And the number ‘helpless.’ Kelpie is sick.
She’s actually been not well for a little bit now. Awhile back (I actually can’t remember when) she had this day where she wouldn’t stop throwing up. And I really mean would not stop. She barfed about once every 45 minutes or so. We took her to the vet the next day, but she couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Mary Alice (the vet) gave Kelpie a shot to settle her stomach and sent us home with some wet food. And Kelpie stopped barfing. And she was fine for awhile.
But then she started again. Not like that day, not all the time. But every few days or so. Which was weird. Because until that point in her life, Kelpie had thrown up maybe ten times. Now she was throwing up about once every 2-3 days. Nels took her to the vet at the end of March, but Mary Alice still couldn’t find anything wrong with her. But Kelpie had lost about 2.5 pounds–her healthy weight was always around 11 or so. At that point, she weighed 9.
Anyway, she still didn’t stop barfing. We put her on wet food (I usually only give my kitties dry), and I actually started feeding her kitten food. She was getting so skinny, I wanted to get as many calories as possible into her. But it seemed like she was still getting skinner. And she was still throwing up. So I took her back to the vet. That was Monday night.
Kelpie now weighs 6 pounds.
So Mary Alice palpated her stomach some more. And she found something. So she took an X-ray. Kelpie’s got a tumor. Mary Alice can’t really tell where it is–it could be in her pancreas or in her small intestine. Or it could be a swollen lymph node, but that’s unlikely she said. An ultrasound might give her a better idea about where the tumor is coming from, but then it might not. The radiology guy is going to be in town Thursday if I wanted to do it. But they’d have to sedate Kelpie and shave her and stuff. And what they found probably wouldn’t be treatable. The other option is to do exploratory surgery. But then she said that she didn’t think Kelpie, being in such a weakened state, would recover from such an invasive procedure.
So this is the only option I have left before me: let her die.
She’s only ten. She’s not an old kitty. Okay, so she’s not a kitten anymore, but I thought she’d be around for another 5 years or so. But now I’m wondering if she’ll make it to her next birthday. I actually doubt that; it’s not until July.
The reality of this keeps hitting me in odd moments. Like Monday night, when the practical part of my brain said that maybe I should pull my car over to the side of the road because I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t see. Or last night, surrounded by the odd bright colors of the cat food aisle of PetCo, trying to find something, anything, that she would eat, and knowing that I was watching her slowly starve to death.
She’s not eating much at all anymore. I’m giving her everything I can think of, everything she loved before. I even bought her some ice cream yesterday, something she would have practically chewed through the freezer for before she got sick. She gave it a couple of licks. That was it. I woke up disoriented next to her food bowl on the kitchen floor last night, and stared uncomprehending at Oscar, demolishing the food in Kelpie’s dish. “Get lost!” I yelled finally, snatching the dish away. “That’s Kelpie’s, not yours!”
I’m not getting much sleep at all, actually. I stay up late every night reading James Herriot novels. It’s because I am afraid. Afraid that she’ll curl up to sleep one night and not wake up. Afraid of coming downstairs in the morning and finding her cold and still in a corner.
My mom says it might be better that way–if Kelpie dies quietly in her sleep. Because getting our cat Alabaster put to sleep after she got mammory cancer was about the hardest thing she’s ever had to do, she told me. And if Kelpie makes up her mind it’s time to go, then that’s it.
I guess she’s right. I don’t know. I don’t think Kelpie is in any pain. She doesn’t move around a whole lot anymore, and she hasn’t come up to me asking for pats in awhile now. But she still runs out on the porch to meet my car when I get home at night, and still sits on the toilet when I take a shower. She doesn’t talk to me anymore, though. Kelpie is the only cat I’ve ever had that did that–that weird half purr half meow thing. She’d do it at me, and I’d do it back. But I don’t know when she last did that.
I have to call Mary Alice and see if she think Kelpie’s hurting. Does it hurt to be so skinny? Good God, she’s so light. Six pounds! Like a little piece of kitty fluff. And you can feel each and every vertebrae, each rib. I don’t want to take a picture of her the way she looks now. It’s so sad. I don’t want to remember her that way.
I want to remember her as the ass-kicking kitty she was, and is still, although it’s buried inside. I want to remember her ninja moves when she wrestled with Izzy, and the way she would bitch-slap Oscar when he was being a pest (which honestly, is most of the time). I want to remember the time she jumped right in the toilet when she was a kitten, and how she used to leap on my head in the middle of the night, that look of evil glee in her eyes. I want to remember the day she finally let Nels pet her, and then later when she would nuzzle his armpits (ew, but cute). I want to remember how she would catch chipmunks, then carry them around in her mouth like kittens, never hurting them at all. And the day that Bev, my old landlady, carried her upstairs to my apartment, Kelpie’s baby head just peeking over her arm. “Here’s Baby!” Bev said to me, in that bizarre Indiana hick accent she had. That was a week after I moved to Bloomington. Almost 11 years ago.
Kelpie has always been my kitty. We’ve been through a lot together. And now…now I have to let her go. But I don’t know how. I’ve always been kind of a fierce person, in all aspects. But I think the fiercest parts of me are the way that I love and the way I protect. And just giving up on her, well. It goes against my nature. Giving up is against Kelpie’s nature too, which is part of the reason I love her so much. She’s like me.
I’m sorry. Sorry I went on so long. But my heart is hurting and I’m a writer, so what do I do? I write. Badly, in this case. I usually go over my blog posts a couple of times before I publish them, but I’m not going to this time. I don’t want to read all that again. So I’m sure it sucks and I’m sure it’s sad and I’m sure it’s long. And I’m sure I’ll miss my kitty. And that’s all.