Irene bugs me now and then regarding the fact that I don’t post many pictures of our animal family members here on this blog. She is right, and my rationale is thus: I post those pictures mostly on Facebook.
Why Facebook? I guess mainly because I try to use Facebook for short-form posts, and the most common of these for me is some cute pictures of our cats.
My wife and I love our critters, in particular our feline family. It has been the norm during our 27 years together for us to have something like six or seven cats sharing our household. This isn’t ‘by design’, but it seems to work out that way.
For the first time in a while, however, we are down to five cats in our house. And it is a hard change to accept.
It all started in August of 2014. Irene thought her Mother really wanted a companion cat, and so she went out and found what she thought to be exactly the kitten her mother desired: a Siamese – Balinese cross kitten, to be exact. The kitten was to spend a day or two in isolation at our house before making the trip over to the island to live.
I lost a dear friend on Wednesday, November 5. We lived under the same roof for over two decades, and the fact that he wore fur and occasionally killed and ate rodents in his youth did nothing to detract from our bond. I’m talking about my cat, Tuxedo.
I first met Tuxedo when he was six months old, and I was thirty. Irene and I had been living on our acreage East of Sherwood Park for a couple of years, and decided it was time to add to our furry family. We went to the SPCA in Edmonton, and Irene had already picked out a funny-looking, emaciated female cat who had recently given birth (Sasha). I was still wandering about, and walked past several cat kennels when I felt a tug on my arm. A small grey and white paw was reaching out between the bars and had caught my shirt: I looked in this child-cat’s eyes and couldn’t walk away. I unlocked the bars of the cage and took him in my arms, and that was that. Tuxedo, née Sylvester, was mine, and I was his.
There is some debate in our household regarding whether we adopted Tuxedo in the October of 1994, or April of 1995. Either way, he was born in 1994, and to say we met 20 years ago is sufficiently accurate at this point.
Today we started on the first dose of immunotherapy injections for our cat, Elcee. She’s had problems with strange acne-like skin eruptions on her face and chin for years, but the last three years (Elcee is ten years old) they’ve gotten progressively worse.
During her last episode, the rash got into her ears and around her neck and shoulders: she licked her hair completely off in those areas, and ended up with secondary (bacterial) skin and ear infections. It took weeks of treatment to get that cleared up, and the vet advised that we consider allergy tests. As it turns out, Elcee is allergic to a lot of things…
We knew it was a possibility, perhaps even probable. But that didn’t make losing Jasmine at the end of May any easier.
Irene and I both noticed something wrong as soon as we came back from our week-long cruise. Jasmine looked “puffy” around her chest, and seemed somewhat disinterested and dull. After a few days, she seemed to be having problems breathing. An X-Ray showed fluid and a possible mass in her chest cavity. Fluid was drawn, and ultrasound performed. The mass was quite large, 4 cm by 2 cm, and looked like a tumor. The fluid drawn from the chest, which eased Jasmine’s breathing for only a day or so, was also tested: it confirmed the worse.
We had our kitten Harley, barely five months old, euthanized last night. His last ten days of life were full of subcutaneous fluids, forced feedings, several antibiotics, and lots of love. In the end I was faced with a decision I never want to have to repeat. Harley’s immune system was damaged beyond repair by the feline leukaemia virus and, although we had managed to keep him alive for a few extra days, it wasn’t going to get better.