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Ode to Miss Kitty
Time To Let Her Go
I don't know how it is you know but you just do. On December 16, 2011, I knew I needed to make a trip to the vet with my cat. I knew that it would probably the last trip I would make with her to see the vet. It was. I had her put to sleep that day. I'm going to tell you a bit about her. Her name was Miss Kitty.
We got Miss Kitty when we lived in Virginia. I don't remember exactly where we were but we came across someone that had kittens that they were giving away free to good homes. There were several but the little gray runt with the white paws, white chest, and white belly caught our eyes. We thought she would be a good "friend" to our other cat, Smidgen. She was that and then some. She rode home that day curled up on my chest. We had Miss Kitty for sixteen years. I had her longer than any other pet I have ever had.
When we first got Miss Kitty, she and Smidgen lived outside for the most part. Smidgen was a big cat and Miss Kitty even fully grown was a very small cat. I like to think that Smidgen looked out for Miss Kitty. They were always together. You did not see one without seeing the other.
When we moved from one house to another house two states away, we had to stay in temporary housing for a while before actually making the final move. During the move to temporary housing, the cats disappeared. I agonized over this. We had to keep going back to the old house to paint, clean, etc. and every time we went I searched for them to no avail. Finally, we were done with our repairs and cleaning and were ready to turn the key and the property over to the realtor. It had been weeks since we had seen the two cats. But, lo and behold, as we were backing out of the driveway for the final time, here they came strolling over a little rise at the back of the property. It was as if they were saying we enjoyed watching you run around looking for us and making a fool of yourself but we really don't want to be left here alone so put us in the car with you and let's all go. So we did, off to the new house we went.
This was the last move for Smidgen. After a few years at the new house, he was diagnosed with cancer and had to be put down. After that Miss Kitty became an indoor cat. Her protector was gone. Miss Kitty adapted well to the change from an outdoor cat to an indoor cat. Maybe it was because she missed Smidgen and enjoyed the company of our dogs. We've made one more move since then and this time we moved near the lake. When we did, my husband thought she might like to be an outdoor cat again but I would not agree to that. There were too many large birds of prey flying around and I was afraid with her getting older and being so small that she might be easy prey for them.
Miss Kitty outlived two dogs in addition to Smidgen. We currently have two other dogs and a few more years and she might have outlived them too! I always enjoyed watching the interaction between Miss Kitty and her canine friends. In the course of her time with us, we have had two Norwegian Elkhounds - Ranger and Chief. We have also had two Akitas - Saki and Laska. Elkhounds are 60-70 pound dogs. Both of our Akitas have been close to 100 pounds. At her heaviest, Miss Kitty might have weighed eight pounds, maybe ten at the outside. Never, ever did we have a problem with any of these dogs and Miss Kitty. In fact, all of them I think considered her to be their baby. She would sleep on the floor with them, they would groom her, and they were always so gentle with her.
About two years ago though, she started to decline. The first problem she had was that she was as deaf as she could be. She could not hear anything. The only way you could get her attention was to stomp on the floor. She started to meow loudly particularly in the middle of the night. I think she might have been trying to hear something since the house would be so quiet and motionless at night. As more time went on, she started pacing around the house and you absolutely could not feed her enough. She lost a lot of weight. Off to the vet we went. As it turned out, she had hyperthyroidism. This was treatable with medicine. Due to her size, she received two doses a day of the medicine. It was in pill form and one pill was about the size of a birth control pill. She took half a pill. Sometimes I would get them from the vet and they would already be split. If they weren't I had to split them. I became rather efficient at splitting them without causing them to disintegrate. After a while, she put on a little weight and the meowing and ravenous eating slowed. She was getting better.
Although her health had improved, Father Time finally caught up with her. Over the last year, she started to lose weight again, lost muscle mass, started dragging a hind leg a little and slept most of the time. I knew she was an older cat and knew she would not be with us much longer but all things considered she seemed to be enjoying her golden years. She still loved her dogs and her family. Unfortunately, right before Christmas, she took a turn for the worse. She stopped eating. Her breathing became shallow. The worst thing was that she felt so bad that she would lay on the floor and turn her head to the side in a position she had never put her head in before. She literally seemed to not have the strength to hold her head up.
I came home that Friday afternoon and took one look at her and knew it was time to see the vet. I visited with the vet and he xrayed her. As it turns out, she was suffering from congestive heart failure and had a mass the size of a ping pong ball in her abdomen. We talked about treatment but he warned me that any procedures he did could be risky. Given her frail state, it would be an uphill battle. I asked him what he would do if it were his cat. He told me that he did not think I would be doing wrong by her if I had her put to sleep. After all, she had a long and for the most part healthy life. For me, at that point, it was an easy decision. I did not want her to suffer.
So, now we no longer have Miss Kitty. We miss her. I am 51 years old and she was a part of my life for 16 years, almost a third of my life. I guess this hub was my ode to her. I hope somewhere she is painless and happy and will be happy for us. Tomorrow, we are going to pick up a kitten not to replace Miss Kitty but hopefully to bring us the same happiness and companionship Miss Kitty did. RIP Miss Kitty!