There was something about Saturday, I knew something was going to happen. Really it started on Friday when I impulsively bought a spare wheat heat bag ….. or maybe on Thursday when I tidied the cat medicine and health care cupboard and sorted out the feeding bottles. Mostly Saturday had been about cleaning but somehow with phone close and a sense of being on stand by. Part of me told myself I was just being fanciful and a bit dramatic, while another part has learned through experience to trust these intuitions.
At 14:52 the message I’d been ‘expecting’ pinged through from one of my rescue friends in another part of the country. A small kitten had been found outside alone the day before, and taken in but was clearly unwell. She was only about 15 minutes drive from me. By 15:08 we had consent from the finder to sign her over to rescue, had an address and I was on my way, complete with heated wheat bag in the carrier to keep her warm. By 15:47 I was at the vets with her.
She clearly wasn’t ok, but an examination showed no inflated temperature, heart and lungs apparently fine though quite dehydrated. She explained very loudly and clearly to the vet just how much she didn’t want sub cutaneous fluids.
So we came home and set about sorting the little soul out. She was pretty grubby round her face and her eyes and because she wasn’t able to lift her body properly when she’d wee’d she’d just been lying in it.
There was a bit of a dilemma as to whether bath or feed came first. From a purely selfish point of view, I didn’t want to cuddle and feed a stinky kitten. I half persuaded myself she’d feed more happily if she was clean but then decided that the bottle had to come first.
It wasn’t easy to get her latched on to the bottle, and she didn’t have a very strong suck, but she made her way through a bottle, and then a bit more. It looked hopeful. Then we started on the bath.
She was good in the bath …. too good ….. it rang a faint alarm bell. She was very sleepy afterwards but flopped wherever I put her, limbs flailing around … another alarm bell. I picked her up to give the next feed, popped her down whilst I sorted the bottle … she scuttled a few feet into a corner, head down. More alarm bells. Picked her up and she fed slowly again. Something about her eyes though ….. she’s utterly beautiful …… but something not right …. but she’s been out all night and cold and dehydrated ….. so ……. hopefully …….
She refused her bedtime bottle, so I tried with the syringe but only got a little milk into her. I slept downstairs on the floor next to her bed. Hoping all the time that she’d become more lively having had some food. Didn’t really sleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night I woke hearing her screaming. She appeared to have grabbed the corner of the crate tray in her teeth and scrabbling with her arms and legs and though she couldn’t get free. Half asleep I unhooked her and put her back in bed.
Still on the roller coaster she has her bottle as normal in the morning, but then refuses the next. Conscious of the risk of her becoming dehydrated again and consequently more reluctant to feed I keep trying without much success. At lunch time I go to take Tibby to her new home, spend a little time helping her to settle and then race back to Lucy. Now very anxious about her not taking more fluid in it becomes more tense. I use the syringe to force milk in, drop by drop, checking each time that she swallows. We spend an exhausting afternoon with her on my lap, syringe by my side, trying each time she was a bit more alert to get a little milk down her.
In the evening aunty Jenny came over and took her home with her as I was at work on Monday. She messaged to say that Lucy had had a bottle of milk and was having lots of cuddles
It was looking hopeful again.
Then another message to say that Lucy had had a fit. She’d been walking round in circles, pressing her head against objects and then after the fit very floppy. …. but sleeping peacefully. Discussion about whether to go to out of hours vets, whether they could do anything, whether they might just put her to sleep without consideration, whether Lucy might just die quietly without intervention. So painful. Messages in the morning about her having an appointment with our own vet, more discussion, and then the message we were expecting and dreading …..
The symptoms and a second vet examination showed she had brain damage, most probably as a result of liver shunt which tends to show itself at her age. It was too late to be able to be sorted out and the kindest thing was to let her go.
Whatever her experience was before she came to us …… something must have been ok for her to have survived and grown to this stage …. and something must have gone terribly wrong for her to be found abandoned out in the cold on Friday ……. we can at least know that she was very loved and cared for in the last couple of days of her life.
Rest in Peace baby Lucy