Sunday, March 2, 2014

Calvin the Cat- c. August 25, 1999- February 19, 2014

Hi there, it's Dana. This is my first blog in my own words, because I'm not sure what the animals are thinking, but I can tell you what I'm feeling.

WARNING: This blog is not going to be easy to read. It may make you cry, because I cried as I was writing it. There are pictures that are not easy to look at, but I post them in the hopes that it will help me through the grieving process, and help you know when it's time for your pet to head to the Rainbow Bridge. 

First of all, I'm so sorry we haven't been good about keeping up with our blog. This year has been tough. Work, a broken leg, working with a broken leg...The most exciting news was that on Sept. 29-30, Mama Cali gave birth to three kittens in front of our house! Here they are at 6 weeks old, once I caught them all. 

L-R: Sofia, Flash, and Sherlock. The two boys went to very good homes and Sofia lives here!

Here are a couple Christmas pics to show you how much fun it was to have two cats in the house!

Calvin's annual Christmas happy face
Sofia is a much better sport. 

On February 10, we lost a feral cat, Ohcee, the kittens' probable papa and Calvin's doppelgänger. 

 I trapped him and brought him to the Humane Society for Spay Monday and because he had a badly injured paw. Ohcee had FIV (feline HIV) and because I didn't have anywhere to keep him separate from other cats, he was a risk to all the other cats (Calvin and Sofia included) and had to be put down. I cried and cried that night, because though it was the right thing to do, it came as a shock that any of the ferals had FIV. The fact that Ohcee (short for Outdoor Calvin) was so handsome and looked so much like Calvin had me very upset. Here he is with Calvin in the carport.

If you follow us on Instagram @allearsdownhere, you'll see many more pictures of the feral cats and my fur kids. 

On Valentine's Day, Calvin was limping and doing weird things with his paw. We took him in, and it was clear he wasn't feeling well. 

This is not my happy chatty boy. Everyone at the animal hospital agreed. The vet was honest- she was worried, but after some fluids and a B12 shot, Calvin seemed to perk up. He still wasn't eating much other than gravy, so I steamed some chicken for him the next day. 

The vet said Calvin needed to stay inside, away from the feral cats for a week or two, so he got his own bedroom. He still wasn't feeling well, though, as you can tell from these pictures. 
He was only eating if I brought food and treats -to- him. It took me a couple days to realize that Calvin was really fading. He was probably just eating for me. <3

On Wednesday, the 19th, it became clear that it was probably time. 

He and Sofia had some tuna for what is now known as Calvin's last supper...
It looks like he's doing better, but I literally had to stand him up because he didn't have the strength to get up on his own.
I went back to work, called the vet, and when I got home, Calvin hadn't been able to get back up to the bed. It was time. 
Taking in his last sunbeam

I had a good hour to sit with Calvin and tell him how much I loved him. This is what saying goodbye to a best friend looks like.
Sofia loves her big brother so much. 

A very good friend drove us to the vet. Calvin got to sniff the outdoors for a good minute before we got in the car. He was a very good indoor/outdoor cat, never going much further than our own yard, but making friends around the neighborhood. 

One of the signs that Calvin wasn't doing well was how creaky and squeaky he sounded when I'd pick him up. The last few days, I heard sounds I'd never heard from him before. In the car on the way to the vet, Calvin lost control of his bladder. I'm not sure he had had much control the last few days, but he did use the litter box until the last day, I believe. 

I don't have any more pictures, because it already looks like he's dead in the ones I've shown. I'm not sure he would have made it one more night, so we did the right thing by going to the vet when we did.

What I can tell you about euthanasia is that it is virtually painless to your fur-kid and quite peaceful. The only part that hurt was putting in the IV, but my once-17-lb.-cat was now down to 7 lbs., so it must have hurt trying to get in his little vein. I was petting Calvin's head, facing him the whole time so he knew I never left his side. The first medicine basically put him in a twilight state, so he finally felt no pain, and then the doctor administered the second drug. I watched as Calvin's eyes dilated and at some point, he just stopped breathing. The doctor checked to make sure his heart had stopped, and gave me a hug and said, "You did the right thing."

The body stays warm for a while- it's hard to accept that your friend is finally gone. I personally never thought I'd kiss anything dead, but when it's your own fur-kid, you don't think about it. The veterinarian said that she would make an ink pawprint as well as a clay one. 

Maddy had surgery the other day, and I wasn't expecting to get Calvin's ashes back so quickly, but when I picked up Maddy, the assistant vet was there with a gift bag that had his ashes and the clay pawprint. She also gave me a hug and told me how sad she was when she heard the news the next morning.  I wasn't ready to look inside the bag just yet, but when I got home, there was a card in the mailbox from everyone at the animal hospital. 

This will definitely be framed, and I'm even thinking of getting it as my first tattoo. Everyone's words were so sweet. 

I believe the cremation company made the clay pawprint, which isn't actually clay but some sort of polymer that dries and is in a neat leather frame that opens like a book,with the Rainbow Bridge poem on the other side. There are Calvin's claw marks in his, as well as a couple strands of fur, which made it all the more real. The ashes are in a clear plastic bag, which is in a velvet pouch, which is inside a little wooden box.  I'm thinking about getting a different kind of urn, one that doesn't look like an urn, but for now, what they gave me is just fine.

I shouldn't have looked at the ashes. You think it's going to be really fine gray dust like you see in the movies, but it's not. The pieces are different shapes and sizes. I thought I saw a part of a claw and lost it. I cried and cried. 

It's been eleven days without Calvin, and I cry every day about him. I wonder if Sofia and Murphy and Maddy know he's gone. Maddy will miss chasing him, I'm sure. The first day or two, I kept thinking I saw a swoosh of his tail out of the corner of my eye. Then, three days ago, I saw this new cat in my yard. 

It's a new Ohcee! Ohcee2! He will be called Ohcee Dos. I'm sure this new cat is here because OOC (Original Outdoor Calvin) is no longer defender of this territory, but I like to think that Ohcee and Calvin sent him so I'd still have a gray cat. 

If you made it to the end of this, thank you so much for reading. I miss my cat and needed to write this. Stay tuned for a blog post with pictures of Calvin through the years. For now, I leave you with this very sweet picture a friend sent me. 

See you at the Rainbow Bridge, Calvin. We love you!