I've never really been one to believe that bad things happen in threes. Typically if something bad happens it's likely to lead to several lesser bad things whether it's the car accident and subsequent repair bills and health costs or simply misplacing your keys when you are in a hurry. However, last week was pretty rough and it was due to three key factors.
Number one, as some of you may know is that we had to put Barnaby to sleep. It was one of the toughest days of my life. He was a very sick cat who had several serious health problems such as rapidly declining kidneys, hyperthyroidism, prone to urinary infections, permanent upper respiratory infection, arthritis and anemic but he was also the sweetest cat I'd ever met. He was 16 1/2 years old but still had the face and attitude of a kitten. He loved being around people, especially meeting strangers and service people who would come to the house and he loved sitting on a warm lap, or sleeping on my warm head at night. He rarely meowed and just had a silent, comforting, loving presence.
I remember a couple of months after moving to the states my grandparents died within a week of each other. Another tough time for me and Barnaby also sensed that. He would come and sit on my lap for hours or just sit next to me on the sofa and then follow me around the house when I moved. He was the opposite of the stereotypical aloof and unloving cat that we see on tv and that I'd always experienced with other outdoor cats (we kept Barnaby inside, and his brother Cooper).
He was far from typical in many ways. Apart from not meowing (which made it extra cute when he did) and loving strangers he didn't like catnip or really have an interest in seafood. Instead he preferred vanilla ice cream (Cold Stone's Sweet Cream was his favourite), milkshakes, sour cream, whipped cream..basically anything white and creamy. He even like Wendy's Chili and would prefer ice cold bottled water to anything he had in his water bowl (but of course we gave him all these things in extreme moderation!). He would occasionally be interested in store bought cat food but was more likely to be found playing in a cardboard box or chewing on a piece of material cord (we had one tied up just for him in his toy basket), or attacking a crinkly water bottle label or sticky tape. As he was so sweet it always brought a smile to our faces to see him get fired up when he was in the mood to play with his toys.
His health had rapidly declined in the space of about 8 months really. He had given us a couple of scares as he lost his appetite and a lot of weight. His arthritis and kidneys made him develop a limp and he gradually became less interested in playing with his toys as actively as he used to. He would still make the trip downstairs to greet us when we got home though or upstairs to get a snack several times a day. As his kidney function declined we ended up giving him Sub-cutaneous fluids on a daily basis. He was also taking three different meds and a supplement which involved squirting the liquid down his throat three times a day (which seemed to be a game for him and challenge to avoid bleeding for me).
As we knew he was very sick we had worried about how we would finally know when he was no longer had quality of life. It was so difficult because he would have a bad day followed by a number of good days where he would play, snuggle, be ornery, snack and roll around on the floor in front of the space heater. We hoped that when the day came we would know.
Well, we woke up Sunday May 30th at 9am and he was in the bed having a seizure next to us. He had had a seizure (his first ever) on Wednesday night that last about 30 seconds and he came around and recovered. In fact he had had a really good week, snacking on his dry food, eating his yogurt (to replace his good bacteria from the antibiotics), spending time with us instead of sleeping etc.. That Sunday, however, his seizure lasted for maybe a minute and then he seemed to shake it off for a short while before the next one came. Unfortunately the next one never ended, it just fluctuated in severity.
We gave him a while to try and wait for the seizure to end but nothing was helping. We put him in the carrier and rushed him to the emergency vet in South Charleston where they told us it was him time. They were able to subdue him but that was just a temporary measure and we had to say goodbye.
The house has seemed a lot emptier over the last few weeks. It really feels like a big presence is missing, especially when we lay down for nap or in the evenings when we would snuggle on my lap or by my feet (and the heater!). Barnaby really was a blessing for both of us and we will miss him dearly.
Thankfully(!), two other bad things happened that week to take our minds of our "Boo Boo" so stay tuned for Part 2. I'm sure I will post more about Barnaby in the next few days and I'll get a few more pictures and even video going when I feel more like it.