trueax said...

Thank you, Naomi. You are the one I thought of with the warning as you've had so many losses but maybe it's a recognition we all go through such things if we love animals. We are looking for a kitten; so Blackie won't have to deal with being pushed around by a new pet. He's pretty gentle. I haven't had a kitten for years. I think the last one was when we got one for our daughter. All the rest have come to us as strays and adults.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

My sympathy goes out to you.

la peregrina said...

Ahh, this is hard to read and I'm sorry you are going through this so close to the death of your other cats.

I understand the pain of loosing pets and also the willingness to go through that pain again and again no matter how it hurts. My thoughts are with you and your cats today.

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks to everyone for their understanding. I am getting a handle on it although it's hard right now not to look at her and think-- is she getting better? might there be a solution? I know there isn't and I can see her sad eyes. It is hard to love them so much when we can't really protect them from everything much as we might try. I can't imagine though not having pets in my life. They make my home full

Mark said...

I've lost lots of dogs over my adult life. I think the crying and grieving is payment for what they give us.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'm thinking of you, Rain, and how crummy this whole thing is. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that your cat found you, and that you at least had some good time together.

Rain Trueax said...

That is the thing, J. To think that way at any loss we have. :) Not easy but the right way to approach a life that has many uncertainties attached to it.

We had only one thing we could do for Pepper in this. The veterinarian came out to do it yesterday late afternoon. He does house calls for that which is a big deal since we are 25 miles from his office. I really kept thinking can she get better? She had had a good day which was a constant temptation to put off the end. She ran outside, ate tuna several times, but still slept a lot and still that pain in her eyes.

I knew letting her go was my last gift for her that she could go to sleep in her own bed after a good day and not after the increasing level of suffering which was coming. He said the mass in her belly was not smaller and the end was inevitable. He also mentioned having a family in there with an 8 week-old kitten that had a sizable cancer tumor in her stomach. Talk about unfair but it is life.

It scares me when i think about getting a new kitten, which we are going to do, that I could lose her prematurely also. It's something I'd never have worried about before this happened to Pepper. But we will get a new one (looking through Craigslist) and we will think positively about her future being good.

Rain Trueax said...

For those who read comments here, we adopted a 6 month old female who looks like a young Blackie. She is doing quite well as she adjusts to leaving behind her sister and brother and adopts a new family. I am thrilled with how well it's going as she has rubbed around my legs, taken a nap with me, gotten along with Blackie, rubbed around Farm Boss, and currently has disappeared somewhere safe to sleep

Hattie said...

I am sorry about your tragedies with cats.And glad that you have found a new love.

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks, Hattie. I as still having a cry now and again and won't really ever totally get over losing Pepper. It was such a shock to have a healthy animal and then that she went down so fast. I don't think we get over it when we love a pet so much; but you go on because there is no choice. The new one is more for Blackie than for me. She's adorable though and I hope she gets a lot longer chance to live than Pepper. She wants love so much and I had forgotten the energy of a 6 month old kitten... We have to earn her trust and then she can go out into the fenced yard-- not until then though

Dick said...

Our pets truly do become a part of the family and losing one is similar to losing any family member. The pain we feel after the loss is really only ours as our pet is not feeling any pain. I think the thing to remember is the good times and the fact that you were able to give a loving family member a wonderful life, even if it was shorter than we would have liked it to be.

My Huggy will be 16 next May as will Pat's Molly and I know they are approaching the end of their lives. I don't know what we will do when we lose them, perhaps we should get another cat both as for us and as a companion for Peewee who is only about 10 now, but I worry about getting a kitten that may outlive us and what might happen then to that adult cat.

Rain Trueax said...

One solution is to not get a young cat, Dick. We did get Raven at 6 months but that was because we didn't want Blackie to be pushed around. We found Raven through a Craigslist ad and it was another kitty rescue group. There are so many animals that need love and they give so much in return.