Fourteen years ago, there was a small litter of kittens out front. Born under our bedroom window on August 3, 2004. On September 11, 2004, we got the three kittens and trapped their mom. She was taken to the vet's for spay, we brought her home and we all lived happily ever after.
She passed years ago, never tamed down, feral to the death. It was her kidneys. But her two litters of kittens did well. We only kept two from her first litter, Rachel and Ross. The second litter finished out the "Friends" litters, with Joey, Phoebe and Monica (Chandler was one of the cats that somehow got into the yard.)
Phoebe tamed down nicely, but Monica and Joey did not. Over the years, I've done my best to let them know we're not monsters and this year, they were coming around. I was able to pet Monica and just recently, stroke Joey when I was feeding and have now gotten to a point where I can just walk up to him and give him a pet and scritches behind the ears and on his chin. He purrs, he likes it.
Monica came along more easily this year. Always greeted by a little hiss, I'd say "hi, right backatcha" and she'd do her little dance and I'd rub her face and sides, gently scratch her back down by her tail and she'd raise up her back end for more. And she purred. When I petted her and loved on her, on her times, I would sing to her. Always the "You Are so Beautiful" song.
I sang that to her for the last time yesterday. Hard to sing through tears. She was sedated and she knew I was there, she lifted her head up when I sang to her.
She hung out over by the litter boxes, there are some nice soft places to lay there and a cat tree that she liked. She'd be on the bottom, I'd walk out, see her and ask her if she wanted some scritches and if she did, she'd jump up on a higher level of the tree where I could easily get to her and she'd meow at me to hurry up. She'd rub and purr and headbutt and knead and just totally love the attention. I was always a little sad that this came so late in her life, but she was finally allowing it and she loved it.
Saturday, she didn't jump up. Saturday, she tried to run when I leaned down to try to pet her between the ears. She had a hard time running. I was able to catch her and I picked her up (red flag right there) and took her into the bathroom. She wasn't hungry, she wouldn't drink water and she had a very, very hard time standing. I thought at first maybe she'd hurt her back, but running my hands along it, gently squeezing her spine, well, there wasn't any obvious "OMG, that hurts!" moments. She did let me pet her belly, but that sucker was big and hard. This scared me. This scared me a lot. Maybe she was just constipated and I tried to remember how Mario had been when he had been constipated. And it wasn't close at all. She showed no signs of discomfort when I rubbed the belly.
My mind went back to Jackson and then to Mystie. They both had big bellies and could barely walk. I pushed the thoughts away. I didn't want to go there.
We went to a movie, I figured it might help her if it WAS just a hurt back to rest for a few hours without my constant supervision. When we came home, the first thing I did was go to her. She wasn't any better. I told Brian "we need to take her to emergency".
We signed in, waited a few minutes then were taken back to an examining room. Gave her history, then she was taken into the back and a doctor checked her over, then came in to speak with us. Her temperature was close to 106° and she was severely dehydrated and her big belly was a definite concern, she went over the tests they wanted to do. She left and the guy who did the quick check with us came back with an estimate. They wanted to keep her over night and run the tests. The bottom estimate was over $3,000, the high was $4,400. There was just no way. After some back and forth with the doctor, we decided that they would do what they could to stabilize her, we'd bring her home and take her to our vet this morning. They would first do an ultrasound to check her stomach. If it was FIP, we'd say goodbye. If not, they would give her fluids, a strong antibiotic, then we could take her home, keep her comfortable for the night.
So, we went into the waiting room and waited for the test results. Twenty or so minutes later, we were called back. Not FIP.
Cancer. The ultrasound found cancer. A huge mass with a lot of cavities. There was no discussion of treatment. They took her into the back, catheterized her and brought her back in to us to say our goodbyes. It was rough.
The doctor administered the final solution and Monica passed away.
Their charge for cremation with remains returned was twice what our vet charges, so we asked about bringing her home. She spent the night in the shop refrigerator. Brian took her to the vet's office a little bit ago and they'll take care of her cremation.
You know, it's going to take me a while for this one. It was so quick and we were making such headway. Every time I go to my craft cabinet, I'll be looking for her. When we got home from the vet, I went looking for her. I so wanted her to come lay beside me on the sofa. I was working for that. And now it will never happen. I did lay with her on the bathroom floor, petting her and petting her and rubbing her on Saturday. I'm so glad that we'd made such headway, I'm glad she was in our lives. I'm going to miss the hell out of her.