Mom’s Kitty all the way.
I’ve talked about my kitties before. They’ve always been my best friends. Sebastian McAwesomepants came to live with me when I was 16 and passed away last October at the age of 21. It was much harder than I thought it would be considering his age.
Then there was Biggus Sithus aka Sith. He was more my baby than my friend. When we adopted him, we had two other cats (Aravis: 15 years old and Sebastian: 7 years old) and a dog (Grendel: 2 years old).
To explain the title, I have to go back in time a little bit. Grendel was a rescue. A friend of mine and I found litter of dumped puppies on the side of the highway. We brought them to my townhouse and shut them into the kitchen. After rounds of being told that if you rescue them they are yours, basically zero help from either the city or the Humane Society (in that it town should be called “The Extremely Rude Society of People Who Claim to be Humane so They can be Superior and Snarky”).
Anyway, after the “I have way too many dogs” snafu, my husband and I ended up with a new puppy. Our two cats were fine with this development. Sebastian, especially, seemed taken with Grendel. Sebastian had always been great with babies of many species (although not species of birds or reptiles or rodents. Those were for killing.). He helped raise a little litter of kittens in the past, and you’d never have seen a more gentle, patient adult dealing with little kids. The same was true of Sebastian with this puppy.
Grendel, at that time, was about the same size as Sebastian, who at a healthy weight for his stature, pushed 13 pounds. Sebastian would wrestle around with Grendel and let Grendel pin him. They would bat at each other, run, play, pounce, stalk; all in good fun. Sebastian never got aggressive with Grendel and never clawed Grendel or scratched him. Sebastian would groom Grendel and they would nap curled together. It was super cute.
This relationship resulted in Grendel thinking he was a cat. He ended up being about a 40 lb dog with the legs of a much smaller dog. He was never big, but he was very substantial. This dog would walk around on the backs of the furniture and try to perch in the window sills. He would groom the cats like he had a cat’s rough tongue. That mainly resulted in soggy cats, but Sebastian never seemed to mind. There were things Grendel did that were dog-like. He was after all, a dog.
Along came Sith.
Sith was itty bitty when we got him. Sebastian and Grendel liked him almost immediately. Aravis never did care for him, although the open animosity dwindled with time. Grendel took Sith to be his very own right away. Grendel carried Sith around in his mouth, and romped and played the way Sebastian taught him. They groomed one another, resulting in another soggy kitty, and they snuggled and napped together. They were like peas and carrots.
Sith hugging his pal Sebastian.
So there you see, Sith’s doggie surrogate thought himself to be a cat resulting in the awesomeness that was Sith: the cat who thought he was a dog, who thought he was a cat.
Sith and Sebastian BFFs
Sebastian and Sith became the best of buds after Grendel and Aravis were gone. They could almost always be found curled together somewhere sleeping.
Sith began a slow slide after Sebastian passed. He became very needy and clingy. He followed me around needing to be always in my company. He sat on me whenever I sat down. He started sleeping on top of me. He began to eat less. He stopped grooming.
I decided he needed a kitty pal, and that I was ready for another kitty four months or so after Sebastian died. We found a kitty and named her Sith’s Minion because that was her intended role. She made a great minion except for the small fact that Sith did not like her, not one little bit. She didn’t care, but he most assuredly did.
He started eating less.
I called the vet to have him checked over. His blood workup was fine. He was about as healthy as a 14 year old kitty can be, especially one with his severe allergies (he could eat only a very narrow selection of foods: chicken, mackerel, pumpkin. No grains of any kind, no other meats or fish. You try and find food that fits that criteria. Oh, and he didn’t like pumpkin.) But he had some infected teeth that needed to go. And by some, I mean almost all of them.
Sith home after surgery.
We chose to do the surgery. Dr. Vet did a follow-up blood draw to reassess organ function: still good, but a little worse than before. Nothing alarming; all within normal parameters. He came home a day later still oozing blood from his mouth, but he was happy to be home. He ate and drank nothing for three days. I called the vet. She came to the house and gave Sith subcutaneous IV fluids to keep him from dehydrating while he healed. He acted like he felt better, but he still didn’t eat or drink and still was oozing blood-tinged saliva from his mouth. His right eye and right nostril started running, and after a couple of days of no bleeding, he suddenly started bleeding from the mouth again.
The vet came to get him to see what she could see and give him fluids until he could start eating again. She did a blood work up to assess organ function. She took xrays to see if there was something going on with the extraction sites. After nearly a week in Dr. Vet’s care, we went to the office to talk about Sith’s health.
The x-rays showed what Dr. Vet thought was a tumor behind his right sinuses. She felt that was the reason for the almost completely blind right eye, runny right nostril, and continued bleeding that she could not find the source of, as all of the extraction sites were healed. To top that off, he was in renal failure. The third blood draw showed significant deterioration from the second, post surgery draw, and that, she said should not have been the case even with the potential tumor and continued bleeding.
We had choices, she said. We could ignore the potential tumor, mainly because of it’s location and likelyhood of Sith not surviving surgery due to his age and now his kidneys’ condition. While ignoring the surgery, we could treat him for renal failure which requires a low protein diet and subcutaneous fluids every three days or so, meaning a vet tech visit a couple of times a week. My first thought was of Sith’s food allergies. They were severe and as hard as it was to find food he could eat, I couldn’t imagine there was anything out there that was low in protein that he would tolerate since most forms of protein and vegetable nutrition were not available to him. But, you know, I was willing to try.
Sith and Minion. Not quite snuggling.
Problem was. He still wasn’t eating or drinking. He acted like the food bowl was a vicious bully who was just waiting to poke him with knives if ever he opened his mouth near it. He literally jumped backward from the food bowl every time he wandered over there to eat. I had started feeding him with a syringe filled with watered down wet food paté. He HATED that, but at least it was something.
Another problem was the steep decline of his kidney function. It wasn’t slowly getting worse. It was rocketing downward at an alarming rate. Dr. Vet felt like the decline would continue, and rapidly. She felt like he had, with treatment, a month at most. A miserable month.
So I brought him home with the intention of keeping him with us for the three days before he’d need another IV influx and then letting him go with dignity.
He was only 14! Sebo was 21. Aravis had been 20. I just assumed Biggus would be with me at least that long. I still can’t fathom that he’s gone. I still miss him, achingly.
Sith’s last photo.
He came home, he purred the whole way in the car just snuggled up in my lap. Hubs and I slept on the couch with him that night because he was still oozing blood. He slept right next to me whenever we weren’t up dealing with his bleeding, which was quite a bit. At around midnight, Sith started pacing around in the kitchen and calling to us. I went in and gave him a bowl of his favorite food and he chowed down! First time in almost two weeks! I was ecstatic, over-joyed! And then the bleeding started. It was awful. In the end, he’d made a horrible, grotesque mess, and had eaten very little. I was beside myself with my selfishness. How could I DO this to this wonderful Super-fuzz who has never done anything but love me?
I called Dr. Vet near 2am to let her know I couldn’t watch him suffer like this for three days and that I’d call her in the morning with my decision.
The next morning, Sith was waiting in the kitchen with Minion for morning foods. So I fed him. Why not? Regardless of the mess, he wanted to eat and I wasn’t going to nay say him. There was no mess and he ate the whole bowl of food. He even tried to drink some water after. Then he got back on his pallet on the couch and began to groom himself. He hadn’t groomed himself since Sebastian died! I was so happy! I decided right then that I would do whatever I had to give him the best rest of his life that I could! The rest of the day was much the same. No blood and he at 5 separate times for a total of 3 oz of wet cat food.
I slept downstairs with him again, but it was a much quieter night.
The next morning he was waiting in the kitchen, again. Food, drink, groom. Again, everything seemed great. Then, while he was grooming, he collapsed. He went completely limp. His breathing was shallow and extremely slow. He didn’t respond to any stimuli. I gathered him to me and he stayed limp for almost 5 minutes. Five excruciating minutes. It took him fully a half hour to come completely back to himself. I knew, then, that yesterday had been an anomaly. A gift. A last day of Biggus being himself to hold on to tightly.
Dr. Vet came that day, just before the noon hour. She talked sweetly to my Sith as I held him close to myself. We talked about how this scrawny, black kitty had picked me when I went to get an orange tabby with orange eyes. We talked about how that kitty perched on my shoulder in the car on the way home with his paws tucked under his chest and purred while the world whizzed by. We talked about how that scrawny kitty could leap fully 4 feet into the air from a standstill to grab whatever you were teasing him with. We talked about how that scrawny kitty, who was sleek and black when we adopted him turned grey and a little fuzzy for a while before sprouting longer black hairs. He was very odd looking for a while before he became the Super-fuzz that was Sith. We talked about his great friendships with Grendel and then Sebastian and how Sebastian and Sith were such great buddies. We talked about how Sith would lick you like a dog and how he had zero catlike instincts. About the first time I let him outside after we bought our first house with the fenced in backyard, and he had not the foggiest what to do in the out of doors. We talked about how he walked the perimeter of the fence upright on his back legs, following the fence with this front paws. How he watched Sebo and Aravis eat grass and how he munched on some and then looked around, as if in disbelief, with grass sticking out of his mouth before he spit it out. I told the vet about the time we had a mouse in our kitchen, Sebastian was too old to care at the time, but Sith went in the kitchen and just watched. He never had any intention of hurting that mouse.
He was my favorite in the end.
I told Dr. Vet about how much Sith loved to sit in my lap, but never wanted to be held. I told her the story of Sith and my Grandad and how Sith turned around so Grandad would be petting him head to tail. I told her how Sith opened cabinet doors and kitchen drawers and how he knocked on doors instead of scratching at them. I talked about this substantially sized cat with a tiny kitten’s voice.
I buried my fingers in his fur and pressed my nose to his head and told him I loved him the mostest.
And then he was gone.
It has taken me a long while to get all of this out. Sith passed away on June 6th. Losing Sebastian was hard, but losing Sith has left an abyss that even the adoption of two new kitties hasn’t been able to fill. I miss him so much.