Tuesday, July 15, 2008

life is short..........


Tonight at 11:11 PM, my cat Tamara passed away.
She's now purring up in cat heaven, finding the rays
of sun to lay in, and a warm lap to curl up in.

Tamara was a rescue cat I got 15 years ago. She
lived a full life to age 16, even after having been
diagnosed with diabetes about 3 years ago. She was
my second diabetic cat, and both passed away at age

I still have 3 cats left, all are age 16, though none of
them are diabetic.

Tamara had been steady on her insulin requirement
for several years. However earlier late last year, that
changed. Thanksgiving night she had seizures, and I
rushed her to the Emergency Animal Clinic. They got
her under control, and my regular vet then changed
her insulin level. About 6 week ago, virtually the same
scenario played out yet again. Cats are notorious for
being hard to regulate on insulin. Tamara had been so
good about it for so long, I knew it was not a good
sign that her dosage kept changing recently.

She was doing good though these last few months,
and had gotten to take numerous trips with me up to
the lake home. On occasion my cat Travis got to go as
well, but they others stayed home. This last weekend
however, I took a trip to Nebraska. My cat sitter
had just had some surgery, and was unable to cat
sit, I took Tamara to the Vet for boarding. She had
been there before several times over the years, but
the last few times seemed to really create more stress
in her than ever before. Stress of course, can alter the
glucose in their system.

I picked her up Monday, as planned. I was told she
had been sick at her stomach that morning and day
before, but she was eating again a bit. I noticed when
I got her home she seemed a bit out of it, but she was
walking around, etc. However, when I got home that
night from dinner, she seemed more lethagic and was
avoiding me. She did not seem bad enough though to
take to the emergency vet then, however I knew
to keep an eye on her.

The next morning, I could not find her to give her the
insulin shot. When I did find her, already running
late for work, she was upstairs. My first thought was,
she made it upstairs, so she's feeling better. In my
haste, I picked her up, and carried her downstairs,
and gave her the insulin shot. I then put her down
by the water bowl, and set down her canned food.
She shunned both, which she never does. Her
"meow" was not a normal one, and she was walking
like she was drunk. I realized then her
glucose was probably off kilter, so I tried to give her
some Karo syrup, but she would not even lick it.

At that point, I knew to take her to the Vet. Sure
enough, her glucose level was quite low. However,
they felt there were other complications, and wanted
to take some x-rays. Of course, I told them to do
whatever it takes. The x-rays showed some potential
problems - some unidentifiable mass areas, and some
possible liquid in the lungs. They had me take her to
a Vet Specialist not far away, and he took more
x-rays and ultrasound. He also withdrew some
of the fluid from in her lung to test it overnight, to
know tomorrow if it was some type of fungus,
or just regular fluid, or what. Obviously, that will not
help her now, but it still may tell me more.

After that testing, I took her back to the Vet, so they
could board her tonight, and give her fluids, keeping
a watch to make sure not to give her too much, due
to her heart murmur, etc. They wanted to be able
to keep her warm, as she had been noticeably cold to
the touch.

About 10:50 PM the Vet called, and said that Tamara
was having great difficulty breathing, and they were
not sure if she would make it through the night. I
told them I wanted to come up and see her, just in
case. Not even 10 minutes later, they called back,
just before I finished getting dressed and to the car.
She had passed away already.

I still did go up to tell her "goodbye". She was the
most loving cat. Just a few stokes on her back, or a
really good cuddle, and she would be purring like a
tractor. I know she knew she was sick, and had some
setbacks along the way, and due to all that, I know
she appreciated each day of hers a bit more than the
other cats.

Some of you had met Tamara, but not all of you. She
was a calico (white, black & butterscotch) blotches of
fur. She loved to greet visitors, and was not shy at all.
She knew how to get attention. She was also a hair
licker. Sitting on the couch, it was not unusual to
suddenly realize she was behind me, licking my hair.
Guests had this happen as well. I suspect it started
with someone that had a great smelling shampoo, or
perhaps hair spray or gel.

Not sure I'll sleep well tonight, as I'm used to Tamara
curling up along my left side. Just this year, she had
developed a new habit, of making sure she laid on top
of my hand, so that my hand was under her stomach.
She would rather have that, even with my hand then
laying still, than for it to be petting her at that time of

Mornings she would also wait patiently as I took my
shower, etc., and got dressed. She would lead me
into the kitchen. I prepared her insulin shot , and
give it to her. She then knew, that it was OK to eat.
She would first hit the water bowl that I, of course,
freshened up for her. I'd then put down her moist
food, and it would be swallowed up quickly. At that
point, she would find Aggie's moist food plate, and
if there was still some left on it, and Aggie was not
around, it would disappear.

Travis will miss her the most of the other cats. He
and Tamara slept together most of the time, except
at night. Then I had one of them on each side of me.
Tonight, whatever sleep I do get, will be unguarded
on my left side.