Monday, March 5, 2012

My Scruffy is gone.

He woke me up about 5 AM.  He wanted to find a place on me to snuggle, but he was wobbly, and a little weak.  He ended up with his head on my shoulder, and the rest of him stretched out between my arm and my body.  He felt so thin and bony, not like the chubby little cat he'd always been.   He purred, and shivered, and occasionally twitched.  I flipped the afghan down over him - I have thought, ever since they shaved his stomach for the first ultrasound a couple weeks ago, that he's always cold.  Being anemic probably doesn't help either.  Anyway, he didn't want to be covered, and he wobbled over to the edge and got down.  He was back in a minute, though. We slept till 8:30.   Milk, and Burble, and OneBun, and Busy, and Duncan, and Scruffy and I.  It was so nice.  But somehow, it made me think that, oh, I don't know, that it was unfair to keep trying to save him when he was the one paying all the penalties or something.  I got up and filled the bathroom sink for him.  And then I gave him his own can of Salmon and Shrimp Fancy Feast, with no stupid aluminum hydroxide in it, and without worrying about whether he wanted to nibble on anyone else's food.  He ate happily on the cat tree - I wish that I'd thought of feeding him there before last week.  His falling off it last night was just an accident, because he'd been up higher and wasn't used to gauging the distance.   And then, I got a shower and he waited patiently on the floor of the bathroom until I was done.  I spent twenty minutes poking around in my yarn room trying to find something to bury him in.  I had bags and boxes and the two caskets that were the wrong size.  I picked out a nylon bag with a zipper and thought it would do.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought it wasn't any good.  I finally found a big fabric shopping bag like thing from JoAnne's.  It was big enough to hold the little blanket with the hearts on it that I wanted to wrap around him afterwards, and the blue pi, and his sweet little body.  It wasn't wonderful, but at least it was decided. The whole thing was like an out-of-body experience or something; I couldn't believe I was looking for something to bury my Scruffy in.

Fresh water!  (The sink's not pink, and the bare spot on his back is so I could see what I was doing when I gave him fluids.)

I gave him 50ml of fluids; I know that being dehydrated can interfere with the stuff they inject working.  He never fusses.  About anything.  He's got three scabs from old fluid needle holes - wonder why that happened?  I wanted to hold him.   We had two hours till the appointment, but he was insistent that he wanted to lay on the mat/his blue kitty pi by the bathroom.  I took two of his prozac pills.   I picked him up a couple of times, just to tell him how much I loved him. I brushed him carefully and got almost all the knots and food clumps out that he wouldn't let me touch before.  Funny, although his breath was really bad today, his fur didn't have such a strong urine-ish odor any more.  Dying kidney smells.  About 1:30, Rege came home.  I gave Scruffy another half can of FF - his very favorite, Gourmet Chicken, and he gobbled it down.  And then I wrapped him in the blue pi and a towel, and we left.

He always loved riding in the car and looking out the window.  When I was driving alone, and after I learned about cat safety from Dr. Lisa,  he didn't get to do that any more.  So, he poked his tiny little head out of the towel bundle and looked at the snow and the cars and the tears running down  my face.  I scratched his ears and his nose in the places he liked:  "I scratch your eary-beery, Puffy; I scratch your nosey-rosy."  Geez, have I always talked baby talk to this eminently clever and wise little cat?  I told him over and over how much I loved him and what a good cat he was and that I wanted him to always stay close to me.  He shivered periodically, even with the heater on.

In the morning, I had called the vet's office to pay for the euthanization - isn't that an awful word? - but there really isn't another word that's better, I suppose - so that we wouldn't have to stand around with my dead cat after it was all over.  And the technician - who is really sweet - offered to stay extra to be with me.  She said they expected to be busy, which wasn't good news.  And all the stuff about how I was doing the best thing I could for him.  I find it hard to believe that anyone could believe that that's true.  Not that I think anybody would say that with an evil intent or anything, just that killing a beloved cat doesn't exactly seem like a gift  to the cat.

Anyway, when we got there, there was thankfully no one in the waiting room and they said we could just go into the exam room.  (The one with no sink - I was gonna ask the vet if he'd empty Puffer's bladder because of the fluids and the bathroom water, but where would he do that?)  I put the towel I brought on the stainless steel table - I hate those damned tables, and the blue kitty pi.  I sat down to hold him and talk to him and rub his ears, and then the vet came in.  He said, "Are you sure you want to do this?"  And for one quick moment, it flashed through my mind that I could just stand up with Puffy in my arms and run right out the door.   But I didn't.  I wanted to hold him during the sedation shot - the first one, but the vet wanted him on the table.  So, we curled him up in the pi - he didn't fuss again, as usual.  And he gave him the shot in his scruff. Puffy meowed, and turned his head around, like he couldn't believe someone had done that.  And then he just put his head down on the edge of the pi.  He was breathing steadily, shallowly.  (I've been watching his breathing because the kidney failure/chemo papers the hospital gave me said to.)  The vet went out, and I just kept rubbing Scruffy's head and ears and whispering to him.  Dr. G came back in and checked him to see if he was sedated.  He was, he said.  He gave him one of those big pink shots in his back leg - I always told people not to use the front leg because he has that awful ingrown claw.  It didn't work, and he gave him another big pink shot.  I was reminded of poor little Britty a couple years ago, who had to have three of those shots before her dear little heart stopped beating.    And then he got out his stethoscope and listened and said, "Well, he's gone.  His heart is stopped."  But, I could see - well, I thought I could see, although it was clearly just wishful thinking, I guess - that he was breathing - his little bare stomach where they shaved him - I'm positive I saw it moving rhythmically.  And both Rege and Dr. G said it wasn't.  He wasn't breathing. My Puffy wasn't breathing.  It makes me gasp and sob and cry to even remember that minute and that realization.

So, we gathered up the towel and the kitty pi and the extra kitty pi I brought along and my poor sweet boy and put everything in the JoAnne's bag, and we went home.  We stopped at Burger King - my cat is dead in the back seat and I'm ordering a hamburger.  When we got home, we ate, and then Rege went out and practically had a coronary shoveling the icy mud over my Puffy's grave.  And that was it.  The end.  Almost nine years of loving that funny little cat, who was such an individual, so self-contained, so focused, so loving.  And now he's gone.

One last nap together
I never can finish a story.... So before we left, I couldn't find Milkshake anywhere.  Scruffy's been his special buddy, his fixation for years. Was it reciprocated?  I don't know, Scruffy wasn't one to go and hunt up anyone but me to snuggle up with.  But Milk - ah, Milk loved to spend hours curled up with Puffy.  So anyway, I couldn't find him before we left.  I called him and looked all over - no sign of him. And when we came home, I said to Rege, "We really should let the other cats see Puffy so that they understand that he's dead and he isn't coming back."  I did that when Chugga died, and I do think it helped.  But, the thought of getting poor Scruffy out of the bag and all that that entailed and implied was overwhelming.  So, we didn't do it.  I told all the others that Scruffy wasn't coming home again, but you know.......fat chance they understood.  And Milkshake was still among the missing.  We'd been home about three hours before he turned up, and he had - I am not imagining this - this puzzled, concerned look on his little face.  He stood on the arm of my chair and stared into my eyes.   He walked all over the place, he checked out the bathroom, he looked in the heated bed in the kitchen where he and Scruffy had been spending a lot of their time.  I KNOW Milk  disappeared this afternoon because he could sense that something awful was going to happen, and I know right now that he still doesn't know what to think about where Scruffy is and why he's not here to nap on. And I share the sadness I am sure he feels.

I always had this little fantasy that cats we love who die are afterwards floating around behind our left shoulder (you know, the one where the heart is) after they're gone.  So, my beloved Scruffy, if you're back there yet, I just hope that you know how much I loved you, and how hard I tried to take good care of you, and how amazing it was that you were such a sweet gift to me.  I love you dearly.

ScruffyPumpkinPattyPaws on his last day


Anonymous said...

I am just catching up on dear Scruffy's blog and had to comment here. You write beautifully. I am sitting here sobbing thinking of your special bond, and how much you loved each other, and how long you fought for him and how impossibly hard it is to say goodbye. Esp. when you are not ready but you know it's time anyway, that you are choosing the only conceivable option as a last gift to a once-in-a-lifetime friend. I know Scruffy knew (and knows) how much he is cherished. He is over your left shoulder and always will be.

Love you,
Allie (& Newkitty)

Scruffyetc. said...

Thank you, Allie. If anyone ever knew about that bond, it's you. I hope Newkitty has lots of years left for the two of you to share.

Jenn said...

I found your post here after seeing your cerenia post on a cat website. I'd wondered what happened with Scruffy. It's been four years but I can feel your emotion through your words as if it just happened. Thanks for having this blog still up. :)

Scruffyetc. said...

Thank you, Jenn. I'm sitting here sobbing, because I just HAD to reread all that sadness. Actually, this blog is still here because I couldn't bear the thought of doing anything with it. I couldn't finish it, and I couldn't remove it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over losing Scruffy, bu I will certainly always be grateful to him for all of the things he taught me. My sweet boy.......

Jenn said...

The hurt fades, but reading back into it can hurt, obviously, again. I hope your good memories with Scruffy outweigh the bad!! And I'm glad you did share this online. Scruffy's got a fan in me and I'll remember him through this blog. How is Milkshake and your other cats?

I hate losing cats I lost my sweetest feral cat Nicky in October of 2014 to FIP. He was such a dear cat and he looked like your Scruffy. A cat related to Nicky, Sam, also very sweet was lost early February 2014 to a car I think. I found his body by chance. Sam was so quiet but trusted me.

I'm sure that Scruffy knew how much you loved him. I had such doubts about euthanizing my calico, Calla, in 2006, but with her jaw cancer it was the only thing I could do, other than watch her continue to suffer. Even so, at times I still have doubts about it.

At any rate, I found your posts from looking for cerenia help. My now eldest male cat, 15, has had on and off again issues with his stomach. Vet thinks too much acid is making him nauseated and he throws up occasionally. With his high energy levels, the vet isn't too concerned. However, as it's a weekend, he's chosen to be picky about what he eats these last two days, and hasn't eaten all that much. He vomited a lot of clear liquid last night, though there was also a bunch of grass in it from his walk yesterday. The picky eating concerns me. My cat has a blurty blog, but I hadn't updated it in years.

Again, thank you for sharing Scruffy's tale!