The last few weeks have been my toughest ever as a pet owner. My newly adopted cat, who I knew had medical issues when I got her, had a new medical issue which spiralled. I visited the vet about a runny eye and her heart and chest sounds were muffled. We went back the following week for a check and the vet was concerned, so she then had to have an xray and scans to try and work out what was wrong. When these were inconclusive, I feared the worst and we were referred to a specialist. She was diagnosed as a diaphragmatic hernia and would ideally need surgery but at that moment it wasn’t life threatening so they couldn’t tell me what the best thing to do was and so I didn’t have to make the decision there and then.
Whilst all this was going on, and I was worrying about whether to put this little cat through major surgery when the vets and the specialist couldn’t tell me what to do, out of nowhere my 3.5 year old girl cat who I had from when she was a kitten suddenly was taken ill. I thought perhaps she was a little more sleepy than usual on the Thursday evening, by Friday morning she was more lethargic, and when I got home from work that day I had to rush her straight to the vet. They admitted her, and then on the Saturday morning they called and asked me to take her to the specialist where I had been earlier in the week with the other cat. She was duly collected and transferred. She was a very ill cat. On the Sunday morning they asked me to bring in her brother to give a blood transfusion as she had severe anemia. We took him all the way there only for him to not be a blood type match (which apparently for a brother and sister from the same litter is really unusual). Someone from the surgery went and got their dog and she had a transfusion of dog blood. On the Sunday evening and Monday morning by all accounts it sounded like she was doing better, but then I got the call. The thing I feared most for the new cat, was actually coming true for my three and a half year old. She had lymphoma. It was probably causing the anaemia but the combination of the two meant that chemotherapy wouldn’t work, it would wipe out her blood cells. The vet suggested the best thing to do would be to put her to sleep. I was so heartbroken it genuinely surprised me how much I cried – and I couldn’t stop. The following morning I returned and spent some time with her. She had some bald patches where she’d been having anaesthetics and blood transfusions. She looked a skinny mess, but still as beautiful as ever. I bought her some food, some milk and snacks. We had a little time to play – she seemed so much brighter that I doubted myself for a moment, was this really the best thing to do? The vets were clear though. When the time came, I held her tight in my arms and she was put to sleep. Even as I write this my heart breaks a little more. A week before, she had been sitting on my sofa with no clue she was even ill, and here I was now, having to let her go. I held her tight and didn’t want to ever let go. I couldn’t believe how much this little cat had impacted my life but she had. She’d been my baby girl for over three years. She’d kept me company through highs and lows. We’d had many hugs and many cuddles, as well as many grooming sessions which she really didn’t enjoy!
Even at my age, in my mid thirties, I was completely distraught and heart broken. I miss her like crazy and would give anything to have her back. I can’t though. That’s not how it works.
Meanwhile the original vet and the specialists had spoken about the new cat and there had been a miscommunication – she really did need the operation and ideally as soon as possible. Just 6 days after letting go of my beautiful cat, I was back at the specialists delivering new cat for a quite extensive and risky operation. I was numb. When I got the call that afternoon to say she was through surgery and all had gone well I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t bare the thought of losing two cats in a week. She is currently home and on crate rest which she heals (she has about 17 staples in her and I am not risking letting her rip them) but she is back.
When Scruffy first got ill I did wonder whether Mali came into our lives when she did because God knew that Felix and I would need company when Scruffy became ill and now I am sure this is the case. I still don’t understand why I had to lose her, but I’ve been through worse and come through the other side so I can get through this – no matter how much it hurts right now. Much as it feels too soon to get another cat – I am seriously considering it, because should anything happen to Mali or Felix, I don’t want them to be on their own. It’s not a matter of replacing Scruffy – nothing ever could, but it’s about getting a balance. I’m not rushing into anything though – and I am sure when the time is right I will know, and I will know when I meet the right cat, but for now, Mali and Felix are helping me through my grief.