Saturday, June 1, 2013

Surviving The Loss Of A Pet - Ode To Abby - Cats With FIP

Abby on the
counter in the kitchen

Losing a pet can be one of the most devastating events to happen to a person..If you have ever gone through the loss of a pet that you loved dearly, you know what I am talking about.  These sweet creatures are God's way of giving true unconditional love.  They don't care how you look, how much money you make, if you haven't brushed your teeth today, or even if you yelled at them for scratching the couch.

I have lost a number of pets through the years.  None of the losses was ever easy.  But losing my 5 year old Abigail was the worst.

Abby was the sweetest, funniest, most beautiful little cat I ever had.  She was a petite tortie long haired domestic cat.  Her eyes were the color of perfect Colombian emeralds.  Her  mouth was so tiny I could barely see in it to check her teeth.  She was so feminine, a true little girlie girl through and through.  When she walked down the hall, her tiny little back feet turned out like a well trained ballet dancers, and her full, gorgeous tail splayed open like the feathers in Vegas showgirls headdress.  She walked with such poise and grace the I would call her my Vegas show cat.  Occasionally I would put pearls around her neck, much to her disapproval!!.

Her tail was just a bit too short and she would catch site of it in her peripheral vision. She would squeak and chase that tail in frustration.  I hoped that she would eventually get used to it, for her sake, and she did.  Abby was also very timid with strangers, especially men.  Hearing a man's footfalls would send her running to her  favorite hiding place, a lower ledge of a side table covered with a floor length tablecloth.

We used to have a special time everyday in the afternoon when I would give her a brushing.  Abby would jump on top of the highest perch on the kitty condo and let me brush her all over.  If I forgot her brushing she would let me know by rolling on her back and chirpping at me until I got the message.  She loved getting her face and head brushed, and even enjoyed long strokes down her back.  Her gorgeous eyes would be half closed in contentment.

At night Abby would chase me into the bedroom and jump on the bed behind me so fast that occasionally I didn't realize that she was there and almost sit on her!  After rubbing up and down against my upheld arm she would settle on my left shoulder.  Her butt firmly entrenched, her soft tail would flutter onto my face and nose, wonderfully annoying.   In the morning I would find her sleeping on my flipflops beside the bed.   Then she would follow me into the bathroom and sit like a meerkat while I gave her adoring strokes on her head. Those pretty eyes of hers would just melt my heart.

Biffy and Abby approving the table setting

My second cat at the time, Biffy, would chase Abby in some pretty rambunctious play.  But Abby was quite adept in getting away from his roughhousing. She would often run and hide in a kitty bed that was enclosed, she was soo cute!!!

If you didn't get the idea by now I really loved this little animal. I lost her three years ago to FIP.  (check out the link to see an FIP article)  I had never heard of it at the time, and I spent unbelievable amounts of money with her in the best animal ICU in the area.  I also had a Reiki healer going into the hospital to work on her.  Despite suffering from two autoimmune diseases at the time, I was in twice daily contact with both her vets, and made the 45 minute trip daily to see her.  But despite all the best efforts, after two weeks she succumbed to the disease.

I was shattered.  A primal scream came out of me after I got off the phone with the Dr. telling me she had passed away. The hospital had called at 11:00 the night before to tell me she had a grand mal seizure.  They asked if I wanted to come and see her, the implication being that she would not last out the night.  I chose not to go in, believing that I would go the next day and stay with her till she passed.

I was overwhelmed with guilt.  For a solid 18 months afterward I could not speak about her without crying, not just getting teary eyes, but crying.  Did I let her suffer?  Was she angry with me not being with her in the end?  I just couldn't forgive myself for letting this precious little fluffy ball of love and joy die.

Finally I came to terms with what happened.  I realized that I had done everything humanly possible to save my little girl.  I knew that she knew it too.  And that she loved me.  Only now she was with my other beautiful pets in heaven.

Only recently did I summon up the courage to research FIP. I found that it is fatal 100% of the time.  This past year some new protocols been put into place that can offer any hope what so ever.  Once I read that material, I knew that I had done everything that I could to help little Abby.  I didn't euthanize her because she loved life so much, I just tried to keep her pain managed and let God take her.  I made tough decisions on my own about a creature I shared my everyday with.  I listened to my heart and to the best Vet in the world (I took her to Randy Caviness at the Integrative Animal Health Center in Bolton, MA, a homeopathic and conventional practitioner).  I still miss her terribly.  But I now have two new additions to the family, a silly little boy named Samuel Oscar.........
Sam taking a nap

and a little stray that showed up on my door step just as Abby went into the hospital named Kitty Kitty. 

Kitty Kitty looking cute

 I believe that God gives us trials to make us stronger, and losing a beloved pet was one of the worst culminations of a seriously bad time in my life.  Now I have three crazy four legged little boys to look out for, and although I miss Abby dearly, I have come to terms with it and have focused on enjoying what He has given me. Although I must admit to my eyes tearing up while I am writing this.

Please leave a comment if you had a similar heartbreak, and if you know anything more about FIP and any current treatments, or to just give me your opinion.

If you are broken hearted over losing a pet, there are some wonderful books that can help you deal with your grief.  

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