Saturday, March 11, 2017

We Lost Another Cat...

I was really hoping to post some motorcycle news, or some happy Spring news. We have no snow, but the temps are still close to 0 at night. I'm sure Spring will arrive, and the bikes and convertible will come out soon. Unfortunately, this post has none of the above...

We had to put Rudy down this morning. This has been an especially hard day. It was just 74 days ago that we had to put down Orangie.

Rudy was born in my closet on 4-29-09 while we were living in Prescott, WI. A pregnant stray cat that wandered into our lives and stuck around our place must have decided we were going to be OK "pet parents". She was an odd one. She wanted nothing to do with either of us, or the other 2 cats, Sticky and Orangie. She wanted no affection, no love.... only food and to be left alone. Early in the morning of the 29th, she jumped up on the bed with us and let me rub her belly. After 10 minutes or so, she got off the bed and disappeared into my closet. I remember waking Nancy and telling her to listen. There was the sound of mewing baby kittens coming from our closet. She had a litter of 6, all nestled on top of my 2 spare pairs of Sorel boot liners.

We then had 9 cats. We worked hard to acclimate the kittens to human contact, but the mother kept picking them up and hiding them every time we'd try. We cared for them until they were old enough to adopt. Then we brought mom and 4 of the kittens to a local shelter that would find homes for them.

We kept two males, Rudy(in the back), and his brother, Screamer (in front).

Rudy was a very unusual cat. Unlike his scrawny, thin, and very talkative brother, Rudy was BIG and solid. He had huge paws, thick fur, no fat, no belly, and great teeth. He hardly ever meowed and when he did, it was almost kitten like. For being the big, burly boy he was, he had a gentle and shy demeanor. He was absolutely in love with out oldest, Sticky. Rudy was Sticky's shadow and was never far from him. Rudy would follow him wherever he went. Sometimes Sticky would snap at Rudy, just trying to get some space of his own. Rudy was persistent. He would always try to nurse off of Sticky. It was pretty common to hear suckling sounds and see Rudy's paws kneading Sticky's belly. Sticky just let him...

Rudy was truly an indoor cat. I remember one night when we lived in Prescott. Rudy was lost outside and it was getting late. I took Orangie outside with me and we walked in the woods behind the house. I was calling his name, but Rudy was nowhere to be found. Orangie was a now tame, ex-feral farm cat and was very used to being outside. That night Orangie stayed outside all night. In the morning, I found Orangie and Rudy waiting at the basement patio door. Orangie was fine, but Rudy looked like he was in shock. His eyes were huge, his tail was huge. He looked scared. A few days later we found a very small red scab on the left side, right about the middle of his rib cage. I always suspected someone, like our 35 year-old (still living with mom and dad) neighbor, had shot him with a bb or pellet gun. Today, Dr. Sammi took x-rays and sure enough, there was a pellet! After that night he never tried to sneak out like the other boys did.

He was the lowest maintenance cat we have. He always seemed the picture of health. But this week it all changed. He started getting sick around Tuesday this week. I thought it might have just been a hairball issue. By Thursday, he couldn't eat or drink. Nancy took him to Dr. Sammi and she gave him a shot of antibiotics and injected him with saline because he was dehydrated. She told us she'd be available this weekend if he didn't improve. Friday was tough. He showed no improvement. There was no way he'd survive the weekend if he couldn't eat or drink! Nancy called the Dr. around 10:30 Friday night. At about 5:40 this morning, the Dr. called back. We were at her place by 6:30. She took x-rays and it showed that Rudy's lungs were full of liquid, and his esophagus was very constricted. We talked with her about what to do. She said that she had seen cats with these same symptoms before and was sure this was FIP(feline infectious peritonitis) related. She had found that Orangie had been a carrier of FIP. There is no cure or treatment for FIP. The virus can hide dormant for a long time before there's a problem.

We made a heart breaking decision... There's no joy in the house this evening.

"Heaven is the place where we meet all of the pets we loved on earth"

RIP my little buddy.