October 12, 2010

This time it’s personal.

For those of you who come to my blog and enjoy my projects, you know that I do not blog about myself. Ya, the projects are mine, but I don’t spend time talking about me and mine.

Today I have a personal post, not because I want to, but because I think it will help me.
Last Friday I took my 7 mo old kitten to the vets for a spay. I was so worried now that she is able to jump fences that she will wander, maybe go into heat, wander further, and end up trying to cross the road in front of my house. I let my fears of loosing her decide that it was time to get her fixed.  On Saturday morning I wasn’t picking up a spayed cat from the vet. I picked up a dead cat.

The vet said that this just happens about 1 in every 10,000.  I just left there. I went back today to get a copy of the paper I signed when I took her in. I wanted to know if I could get my money back, or if in fact I had to live with the fact I paid money to kill my cat.  I did not read the paper when I signed it. But I read it today. It also said “I authorize the Animal Hospital to administer any additional vaccinations, medications, anesthetics, surgical procedures, and or treatments that the doctor deems necessary for the health and safety of the above animal while it’s under their care and supervision.”  I needed to know this. I needed to know that if they thought something was wrong, they would have gone ahead and given her something more, despite my not having already given them money to do so.

I’m so devastated that I don’t really know how to get over it.  Yes the wound is still fresh, so I shouldn’t be over it, but at the same time, writing can sometimes heal, so that is what I’m doing. I’m writing.

If you only come to my blog for projects, please feel free to ignore this post. I totally understand.  This is like the crazy cat lady post nobody wants to read.  No, I’m not quite the crazy cat lady, I do not refer to myself as Mama to my cats, but yes, they are family.

I had three cats, I shared pictures of them once or twice. Jelly, Phish, & Chip.
Chip is a 4 year old giant cat with nothing much to say or do. He eats, sleeps, and cries to go outside.  My friends and family almost never see him because he hides when anyone comes over.
Phish is my buddy. He’s traveled thousands of miles with me. He’s 11 years old this next spring, and adores the socks off me. He will lay in my arm with his paw on my chest, staring up at me like he’s in love. He’s such a shedder I don’t hold him as much as he’d like me to.
Jelly Baby was just that, the little one in the family.  You wouldn’t think a cat so young could already have hold of my heart so tightly, but if you knew her, you would understand. I chose Jelly from a litter of 5. She stood out like a sore thumb. The first time I saw her she didn’t even have her eyes open yet. The second time I saw her I knew I wanted her. My husband’s co-worker Jennelle was so happy we would be taking one of her kittens.

Because Chip is so scared of people, I knew I was not going to let Jelly be the same.  When Chip was a kitten he was so in love with Phish I let Phish be the one he got his affection from. Phish wasn’t very happy about this decision, but I let Chip follow Phish around and I left him alone. With Jelly, I decided I was going to do things differently. I tried to put lots of time and effort into talking to her, teaching her the sounds that mean stop it, come here… etc. I held her more than I ever held the other two cats, and did so because I was determined to make sure she loved people, and wasn’t a frightened cat like Chip.

It worked. At 7 months, she knew what to do when I asked, she was interested in strangers who came over, she hung out with me while I watched TV or sat at the computer, and ran around the house like it was hers.

She had a relationship with each of us. With Chip she was playful but respectful. With Phish she would tease, follow and cuddle. Much to my surprise he was perfectly happy with all of her attention. With my Husband she wanted to be held every chance he sat down, and with me, she acted like I was the float in her boat.
I am currently having a hard time wanting to sit in my recliner and watch TV. Most of the time when I was sitting there, I would have Jelly in my lap or on my chest. That little girl would lay on my chest with her paws tucked up under herself staring at my face, from a distance so close I wondered if she just wanted to feel my breath on her face. I marveled how long she would sit and stare at me this close, and I had come to the conclusion she was trying to convince me she loved me… She succeeded.

We had all kinds of names for Jelly because she was so funny. She loved to chase her tail, which I thought she would grow out of, but never did. This made me call her Jelly Dancer. She was hyper crazy about string, toys, some furry mice I made, and in her kitten ways I called her Jelly Baby.  I have 3 openings on my stairs (post here) that she would run up to, throw her paws around, and slide down… so we would also called her Fireman Jelly. Needless to say more, she was so full of character and loved life.

I feel like this giant crime has been committed. Like taking away the life of an innocent happy cat is so wrong that I don’t know how to put this right in my head.  I like things to make sense. This doesn’t for me in any way and I just wish I had been more in love of the idea of her ending up with kittens than the fear I had of her wandering and getting hit.

I know I shouldn’t blame myself, I know blame isn’t even the way, but truth is I am the only one that decided this for her. It’s all me. My Husband wasn’t on board, but I was so scared about “possibilities” I did not consider the possibility that became reality.  Surgery is dangerous for everyone and anything.  They think that she developed a blood clot and it went to her brain.

Saturday morning when we went to pick her up, (having been told the day before when surgery was complete that she could be collected between 9 & 10) we knew nothing of the state she was in.  I was crazy horrified to see her laying there like she was still under anesthetic. I stroked her, talked to her, and it seemed my presence made her want to move even more. Her eyes were fixed open and drying. She twitched like she couldn’t see when I stroked her nose, and her front paws kept scratching like she needed to pull herself up, but couldn’t get the rest of her to follow.  I cried in confusion asking if they could put an IV into her or something, blood thinners, anything…  They said they were waiting to hear from the vet.  My mind was screaming that she wasn’t hooked up to machines like a human on HOUSE, but just laying like they were expecting her to die any minute.
I asked to be left alone with her, and shortly there after my husband came in with me and saw her for the first time. I told him she needed fluid, that I had put saliva on her nose, but that her eyes were dry.
Within a few minutes a man came in and said “We are going to try and put an IV in.” I replied: “Does that mean I’m leaving?” He smiled and escorted us out. I parted saying “She’s an awesome cat, she’s worth saving!”

We got in the car and cried all the way home. When I got home I got undressed and was about to climb in the shower as I said to myself: “They are going to call me and say ‘The IV is in and she is doing better’.” Within seconds of saying that out loud the phone rang. It was the Animal Hospital. “Natalie, this is Dr. P. How are you doing?”  “Not Good. I’m having a hard time with this.” I said. “I’m calling to tell you that Jelly passed away while we were trying to put the IV in.”
I think I burst out with “ok” amongst a flood of tears and then I tried to say “Can I come and get her Right NOW?” But he was silent, and I realized he probably couldn’t understand what I was saying, so I handed the phone to my husband and I began blubbering all over the place as I tried to get dressed & go right back and get my Jelly.

I thought… If I get her quickly, maybe Phish will be able to bring her back to life.  Silly I know, but I wasn’t going to accept this one easily.

I will skip the sob story of collecting and burying her, I don’t think I can type it, but I did bring her right in and set her on the couch, getting Phish to come up and sniff or nudge… hoping something would happen.  (I know how stupid this sounds –I do.) Phish had a few sniffs, acted like he had no idea what this was on the couch, and he got down. Sitting with his back to it.  So there went my miracle.

I also got Chip, feeling that as long as they both sniffed her, that was some sort of good bye for them. He too acted like he had no idea this was Jelly, and walked way.  Which proved to me, the little body minus the bright pink nose I was so fond of was no longer my little girl.  Just the shell I recognized as her. And only the fur I recognized, because the face was no longer hers in any way. “How am I going to find this kitty reincarnated as another kitty?” I asked myself before I put her in the ground.

About 20-30 minutes after she was buried, I sat at the table crying my eyes out, when my husband mentioned the new kittens at Jennelle’s, and said that maybe in 6 weeks we will be ready for another kitten. “WHAT? What are you talking about? Since when does Jennelle have kittens??????” Nobody thought to mention kittens to this cat lover? And… at the home in which Jelly came from? Strange.

Not that I want another cat so soon, but don’t you think it’s just kinda creepy that there should be more kitten’s from the same place just as I loose mine? And I only learn about them after mine is gone?  And here’s another strange factor… The kittens aren’t from the same cat, but Jennelle did keep Jelly’s brother, and he is the #1 candidate for being father of these 3 new kittens.

I find myself crying more when I’m left alone and don’t need to play “brave”. But I’m hoping that writing this down, allowing myself to cry and write, that I will heal a little.  I know all this is over a cat… I keep telling myself that, but it doesn’t change the overwhelming void I feel as I walk through my home. Phish & Chip seem to be zombie like too… I don’t recognize the face Phish keeps making.  We miss her.

Please God, explain to Jelly what happened.
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marlu said...

We lost our friend of 8 years on Labor Day. Also at the vet. I feel so for you and am crying as I type this for you, Jelly and our Wally.
Mary Lou

Shabby Anne said...

You write so eloquently about your Jelly; your love for her just pours out through your words. I am so sorry for your loss. She looked like a wonderful little kitty, the kind I would love to have. Please feel better soon...(reading this made me cry).

Wendy said...

Hi, I am stop by and read from time to time but I don't think I've ever commented. I'm a momma to 3 cats and 2 dogs and my heart is breaking for you right now. Hoping that each day gets a little easier.

Deb said...

My heart is just breaking for you - Jelly was a beautiful cat both inside and out.

kelly said...

your elegy to jelly was so eloquent. i've never had a cat before, but have had dogs all my life. as we've lost each one, there were many days of grieving. it is just one of the cons of having a pet. in fact, loss is a factor, sooner or later, in all of our relationships. but, i have adopted new dogs--not as replacements--but as another relationship to another pet. the good things so far outweigh the bad, that it is easy to take another chance.

i have 3 dogs now--all 3 were rescued--and they are getting older. when they are gone, will i get another pet? you bet. hoping your writing is helping you to cope. ~k

Kara Henry said...

Oh Nat. I will miss Jelly too. She was the sweetest, most playful little girl. I'm so sorry.

I don't know if this will help, and I know it's natural to want to wish you'd felt differently since it ended up so badly, but you were trying to do the best thing for her. These things happen sometimes and they are awful beyond belief, but don't be too hard on yourself if you can, but also grieve as much as you need to. Hugs.

Alicia said...

I'm soo sorry to hear about your adorable kitty. I've never realized or thought about how your pet can die as easily at the vet as a human can die at the doctor's. but I understand how you can fall in love with a pet so quickly. I recently got a puppy and within 5 days I was completely in love with her. so when I found out she had parvo and the chances of her surviving I was more than crushed. but we did everything we could and we were fortunate/lucky. of course you were only thinking the best for your little girl. but maybe a kitty from jelly's brother's litter will have the same personality as jelly and her spirit can live on. stay strong.

Ali said...

Oh Nat :-(
I'm SO sorry that this has happened to your beloved Jelly. I don't think it's silly AT ALL. THAT THOUGHT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND-PERIOD. You were thinking of the bigger picture, a better life for Jelly. You were trying to protect her whilst nurturing her with all the love you had to give her. It's like when I chose to give my three children the MMR vaccine that has had SO many horrible things written about it (from the Dr. A Wakefield report). You just DO.NOT.KNOW what the outcome is except to be comforted by the fact that you did it with the VERY BEST intentions, a kindness and love in your heart for Jelly. It is NOT your fault and I understand completely what you are saying, but it is really not your fault.

As for the other kittens, I don't think it's creepy. Quite the opposite. I think things like that are a sign. Take it as a sign. It's not a sign that you are looking for a replacement for Jelly, you are looking to heal your heart.

I wish you lived closer. We could go out for some high tea and I would make sure you remembered how to smile at the end of that day.

Sending you the BIGGEST bear hug


Jen Gallacher said...

I love you, my friend. I'm just so so sad about this. Poor, sweet Jelly. My heart is with you, Natalie! :(

Natty said...

Gosh... What sweet words of comfort! Let me say that I appreciate so much that you all not only took the time to read all that, but also the time to write me words of comfort. It helps so much to read them. I don't think I can say adequate thanks.

I will admit that today is easier than yesterday, and I really feel that "sharing" has made a big difference. So thank you for being there to write to. I'm sorry for those of you who know what I'm feeling...
Pets really are so great to have around.
I hug each of you.

Anonymous said...

Nat, I'm so so sorry to hear this. I know how much you love your cats. You poured your soul into this post and I'm deeply touch by your devotion to your pets. Hugs!!

Fulla - One-Woman ArmY said...

It makes me happy as much as it makes sad to read this .

Happy that such an experience was able to get something so beautiful out of you . - I mean words and thoughts that just gives me the chills down my spine !

And sad coz I'm so sorry for this loss which I hate to remind you of .
I can only imagine how it was and wish that such a thing NEVER happens to anyone !

And I agree .. Writing is a comfort ..