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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The long farewell...

Homer (a/k/a "Mo" by his foster family) was found by an Angel PAWS volunteer over two years ago - blind, deaf, old, sick, and in the snow, an obvious throw-away.  He landed on his feet, though, and went to the shelter, was treated for his illness, and ended up in a (fabulous) foster home very quickly.  He did, however, require twice-weekly sub-q fluids treatments for Chronic Renal Failure and that's where I entered the scene.  For over two years, I went to his home to give him his fluids, and grew to love him and his family.

(and I must say here that he was never a good patient - he truly hated getting the fluids and it took us quite a while to get our rhythm down.  I can't count the number of times Mo managed to bite me - not badly - or the number of times I managed to stick myself with an 18 gauge needle because he tried to bite me.  You haven't lived until you've stuck yourself with an 18 gauge needle in the cuticle!)

Of course...he was old from the start.  And with age comes a worsening of conditions, not an improvement.  But, that said, he did very well for two years, with very little worsening of the CRF.  The last several months, though, had seen a definite decline in Mo's health, to the point that he completely crashed over last weekend.  His foster mom texted me on Sunday night, that Mo was starting to eat litter.  Never, ever a good sign in a cat.  I suspected anemia but it turned out that his potassium level had bottomed out with a touch of anemia.  We hospitalized him for a couple of days, and he went back home on Wednesday.

He did okay for the first couple of days.  Yesterday, though, I went over to do his fluids after work and he was completely flat-out and just didn't look comfortable.  He also hadn't eaten all day.  I popped him some meds, gave him his fluids and Vitamin B Complex, spoon-fed him a little baby food (showing mom how to do the meds and spoon-feeding), in hopes that it'd give him a little bounce.  We agreed that I'd go back this morning with a feeding syringe and some a/d canned food and I'd show mom how to properly feed him with the syringe.

But we talked more seriously about the inevitable...but thought we could wait until today to reassess him - I really was hoping that he'd get that bounce from the treatment I did on Saturday.

Mom texted me shortly after I got home from their house - he was no better and had vomited the food I'd fed him.  Not good.  We texted back and forth about where he should go if his family felt he couldn't make it to Monday when my office reopened.  I also wondered if giving him some Pepcid and/or Cerenia would help settle his stomach and planned to do that today when I went there to feed him and give him his meds.  I also wanted him to go to a local vet who happens to have Sunday hours, rather than to an emergency facility, just because I know them there and like them.

Not to be.  Mom texted me one more time at 9:45 p.m., that they were taking him to emergency.  I already knew that they felt they couldn't stay with him to the end (which I completely understood), and I just couldn't let him be alone at the end (you see, he was "mine" now, too), so I said I would meet them there.  Besides, I wanted to take him to my office ultimately, to have the cremation handled by our service...and I wanted to be the one to take care of that.

Anyway, Mo was released from his body to go to Rainbow Bridge at about 11:00 p.m. last night, after giving me one last bite, which I choose to believe was a love-bite.

I'm trying very hard today to celebrate his life; that he was given over two fabulous, loving years in a wonderful, wonderful home; two years that he wouldn't have had if he wouldn't have had if he hadn't been scooped up in the first place, and likely wouldn't have had if he'd stayed at the shelter.

But it's hard.  So hard.  And if I feel this badly, I can only imagine how his foster family feels today.

Mo, you're at the Bridge now, able to see and hear, no kidney problems, no heart problems, strong and running through the meadows and enjoying the sunshine.

RIP, sweet Mo.  I'll miss you.
Scraps By Oreo's Meow


  1. :( I have tears in my eyes as I finish reading this. It is actually a heartwarming story to read. Carol you really are an amazing person, the way you commited to Mo and his family for the last couple of years and how sweet and caring you are (and strong) to be there for him in the end. I wish I could just hug you right now! Mo was so lucky to have you! RIP Mo. <3

  2. It is amazing how well cats can do when in a loving home with kidney failure. My sister has their little Fudge who has had CRF for over 4 years now but at 19 he's still hanging in there with a decent quality of life. The vet is always quite amazed at how well he's doing.

    You do a wonderful job and they do get under the skin, and not by biting or scratching, either. :-) I can understand your not wanting to let him go all on his own - at the end we've been with all 4 of ours who have gone on to the Bridge, although they're all buried in the garden rather than cremated. It's hard at the time, yet also brings a strange kind of joy that you have been able to help them through that transition with love. You are an angel to have done what you did throughout the last 2 years and to have been there for Mo, and his family. Mo is a free little soul now, and all is well with him. Blessings and hugs to you.
    Karen xxx