This is going to be a bit of an odd post given that I am making it at 4:30 in the morning. Friday we had to move completely out of our cubes at work, which meant disconnecting everything in it and toting it elsewhere in the building temporarily. They are in the process of swapping out the carpet squares, and it was my hope that they would have been done by yesterday so that I could maybe go up and hook everything back up. However I spoke with my boss who tried to do the same thing, and they had yet to get to our aisle. So as a result I am getting up silly early this morning and planning on going in and trying to get everything hooked up and ready to go before most of the office gets in. This post will also be odd given its content. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster of a weekend, and those that follow me on twitter might have a clue as to why. Friday evening we lost our eldest cat Chloe, because it was time to make the hard call. A little over a month ago we discovered a tumor that was growing beneath her jaw, and after getting her checked out the vet said there wasn’t really much we could do other than palliative care. Given the fact that she was fourteen, and given the fact that it had already consumed part of her jaw… there really wasn’t much that could be done to truly “fix” it.
So we took her home not really knowing how much time we would have for her. For the first bit things seemed pretty okay, and I had a false sense of hope that she would just be the normal cat we have known and loved all these years… well with a big growth hanging off her jaw. However the tumor continued to grow and the first sign something was wrong was that the right side of her mouth started pulling open causing her to drool. So we spent quite a bit of time chasing her around with a wash cloth trying to clean up the constant string of drool following her around. Around about this time she also started having trouble grooming herself, but my wife being off work for the summer was awesome and did an amazing job of trying to help her out. Friday night however she had developed what I can only describe as a parkisonian tremor, and instead of just drool for the last several days there had been a pretty constant bit of drainage of some sort along with it. She had been picking at food at best, and each morning it seemed like she was spending less and less time at the food dish and more and more time laying down… or hiding under the bed. When she has started scratching herself and making her jaw bleed, I felt like it was time to go back to the vet.
I feel so damned guilty about that too, because I knew going back to the vet was going to ultimately mean them suggesting that we put her to sleep. I’ve spent much of the weekend agonizing over this fact, that I was the one who ended up deciding it was time. The vet did his best to reassure me that it was more than time, and even described an anecdote of him going through something similar with his own animal. I realize that it was supposed to be comforting but really in the end it didn’t help much. I mean it was time… I am absolutely certain of that fact. They administered an anesthetic and the vet took the opportunity to let us look inside of her mouth. The entire lower jaw had essentially been consumed by the tumor, and instead of just extending down and out… it was also extending up under the tongue to a point where within a few days it was probably unlikely that she would have been able to swallow at all. All of this doesn’t really help though, because I feel the guilt of having to say goodbye to one of my babies. No amount of logic or evidence is every going to make me feel less horrible about the conclusion of events.
Cats switch allegiance throughout their lives, and for the last little bit Chloe had been mostly my wife’s cat following her around and sleeping on her pillow. However she started off her life as very much my little buddy, and there were absolutely times where that was still the case. All of our babies have been rescues of one sort or another, and Chloe was no exception. I don’t even remember the circumstances of her arrival other than the fact that we went to a veterinary clinic on Utica avenue in Tulsa to look at a bunch of kittens who had been found abandoned. I had wanted a tuxedo, because I had always been pretty fond of them. I college we had an amazing stray that hung out around our trailer that we ultimately named Pepper, and that my parents adopted. However when I got to the clinic there was this adorable little reverse tuxedo, that pulled at my heart and made me know that we had found another cat. Thinking back now… we had signs early on that something was up but they only really make sense now in retrospect. One of the defining characteristics of Chloe was her good nature, and her often times annoying habit of licking quite literally anything within range. I mean to the point of using her paws to pull something closer to her face just to lick it. This meant often times hiding your face or arms under the covers to keep from constant barrage of kitty slobber. The thing is… about two months ago the licking largely stopped, which makes me wonder if that was about the point which the tumor started bothering her.
There have been many a raid night that she was draped across my arm. As far as we have been able to figure out, she was more than likely a ragdoll mix of some sort given her habit of plopping down and almost melting into the ground. As she got up there in age she couldn’t really jump up onto the bed or the couch, so we started putting pet stairs around the house to help her ascend. She was also among the most social cats we have ever had. She never really had trouble with any of the other cats, and when someone came over she was always among the first to greet them… and likely annoy the hell out of them with attention until they finally resigned themselves to being licked. The funny thing is… she was not entirely a pushover. There have been a few times our current youngest Kenzie pushed her a little too far, and unleashed a flurry of attacks… but then moments later she would be back to normal and grooming her again. I think she groomed other cats more than any other cat we have had throughout the years, so it wasn’t only human beings that got licked… it was pretty much anything, she even tried grooming the ferrets. This mornings post has been difficult to write, but also at the same time I think maybe it helped. I had all these pent up feelings all weekend long, and while I have cried a little while writing this morning… it has almost helped to commit things to the page. I want to thank all of the folks on twitter who flooded me with support Friday night. I just didn’t have it in me to respond to each of you, but know that every single message meant the world to me. Tomorrow we will be back to normal posting, or whatever passes for normal on my blog. However today I just had to get this post out of me.