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03 January 2009 @ 10:04 pm
Huge thanks to all of you who have sent me messages or were just thinking warm and squishy thoughts mine and Zee's way. I know that reading about this isn't everyone's cuppa. I do need to get it down, though, so I'll put everything else under a cut.

Yesterday, we took Zinda to a veterinary opthamologist (a bear of drive to Montclair, NJ). He examined her, went over her blood work, and delivered the thoroughly sucky diagnosis of FIP. He went on to explain, in great detail, exactly what the disease is and how it came to affect Zee. Don asked the lion's share of questions because I was too busy trying not to burst into horrible, heaving sobs. At last the doctor left, telling us to take as long as we needed in the examination room, and I lost it. Hugely.

I don't mean to diminish the hardships and heartaches and outright tragedies of others. I know I'm talking about a cat, here. But right here, right now, this is bloody devastating.

Thinking back to that very first weekend, it was terrifying. We'd never had a kitten so young. Would she live until Monday, when I could get her to the vet? I was up every three hours for feedings. I took her to work with me so I wouldn't miss a one. I helped her release her bodily waste (oh, yeah. good times). I dealt with the scratches and bites, and I watched as she turned her tail up at me and attached herself completely to my husband. Not that I'm bitching about that last. I think it's entirely cat-like and no little bit hilarious that, after all of my blood and sweat and sleep deprivation, she adored the guy who fed her once in a while. What was thoroughly enchanting is that he loved her, too. So much.

After we got the diagnosis and settled up at the front desk (we were asked by two different receptionists if we'd need a follow up appointment. ouch), we headed back home. I let Zee out of her carrier and she snuggled onto my lap - just like our very first day with her, headed up to PetSmart for formula and any knowledge we could glean from their employees. On that day, we didn't have a carrier with us. On this day, I figured anything that would make her even marginally more comfortable on the way home outweighed the safety risks. And, to be honest, hearing that she had weeks - at best - left to her, well. Fuck it. She got to snuggle in my lap, warm under the folds of my coat.

Don and I had discussed the worst case scenario already, though I'm not sure either or us wanted to accept that it might actually happen. Zinda's not even three years old. How the hell could her life be done? Anyway, we headed back to our town and to our Dr. AwesomeVet's office so I could pick up my car. We already knew Dr. AV had gone home, ill, for the day. It was primarily my choice to wait until he was back in the office to put Zee to sleep (and I'm sorry, crying again, but - she's still a baby. This just sucks). She's not eating, but she's still drinking some water. She's in no discernible pain. We figured we'd keep her comfortable for the weekend and then, on Monday, I'll take her in. And, of course, I'll be with her to the end.

Quick word about how much I love every single person at my vet's office. When Don and I came in, Robin (from reception) looked up at me, sadly. "The other office called you." It wasn't a question. She nodded, then came around from behind the desk and hugged me. "I'm so sorry," she said, and I nodded because I couldn't speak without weeping. Then Chris came out and told me how sorry she was, and also showed me the newly-adopted office kitty whom someone abandoned at their back door (stunningly gorgeous fluffy ginger male. ridiculously trusting and sweet and mushy). "So if you need to boot Handsome Tom to us for the weekend, he has a playmate ready to go!" I really hope I'm not just being a selfish Person. I could have had Zee euthanized then, but... she's groggy and sleepy but not in pain, and even though waiting until Monday means I have to do this on my own, it also means that Dr. AV is the one to handle this, and that's what I want. He's Zee's doctor. He knows her. He cares.

So she slept the rest of yesterday and through the night. She's not slept on the bed in months, but last night she snuggled up between the crook of my legs. She got up for a bit of water today (typically, she disdained the water dish and took her libations straight from the tub faucet). Whenever she settles down, she snuggles into her 'baby,' the fat-kitty beanie cat we gave her that very first weekend so she felt as if she had a companion in her wee towel-lined box. I found the towel we cradled her in when we brought her home from fair. I'm going to put it in the carrier on Monday morning.

And tomorrow is my last day with my sweet little girl. I only hope she knows how much Don and I love her.

Whether you read beneath the cut or not, *do* hug someone you love. Or skritch your pet. Or both.
I feel: draineddrained
Eeronn_actually on January 4th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Ugh, today is a bad day for pets. I just found out that my roommate's dog might not make it through surgery.

I'm so sorry for your kittie, though. It is so hard.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
Thank you so much.

And I'm glad to know that your roomie's dog made it through surgery. I hope they figure out, and right quick, just what's wrong with the poor baby.
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on January 4th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
I'm so, so sorry, Kelly. I wish I could do anything, but I am definitely going to go snuggle the puppy now.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon. And snuggling the puppy is the best thing you can do. Letting our furry family know how much we love them is what matters.
La Petite Souris Scientifiquemelebeth on January 4th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I also think you are totally doing the right thing. I'm crying my eyes out over here for you, but I wouldn't have wanted anyone but my regular vet to do that for my baby. No matter how horrible it is to remember, I'm glad it was her.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, dearling. I know I'm doing the right thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. And I'm sorry if I made you cry, but yes - it does matter that the regular vet eases her into her passing. A good vet understands that your pet is as much your family as any human relation.

But oh, I know I am going to break to bits when it happens.
Janet: Cats - Stephanie Pui-Man Lawgoodnite_gracee on January 4th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
The year Jim and I got married we found Serendipity (Seri for short). She was too young to be away from her litter (wherever it might be!) and was such the bold explorer, climbing my leg for attention. Took her to the shop where Jim was working, and then to the vet to find out if we could save her. She had ringworm, earmites and fleas. She was undernourished, but otherwise healthy and we adored her. You had to see her playing with the die 20 as big as her head! I lived through fleas in my bed - my own case of ringworm and her attachment to Jim. She ate Fritos from the bag and ice cream on the sofa with me. She taught Jim to play catch and loved to be bounced in sheets, fire rescue style! At age four she had some kind of attack... (we had just gotten back from the Crosby Stills and Nash concert, I remember that night so clearly!). She was soon diagnosed with a heart condition, a thickening of the heart muscle, and totally untreatable. She didn't last the week.

We were devastated. And we STILL miss her. And that was 18 years ago. I can tell you everything that happened the night she died. Show you the memorium page in the photo album OR tell you the stories we told my son at dinner tonight, just because they come up from time to time.

Don't belittle your feelings towards Zinda or what is happening now! She's a member of your family and every bit as important and a part of your life as any human. Take the time you need to have with her. Make her last moments special - for all three of you and say good-bye with grace and love. All of you deserve that.

Those animals that are such an important part of our lives do know how much we love them. And they love us too. Not the dumb love that skeptics would have us believe, but something pure and true.

You aren't alone. My thoughts and prayers go with you, Don and Zinda.

All my love...
Kel: i have loved the stars too fondlyladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing the story of Seri, and for everything else. I only hope that I can, indeed, imbue these last moments with grace and love. I want her to slip into sleep knowing that she was loved, and wanted, and so very special to us.
Jessica Ariel: teacupliret on January 4th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry. But I'm glad she had a good and loving home for as long as you gave her one.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Thank you. I am clinging to the hope that we did, indeed, give her a happy and loving two and a half years.
Angelo: dr.somnamscream on January 4th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
I have never weeped from someones LJ post before now. Zee had a wonderful go with you and Don, and I am sure no one else could have cared for her more than the two of you. You gave her a beautiful, wonderful and love/scritch-ful life. And I know that you made the right choice to do it at the right time, with love, and those she cares about and that care for her with her.

All my thoughts to you tomorrow, for a beautiful day filled with love.
Kel: the lonely godladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
Oh, love! I certainly didn't mean to make you cry (and, honestly, I'm wincing a bit over my writing. yowch. that begs some editing, but hey - it was fast and free form and from the heart). But I thank you so very much for the lovely sentiments, and I do so hope you're right - that Don and I are making the right choice at the right time.

*hugs and love*
Aifacat: Yellow Bettaaifacat on January 4th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
All my love to you and Don - Zinda couldn't have found better people to have. Consider both my kitties skritched and cuddled in her name.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie. And give your kitties skritches from me, too.

Dark Angel: KimAndJasonLoveeuph0ra on January 4th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)

Our sympathies go out to you all.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)

thank you so much.
Kathy: Lilo & Dolltoosha on January 4th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
I couldn't help but cry as I read this. I really do ache for you. I too lost just a kitten at 10 weeks old who I'd had only a month and loved a friend's little boy who was also gone too soon.

As if she knew Seraphina snuggled up to me as I was reading.

Love to you, Don and your fur babies. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts in hopes to lend some strength & support.
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
isn't it funny how kitties know when you need them? Give Seraphina a skritch from me, and thank you so much for your warmth, love and strength.

Mirandamirmie on January 4th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
*tons of hugs* I'm so sorry. I've had you in my thoughts a lot. Losing Lucy so recently it breaks my heart to hear about someone going through something similar. *more hugs*
Kel: Ten/Sarah Janeladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
*hugs very hard* I'm so sorry about your own loss. It's rough, isn't it? And it hurts so much you have that moment where you think, "I just can't do this." But the joy they bring, the light and the love and the happiness, it is all worth it. Doesn't mean the end will be less sucky, but the alternative - never to have had them in your life - well, that's unthinkable.
harpiegirl4: here for youharpiegirl4 on January 4th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Oh honey, she knows. Animals always know about things like love - often better than humans do, because their minds aren't cluttered with human concerns, or the confinement of words.

We'll light a candle on our altar tonight for Zee, and pray to Bast for peace for her and her loving family.

I am so, so sad for you. When tragedies happen to good people, it reminds me that Life isn't just... it just is. We have to make the best of it, and by making the decision you did for Zee, that's exactly what you're doing. As always, you are living your life with compassion, grace and lots of heart. And that's one of the many reasons I love you.

::big hugs::
Kel: end of the worldladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
Oh, Erika.. *clings* It means so much to me that you lit the candle and said the prayers. I know you've had your own share of kitty heartache.

I do hope that Zee was happy with us, and that I am doing the right thing. Why the hell don't we have a reset switch for these situations? Or a magic wand and a handy Hogwarts style spell? I mean, I know why, but I'm in no mood to accept that right now. Give me a couple of weeks and I'll be there, but...

well, you understand.

Love you, hon. And thanks. *hugshugshugs*
albinomare: Vastnessalbinomare on January 4th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
thank you.

*hugs back*
Fjordhopper: purple skyfjordhopper on January 4th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
huge *hugs* to both you and Don.

losing a pet is losing a very close member of your family, one who has lived with you ...some people who don't have pets, or don't bond to them, won't understand this, but the pain of the loss can be as much as losing a human member of your family.
It's all about love. It doesn't matter what the species is.

Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetling. *hugs muchly*

Give your lovely man a squish from me, and Dakota and Mokie major skritchings.
Annephloxyloxy on January 4th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
*huge hugs and love*
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
*hugs back*

Thanks, sweetie.
Jared: Worst Topic Evercrimsontom on January 4th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
My thoughts are with you, Don and Z. I think cats revert to those "old" habits of old toys and snuggles when that time is near. Angel did the same with me. And I know how hard that is as she was seemingly not in pain and having a good day when we had to take her in.
I also understand the want for the "right" people to be there. I wouldn't let anyone other than our vet do that and I was even sad that his tech wasn't there that day. When we came back to sign the papers later that week, the tech actually came out to apologize for not being there!
Kelladyjoust on January 5th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jared. And I agree that having the "right" people is invaluable. Knowing that someone cares for your pets very nearly as deeply as you do is an incredible comfort.