Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tail of Two Kitties ~

If you've been reading my blog for long, you know all about Socks. I've shared some pretty funny stories about this cat. You can read those stories here and here. This past Spring Break, after spending the week away, we came home to find him missing. For several days we called his name and hoped and prayed he would turn up but he never did. It's been hard to wonder what happened and to not be able to put closure on our feelings. I miss that cat.

He was a sweet kitten. We got him when the kids were just 2 and 5. It must have been hard on him being so little with a couple of "lovable" children to play with, but he stuck with us.

Look at that sweet little face would ya! She has so much love for her animals and Socks was so patient with her.

This was the last picture I took of Socks. It was taken right before Spring Break on a beautiful winter day. We sat outside under the tree and read books. I got up to go inside for a minute and when I came back Socks had taken my seat. 

Socks was a part of our family for 6 years. He loved us and we loved him. We will always remember our sweet Socks. 

We waited 3 months to get another kitten. Three months doesn't seem like very long when you think about it, but when you live in the country and start seeing mice in your garage you start thinking about getting another cat. A friend of mine who is a physical therapist had a patient with a litter of pretty little calico kittens. I've always wanted a calico. I think they're so pretty. So the same day I saw the mouse, we got a kitten. We named her Patches.

She was the sweetest little thing and so very pretty. 

She was absolutely NOT going to be a house cat...yeah, ok. Here she is reading a bedtime story. That night we were convinced she was reading along. Every time K would turn the page, Patches would look at the pictures and them rest her eyes on the words. 

When she was about 6 months old I started worrying she might be going to have kittens. She would stay outside during the day and come in at night, so there was that possibility. I started really worrying when I learned young cats sometimes do not make good mothers. The thought of having to get up every two hours to bottle feed kittens did not sound fun nor would it fit into my schedule. So the days went by and Patches kept getting bigger. Finally I decided it was time to announce the wonderful news to the kids, especially K since her dream in life has been to have a cat that has kittens. She was ecstatic to say the least and immediately started playing mother hen to Patches. K didn't want to go to school the next day because she was afraid she would miss the kittens being born. We compromised and I promised her we would take Patches to the vet and have her checked the next day to see if the doc could tell us when the babies would be here. Another reason I wanted to take her to the vet was because she had stopped eating. Her food bowl had not been touched in about 4 days. I was getting worried.

After school we took Patches to be checked out. The vet took one look at her and told us she was very sick. After taking an x-ray to see if she was going to have kittens we were told the very bad news; there were no kittens just a lot of fluid in her abdomen. He told us more than likely, from all the signs, she had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) an incurable and fatal disease that affects approximately 1 in 5000 cats. At this time, there is no vaccine or cure for this disease. If you're interested, you can read more about this disease here. 

Our vet told us our only option was to put her down. Ok, so here I was in the vet's office with my 8 year old daughter who thought her cat was going to have kittens only to find her cat was going to die. This was not a pretty picture. I called Big R to tell him the bad news and through the tears decided we would take her home and love on her for just a little bit longer. 

K was very sad, we all were. We shed more tears over this kitten we only had for 4 months than any of the pets we have lost in the past. Somewhere between the expectation of new life and the fact this kitten was only 7 months old lies the unfairness of it all. I wish you could have witnessed the love and care my daughter gave this cat in her last days with us. And when K questioned what was happening and why, I explained to her (and I truly believe this) that God placed Patches in our family because He knew she would need a little girl to take care of her because He knew Patches was very sick. 

Two days later we knew it was time. I couldn't stand to see her suffer any more. K chose to spend the night with her grandparents. She is a strong little girl, but couldn't bear the thought of putting her precious kitten down. The next day she asked quickly and matter-of-factly about Patches. I told her and that was that. A few weeks later we got the sweetest condolence letter from our vet's office. I read it to Kinley and we both cried again. 

We love our animals and miss them when they are gone. 

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