My mother’s beloved cat A.J. died today.
This morning she began having trouble breathing, and my mother came down to ask me what to do. I told her I would put vet care on my Visa and that we should leave. When she picked AJ up, she lost control of her bladder and bowels. She seemed to be in pain. She wrapped her in towels and the two of us got in the car and left for a clinic that my brother speaks highly of.

A single vet was in that day, with no receptionists; the sudden blizzard and the frozen roads (everything turned to solid ice last night with the storm) there were literally no others available to come into the office.
We brought AJ back and he looked her over, noting how serious her laboured breathing was. She was symptomless yesterday and acting normally; this had only begun an hour before. She got worse while we were just sitting there.
He had no real idea as to what could make her this sick this fast, but after further examination, the closest thing he could figure is that a large tumor in her spleen had ruptured. Her abdomen was distended and filling with fluid (blood). Her gums had turned white and her veins were collapsed from severe anemia. Her nose was running and she had suddenly developed friction in her lungs, she couldn’t take air in, she couldn’t move.
He was so concerned about her physical condition and heart that he was afraid to move her or even take blood, lest she collapse. He went over some options with us, and said that the basics would be $500-$700 in testing for today alone, and the chances of finding something he could fix when it had come on this strong and was progressing this rapidly was incredibly slim. I appreciate his honesty: I’ve seen it in so few vets.
She was getting rapidly worse right before our eyes, when two hours ago she was normal… I asked him to leave us alone for a few minutes. We made the decision to let her go.

My mother cried hard. I cried with her. AJ was my cat first. She was a showcat: she won trophies and ribbons and always came home with “Best in Show”.
I used to sit her on the kitchen counter and give her special organic oatmeal coat scrubs, velour brushing mits, vitamin E drops and fish oil in her food…. she was massaged regularly, fed fresh food, sublimely healthy, she could walk on a leash and knew basic commands like sitting and lifting a paw for a judge to inspect. She had a huge ego from her years in show and carried herself like a diva for the remainder of her life.
When she was a few years old I moved up to my father’s and didn’t take her with me; she became my mother’s cat after that, she never forgave me for leaving her. She remained my mother’s loyal companion from that point forward, choosing to become an exclusively indoor cat in her later years. She’s spent the last few years sleeping on a towel next to my mother’s head on her bed at night, getting up onto to use the box and eat and very occasionally sit a few inches outside the door to soak up some sunshine in the summertime.

She was very old for a cat, and she’s incredibly loved. She is the third cat in as many years that we have lost in this household. Rest in peace, A.J.

I took these a few minutes before she passed with my cellphone. I wish I’d trusted my gut when I left the house and grabbed my camera. Something told me to bring it, but I left it behind instead…
 

This one is older, from before Tempest was born – I can’t find anything more recent.

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