So, about this week
As I mention on my About page, I have four cats — JJ, Jordan, Jessica, and Jeremy (yes, we were following a theme). We don’t have kids, so the J Crew are pretty important to us and very much beloved, even when they try to lick our oatmeal before we’re finished with it and insist on grooming us (because obviously we’re falling down on fur maintenance).
Back in June, Jordan started throwing up some fairly nasty stuff. He and JJ are my two 12-year-olds, and JJ throws up as a hobby so I didn’t think much about it at the time, just dragged out the carpet cleaner and muttered under my breath about cats who couldn’t bother to walk two feet and throw up on tile. But when Jordan stared vomiting every day and I suddenly realized I could feel his vertebrae, I knew something was seriously wrong and took him into the vet.
Our vet, who is a gem of her profession, took a blood test and examined him, and said it was either GI issues or cancer. She prescribed prednisone, showed me how to administer subcutaneous fluids to keep him hydrated, and said she wanted a followup in three weeks. The blood test came back the next day — signs of red blood cell generation and an elevated white blood cell count. In the back of my mind I knew what that meant, but Jordan had perked up wth the Pred and sub-q fluids, so I basically stuck my fingers in my ears and said, “La la la, it’s just GI issues, la la la.”
Well, it wasn’t. Jordan’s recheck showed some improvement and the vet recommended B-12 shots, so that got added to the sub-q ritual, but within a few days his health took a downturn and he stopped eating. His belly began to swell, and I had to use an appetite stimulant and syringe feed him to get anything down his throat. A week ago today, he started eating again and I thought for a moment that we’d turned the corner and he was going to get better.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. He stopped eating again, and by this point he was skeletal except for the swollen belly. Back he went into the vet on Monday; after an X-ray showed thickening of the intestinal wall, the vet said that the thickening plus the ascides (fluid in his belly) meant that Jordan had GI lymphoma, which cats don’t come back from (they can go into remission sometimes, but there’s never a cure), and I had to get ready to let him go.
Since he was still alert and didn’t seem to be in serious pain, we elected to delay the euthanasia. My husband and I spent the next two days holding him, which was his all-time favorite activity, telling him how much we loved him, and watching him fade away. By Wednesday I knew it was time, and called to make the appointment. I spent that night pretty much sitting vigil with him; carrying him to the litter box so that he could pee, getting him water when he was thirsty, and petting him while I tried to cry silently.
Thursday, my husband carried Jordan in his arms as I drove us to the vet’s. Jordan was essentially comatose by that point, but made a couple of sad little squeaks that had us both sobbing. When the doc administered the first sedative, I can honestly say that I didn’t see any difference. His heart may still have been beating, but for all intents and purposes he was already gone.
Five minutes later, his heart stopped beating, and I lost my sweet little tuxedo boy.
I’m writing about this because I know I may have come across as a little ditzy or distracted for the last six weeks, and I wanted to apologize. If I’ve dropped the ball or missed a deadline on a post, if I haven’t promoted people as aggressively as normal, well, now you know why. I also wanted to say that I very much appreciate all the kind comments I’ve gotten, and everyone who has been retweeting Doris O’Connor and C.R. Moss’s posts on Grading the Curve have just blown me away. This outpouring of kindness during an incredibly rough week has made a huge difference to me, so thank you.
Jordan P. Feline, 2001 – 2013. We love you, baby. Always.