I've clearly been AWOL for some time! You can thank Squeaker. He decided to gently push my laptop off the edge of the table. The landing wasn't pretty. The computer is insured but due to a series of errors and travel I haven't got it back yet.
I went to Walla Walla for Citygirl's graduation from winemaking school (more on that in another post or three or four), leaving here last Wednesday evening and arriving home late on Monday night. My mom's friend Em came to stay with her while I was gone, helping Hubby keep an eye on her.
When I came in to say 'hi' to mom, Em pulled me aside. "Gypsy doesn't look well. She's been throwing up, and her belly feels a little full."
Mom has always two cats. Gypsy was found at a local shelter after the first big flood here in 2006. She was estimated to be about a year old and had clearly just had kittens, although the kittens were not found with her. My sister-in-law spotted her, recognizing her for what she was: A purebred Ragdoll, something my mom has always wanted but couldn't really afford. They are lovely cats, long-haired, blue-eyed, and similar in coloring to a Siamese; but sweeter in personality, very affectionate. A couple of years later when my Mom's (then) second cat died, I found Emma on Freecycle. Emma is orange and white, also long-haired, a clingy, needy little thing perfect for an old lady's lap.
I took a look at Gypsy. Her belly WAS distended. I called the vet and made an appointment for yesterday morning.
When I loaded her into the carrier, I noticed how dry her fur looked - not at all her usual shiny, well-groomed self. I found myself feeling a little desperate - hoping the cat would at least outlive Mom.
The 'patient' ahead of us unexpectedly didn't make it out of the vet's office. Both the vet and the pet owner were clearly distraught. I said to the vet as we walked in, "I hope this isn't another one." She shot me a look, knowing that I am a doctor and wouldn't make such a comment in jest, and said, "It's really too bad I don't drink, when I have days like this."
It turns out that some breeds of cat (Ragdolls and Siamese among them) can develop a form of autoimmune peritonitis. Gypsy was severely dehydrated, belly distended, and there were swollen glands and a good-sized mass. "She needs to go to heaven."
Ugh. We moved to the surgery, and she gave her some ketamine (Gypsy managed to bite her - the only evil temper I've ever seen her display), and a bit later she came back to administer whatever it is they give that finishes the job.
She's not my cat - I could have just left her there, I suppose, but for the sake of my Mom and the love she has borne for her kitties I just couldn't. We owe our pets tremendously for all they give us, and they ask so little in return! Babygirl and I came home with the empty carrier, and I still haven't told Mom.
The problem with having dementia is that bad news is intense, horrible, and it makes you cry, and then you can't remember why you are crying and have to ask and be told again like it's the very first time. I can't imagine that she'll remember. I guess what I'm hoping is that she just won't notice she's missing, since Emma is always all over her and Gypsy was more of a come-and-go sort of soul anyway.
Meanwhile I am grieving for her, not because I miss her cat, but because I miss the woman she once was.