twirlgrrl: (Default)
Thank you, dear friends, for all your lovely comments about Hellfudge. I am very grateful for your support.

I am also grateful that it was so clearly time for her to go. I was afraid of a long decline with no clear decision point, and thankfully that isn't what happened. I mean, she'd been declining for a while, but by Friday it was clear that she was completely done with trying to live. She wouldn't eat or drink a single drop, and she just lay in the weeds at the fence letting bugs crawl on her and breathing slowly. She was so weak. I am sure she would have died over the weekend even if we hadn't taken her in, but I was afraid of what the end might be like--for her AND for us. Evan wasn't as sure, not having had a lot of pets or been through these decisions, so we put the vet on speakerphone. He very kindly explained that there was "no rosy outlook for Hellfudge" and that when faced with this situation he opted to put his dog down rather than waiting for a potentially rough passing, maybe panicking and trying to fix his dog's suffering and have that bad memory at the end. Evan asked a lot of questions about the possibilities and the vet described everything from peaceful to traumatic. I think Evan felt a LOT better about our choice after that conversation. We tried to find someone who could come to our house but it was Friday afternoon and no one was available. Honestly, I don't think Hellfudge cared one whit about being taken to the vet's in the car. Evan drove with her on his lap. I didn't go. The only time they could see her was the same time that Blue gets out of daycare, and I definitely did not want to bring Blue to the vet's. So I held her and talked to her with my throat on her ear (she went completely deaf a couple years ago) and said goodbye. She didn't even look me in the eyes or try to purr. She was on her way. And then she was gone.

I am relieved for her that she wasn't uncomfortable for a long time. She enjoyed great vigor for a cat her age. She always surprised vets when they found out how old she was, and then again when they found out how hard she could fight! She was a beautiful, dainty princess who always posed with her paws together and her tail wrapped around her like a statue, and she was a warrior who could jump five feet in the air to startle people and would tear around the house chasing ghosts and knocking over candles. She came to us bearing pedigree papers and the name "Chanel," which was dismissed immediately in favor of a moniker befitting her true nature. She was afraid of no human or beast; once, a friend brought a German Shepherd to our apartment, and while Stinky hissed from a corner, we were amused to watch the doorway to the hall, where the dog passed by looking worriedly behind him at the fluffy white cat following close behind, back and forth, back and forth past the door. She wanted to check him out but he was a little weirded out so he kept pacing. Once she was lost for two weeks; I was devastated! I checked the shelters every other day and posted color photos of her all over the neighborhood. Finally a girl called; she was on the other side of the block and had rescued Hellfudge and named her Willow. She went on and on about how wonderful "Willow" was, how she'd sleep under the covers with her and let her pet her paws... Yep, that was Hellfudge all right! I went to collect her and the girl had gotten drunk to dull the sorrow of having to give her back. I could understand how hard it would be to give up this blue-eyed queen, whose crossed blue eyes gazed into yours, whose intelligence and grace demanded your respect, who luxuriated under your touch like a temple consort. I've had a lot of pets in my life, but Hellfudge was irreplaceable. I'm so glad to have been her carer and her friend for so long.

Thanks again, everybody. I'm so grateful. There's an empty space on the couch, but we're coping. With love.


Jun. 6th, 2008 04:42 pm
twirlgrrl: (Default)
Hellfudge is going to the vet in less than an hour. She is not coming home.

I tried to talk to Blue about it a little bit yesterday, when he came up to me as I was crying over Hellfudge. He wanted to know if she was sick, and I said yes, she was sick and tired and old, and she might be going away pretty soon. He said "And then she's coming back?"

18 years is a long time. I have been so lucky to have her for so long. She is such a wonderful cat. Everyone who knows her knows how special she is... well, at least MOST people do. Nathan will probably be glad she won't be sneezing at him anymore. If he says something like that next time I talk to him I just might stab him.

I love this cat! I would be holding her right now but she doesn't want to be held, or petted, or anything. She just wants to lie in the grass at the back fence, in the sun and the wind. She's just dozing and waiting. Anything that brings her to the present moment is an annoyance to her. She is ready to go.
twirlgrrl: (Default)
Hellfudge seems to be doing fine so far. I don't see her trying to pee randomly so maybe her infection was in the kidneys or bladder and is clearing up. This is day 3 of her antibiotics. We haven't given her the fluid infusion yet but we will do that today, and every day for the time being. It's hot again today--supposed to get to about 90 and it's already almost 80 in the house--so we should definitely do the fluids before too long. I'm waiting for Evan to come back so we can help each other. She'll have a checkup maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of next week to see if the fluids are helping and redo the labs.

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes and your understanding! I really really appreciate it!
twirlgrrl: (Default)
OK... I brought her back to the vet this morning because they didn't get a good urine sample yesterday. They tried while I was there but still didn't get more than a drop, not enough to culture, so I had to leave her there again.

Her labs were back already. Elevated BUN, creatinine, and phosphorus, so yes, she has some kidney failure, but her labs aren't so bad as they might have been so the vet still suspects there is something else going on. She has a very high white count/neutrophils so she definitely has an infection; they'll be giving her antibiotics after they get urine today. And even after the fluids they gave her yesterday, by this morning it was as if she'd never been hydrated; it was all gone. I think she's dripping urine little by little all over the house (ew, I know... have to figure out what to do about that tonight.) Vet says she just can't hold onto the water she drinks. She's eating and drinking fine, and doesn't seem to feel too awful.

So we'll be giving her subcutaneous hydration every day when she gets home. That means we have to hold her down and stick a needle under her skin and then squeeze water in there. Yikes. This cat has a "strong sense of personal space" as a vet told me once. Fortunately they clipped her claws yesterday. And I have to give her antibiotic pills, too, which might be even harder. Noah, who worked at a vet's office for several years, can probably help me with the hydration.

So if the infection clears up but she doesn't get better, we can hospitalize her, get her an ultrasound and maybe some x-rays, try to figure out what else is wrong, or we can "treat conservatively" as they say. She turned 18 in March, so she's about 90 in human years. I am leaning against aggressive diagnostics and treatment at this point. We'll see.


May. 13th, 2008 04:47 pm
twirlgrrl: (Default)
Hellfudge has lost over a pound since she was last at the vet in September--and she was sick and skinny then! A pound is a LOT on a cat her size. She's down to 5 pounds and change. When she was a healthy adult she weighed about 8.5 pounds!

They are going to test her urine and blood for an infection but the vet is concerned that it could be something bigger. She was so dehydrated that they couldn't get a urine sample so they kept her. They're giving her IV fluids and hope to get a urine sample before they close tonight. So I'm waiting for a call. If they can't get a sample tonight then we'll be bringing her in tomorrow morning for another try.

I'm not going to go crazy with all sorts of tests. If this is not an infection, we'll probably just try to keep her comfortable until it seems she is no longer enjoying life.

She is far and away the most wonderful, intelligent, interesting and engaging cat I've ever had. I used to fantasize about cloning her. I love this cat so much.


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