It's been a sad 24 hours here. Last night, one of my best friends had to put down one of her cats. She brought home two brothers, Calvin and Magic, ten years ago. She had intended to get only one cat that day and fell in love immediately with the lovable Calvin. He was the friendliest, most laid-back cat ever. Nothing ever phased him. Magic, on the other hand . . . he found a home only because he was Calvin's younger and more skittish brother, and my friend knew in her heart that she could not separate them.
The boys turned ten in October. There was an annual trip to the vet for shots and the vet pronounced both in excellent health for senior cats of their age. It was later that month that Calvin's problems began. Mama came home one night and was surprised not to find Calvin waiting for her at the door. He came up from the basement a short time later, and it was instantly apparent that all was not well. He wasn't his usual animated self and seemed to have balance issues. An emergency trip to the vet soon followed, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection.
Still, it was obvious something wasn't right. He kept tilting his head to the right, then stopped eating the crunchy cat food, would only eat the soft canned stuff. This led the vet and vet tech to wonder if perhaps he had an abscessed tooth. So, back in he went on January 28 for surgery. Except--when they put him under they found his teeth were all fine. The vet did a little exploring and discovered a tumor inside Calvin's ear. He removed it, hoping he got it all. It's a little difficult to see inside a cat's delicate ear, not to mention how dangerously close to the brain and optic nerves it is.
The vet wanted to keep him for two days after--partly because it takes a lot longer for cats to recover from the anesthetic than dogs, and because there had been a little bleeding. Calvin ended up staying an extra night due to that heavy snow storm I documented last week. His Mama was rather upset Thursday evening when she brought him home and he immediately dove under her bed and refused to come out. Friday, he came out to eat, then went to hide again. I spent the weekend over there as friend was pretty upset by Calvin's atypical behavior.
And then Friday rolled around.
His mama was already stressed by Thursday's snow storm and the car getting stuck at bottom of her driveway. She had been out several times during the night to clear away snow (the wet, heavy kind) and try to dig out the car. She worked at home Friday so she could work at digging out the car in between conference calls (which she finally did with help of a neighbor). It turned out to be a good thing she was home.
|Magic and Calvin (right), 2011|
Around 10:30 last night, Calvin woke her jumping off the bed. A few minutes later she heard what sounded like something falling over, followed by Calvin mewing in distress. She rushed into the living room to find him having a grand seizure. She calmed him as best she could, but unlike early in the day, the seizure didn't seem to stop and he started growling and scratched her. She called the emergency vet, who instructed her to bring him in right away. When she called to let her brother know, he (wisely) commanded her not to drive, to call Mom to come get her, which she did.
She managed to get Calvin into his carrier while waiting for Mom, then called me. I did my best to reassure her it would be okay, no matter what happened, that we were all here for her. While we were talking, Calvin started having another grand seizure in his carrier. You all, I cannot even tell you how awful that was. I could hear him thrashing about in his carrier, his mewling cries, and knowing there wasn't anything either of us (especially me, not actually being there) could do for him. I was almost sobbing as hard as his mama at that point. As she ran out the door, I reminded her that she could call me or one of our other friends no matter how late it was. I couldn't go back to bed after that, so hopped online. I could see lights on in another friend's house across the street, and knowing how tied to her phone she is, I sent a quick message asking if she was still up. She called me a few minutes later to ask what was up and I filled her in. It was just past 12:30am when we got the call we were dreading. They couldn't get the seizures to stop and had to put Calvin down.
|Fresh cat nip, 2012|
Since he has gotten used to Calvin leaving for a couple days at a time over the past four months, I think it will be a few days before he truly senses that his brother isn't coming back. Mama is already worried that he will be too lonely by himself (this is the skittish, clingy one), but is afraid Magic won't accept another cat in the house. As we have all told her--including the vet tech--it might take a couple weeks, but he would adjust. It has also been suggested she get a female, rather than risk bringing another alpha male into the house.
I think, once she has grieved a bit, that there will be a new cat in the house. I don't think it will be long . . .
Rest in peace, Calvin. We're going to miss you.
|Calvin sleeping in cat tree, 2012|