Friday, November 7, 2008

Unconditional Love

Today was a sad day. My Mom’s cat has been ill and was getting worse. Early last week, she took her to her Vet and all they could come up with was there an obstruction in her bowels. And a Vet bill of $500 which was a bit much for vet exam, x-rays and blood work and no real diagnostic. However, they were more than happy to do an ultra sound and surgery (a few thousand) to find out what was the cause. My mom called me and I told her to pass and bring Mika to my vet.

Granted, I am not a Vet but when a cat eats, throws up blood and saliva and the food, and arches her back in pain and is lifeless that is not good. The cat is 12 yrs old and is a stunning blue and white Manx female. I should know, as I bred the litter. Mika was the feisty kitten and very opinionated. I gave her to my Mom right after our beloved stepfather “Hiro” died to make my Mom see that there was life worth living for. She was very depressed and needed something to *perk* her up so I gave her Mika.

Mika was snarky to everyone except Getty, Nelson, my Mom and me. After a yr, she was snarky to Getty and me. She was give the *evil eye* and hiss if company came over and would have attacked you if you scared my Mom.

Mom flourished when she got Mika. Mika was a six month old kitten who demanded attention and Mom thrived on providing love to her and thus her hole in her heart was healed.

Mika got brushed three times a day, got canned food, tons of toys and was a cherished member of the family. We would hear stories about Mika and her adventures over the years. I think Mika ruled my Mom as she would sink her claws into my Mom’s hand when Mika decided she had enough of petting.
It was a good life for a cat. She lived in a high rise condo and was a high rise princess. She loved my Mom and my Mom loved her. It was a good move to team them up together.

So last week, when I heard the story of Mika, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Mika has not been eating and when she does eat a teaspoon of cat food, she violently throws it up and is in pain. When I hear that she had an obstruction in her bowels, I feared the worse.

Midweek, my Mom, almost in tears call me and said that Mika was losing weight and not doing well. We had a long discussion and I told her that she might have a tumor or cancer and she was in pain. That we sometimes had to make a hard decision for the ones we loved. She agreed and I set an appointment for her to go to my Vet.

Mom and Kimiko came over today and we took Mika to my vet. I have two great Vets, Dr. Kit Bowerman and Dr. Deb Wallingford of the “Dog and Cat Clinic” in Bellevue. I have been going to them for over 15 years and even thought it is a far drive, it is well worth it. Mom and Kimiko were prepared for whatever the diagnosis would be.

I warned Dr. Wallingford about Mika and how she would bite them so she gave her a shot to make her sleepy. Eric, the Vet Tech, was the guy who got to hold Mika since there was no way I was going to hold her.

Eric is the Vet Tech, who helped us get Cosmo. Cosmo is our barn cat that this clinic placed with us. They work to placed unwanted cats and dogs. Cosmo was a toss away cat that had a UTI and the owners didn’t want to pay for the treatment. The clinic took the cat, fixed the UTI, got him his shots and placed him with me. Cosmo was not the most social cat and they warned me but since he was going to be a barn cat that was fine. Since then, Cosmo is very social and comes when he is called and loves to be petted. This is a clinic that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Oh yea, we love Cosmo!!

Dr. Wallingford felt her stomach and found several large masses of cancer in her abdominal area. I told her that the while blood count was extremely high from my Mom’s vet. Mom and Kimiko also felt the masses and realized how bad shape that Mika was in and that she needed to be released from her pain. Dr. Wallingford was able to tell us in a few minutes and with an exam that Mika was in bad shape. My Mom’s Vet certainly couldn’t tell us that and didn’t even feel her abdominal area but had to do x-rays? Sheesh!! And then charge $500 and then request for more tests and surgery? I know that Dr. Wallingford and Dr. Bowerman have been honest, ethical and competent and that is why I make the long trek to see them.

We took several minutes to hugs and kiss and say our Good-byes to Mika. My Mom and Kimiko cried as they petted their beloved cat. I could see that Mika was not suffering and lying quietly and was gently breathing. My Mom was feeling much better about the decision to put her to sleep now knowing what was wrong with Mika. Dr. Wallingford explained that surgery would not be of any use since it was so widespread and the cancer was 3-6 months old.

Mika had been super affectionate to my Mom in the last three months and I truly believe she know she was ill and was asking my Mom for help. Today when I sat next to her in the car, she didn’t do her usual snarky hissing but was quiet.

As Dr. Wallingford administrated the shot that eased Mika’s pain, Mom and Kimiko began to cry and tears welled up in my eyes. Mike was at peace now and free from the torment in her stomach and Mom knew that she had made the right choice. Once she felt the mass and Dr. Wallingford explained what was happening, my Mom finally let the weight on her shoulders go away.

Mika will be cremated and her ashes sent home in an urn. I took care of this for my Mom as I told her when she got the cat, I would help pay for the Vet bills. The $500 vet bill last week was a shock to my Mom so I paid part of that bill for her. Last thing I want is for my Mom is to worry about paying a Vet bill. This vet bill was just over a $100 and my Mom will get Mika’s ashes back in a pretty urn. To this day, she regretted never getting the ashes back from her beloved “Bobbi” and I don’t want her to have the regret again. It was bad enough to hear my Mom and Kimiko cry and I didn’t want her worry about a bill.

Mom tried to argue with me on the bill but I told her that I made a promise to her and I was going to keep it. She tried again and I told her to be with her kitty and that was more important. It is the least that I can do for my Mom. I don’t want to see her unhappy or in pain.

The drive home we talked about the decision and Mom was fine with it. She explained that Dr. Wallingford was kind to her and explained to her what was going on and showed what was wrong and that she made the right decision. She also will change her vet to my vet now. It will be a long drive but she will coordinate with her visits to our place. She is happy that she found a Vet she can trust.

We got back to my place and we went to feed the animals. Cosmo came running and he got a new collar. Rigby got a new collar too. We feed the sheep some bread and alfalfa. I caught Kimiko sneaking bread to Tess. Tess will have a reduced dinner tonight. After the feeding, the dogs got to play ball. They love it when Mom and Kimiko come over. They get run rampart through out the house, fed lots of treats and play ball.

There were quite a few green onions and onions left in the garden so we picked them all. Mom and Kimiko got sent home with bags of onions and they left homemade oxtail soup, homemade chili and pound cake. We all made out like bandits.

Tonight as I write this, I have Tess cuddled in my lap. Someday I will lose her and my grief will be as great as the hole in my heart will be. As I told my Mom, the cats and dogs are with us but a short time, but in that short time, they bring joy and life and laughter to us.

Tess came into our lives when we miscarried a child and she pulled us out of our grief. It was a gift from God and we call her out child but with four legs. She is a wise dog and has shown us a new perspective on life.

She is cuddled in my arms. She knows that I feel the loss of Mika, that I am afraid of my upcoming surgery, that I am bummed about the failure of the last two and how tired I am each day. She has been my shadow, quick to put her paw on my hand as I type, quick to give me a gentle kiss at night and most importantly of all, to love me for who I am.

Love you cat or dog or whatever pet you have as they love you for who you are. It’s called unconditional love. We are blessed.

Rest In Peace: Mika 1996-2008.
We love and will miss you. .

1 comment:

sheepkelpie said...

The first vet your mom brought her kitty to was not worthy of being the person to help her pass gently on. The good, caring, and intelligent vet that you all went to and which helped the kitty out of her pain, was the vet that we should all have the fortune to know. So, tell your mom that the first vet who charge $500.00 for basically nothing that would help the cat, did you all a favor, as he helped guide you to what a real vet should be. RIP kitty.