Friday, March 18, 2011

R.I.P. Gracie

February 2007

Our cat died yesterday. 

We adopted Gracie in February 2007, about five months after our kitty Miss Priss died of cancer. We adopted her from a no-kill shelter that estimated she was about 8 years old, which is considered a "senior" cat.

Gracie was dumb as a door post, always underfoot and very talkative. At night, it was sometimes hard to tell whether it was Gracie yowling or Ellie crying. 

But Gracie was a sweet kitty with a purr you could hear across the room. Ellie was only 2 years old when we adopted Gracie, but she put up with a toddler chasing her around and wanting to pet her. 

Gracie had health problems from the start. She had apparently been dumped before being brought into the shelter; she had been declawed, but never spayed. She'd apparently caught a herpes infection while on the streets, and it left her mostly blind due to scarring on her eyes before we found our way to an animal ophthalmologist who got the virus under control. Gracie had allergies that required expensive, special food. In four years, we spent more on Gracie than what we spent on Priss over 15 years. 

There was nothing Gracie liked more than being around her people. Even a little bit of attention would get her purr engine going, and it was the Harley Davidson of purr engines. In her first year with us, Gracie figured out about what time Scott (& Ellie, once I was sick and Ellie was in daycare) were due home. She'd park herself in front of the door that led to the garage about 30 minutes before they were due home, and yowl at it. (Which was cute, but got old to listen to.)

We used to call Gracie our puppy dog cat because she'd follow us, which could be a danger in the kitchen as she dogged our feet between stations. When we headed upstairs for bathtime and bedtime, which is when she got her evening meal, she would stay half a step ahead of us, which was sometimes challenging when you're trying to herd a preschooler upstairs.

On Thursday night, Scott was supervising Ellie's bath and getting Gracie's food out for her when he picked her up to move her out of the way of the cabinet door. Something didn't feel right, so he looked closer and discovered her abdomen was swollen. It looked like she'd somehow swallowed a grapefruit. It was pretty clear that it was something that couldn't wait until morning.

I made calls while Scott helped Ellie finish her bath and get into her jammies. If we'd noticed the problem 15 minutes earlier, I could could have at least talked to a veterinarian we knew. But I called 10 minutes after they closed. Their voicemail referred me to Dove Lewis, an emergency hospital for animals, where they told me that if the swelling was visible, she couldn't wait until morning. 

We didn't want to upset Ellie so we did storytime and then I took her to bed while Scott took Gracie to Dove Lewis, where the vet said her abdomen was just full of fluids. We don't know exactly what caused it, but the possibilities ranged from congestive heart failure to liver issues to cancer and the vet said none of them were treatable. 

They offered to try to make her comfortable so she could come home and Ellie and I could have a chance to say goodbye, but that sounded more cruel. Scott held her as she died, and said she was definitely ready to go. 

She was a good kitty, and we'll miss her.

Gracie got a "lion's cut" in 2009 due to many mats. Hard to believe this is all there was under all that fur!!


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of Gracie. I grew up with cats and they add so much to the family and the home. Even when they are underfoot.

Big hugs to you and your family.


Penelope said...

I am so sorry. What a beauty. They are part of the family and it is hard to say goodbye.

Sherril said...

Sounds like she had a great home with you all for the last part of her life.

My dog Bear had abdominal swelling that was a fluid called ascites caused by an abdominal cancer. We had it drained once but it came right back and he went downhill fast.

Bye to Gracie and I'm sorry for your loss.

Just Jenn said...

Very sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. Sounds like she was a wonderful companion.

SharonMV said...

I'm very sorry that you lost your kitty, Gracie. I'm sure you'll miss her.


Laurie said...

So sorry, Aviva! The loss of a pet is always very difficult. Thinking of you!

Pissed Off Patient said...

So sorry! Poor Gracie.