Today Ben and I said good-bye to our cuddly, face-rub loving, "give me attention NOW" kitty, Squeak. She was 22 years old. As you can imagine it was an incredibly difficult decision to make. We lovingly called Squeak the energizer kitty because even though she had gone through several potentially life ending diseases over the years, she just kept living strong.
8.5 years ago she was having chronic diarrhea. The vet said it was either IBS or intestinal cancer. At the time Squeak was 13 and I wasn't going to put her through chemo-therapy, so the vet suggested a treatment of Prednisone and a special food. Best prognosis, she had 6 months to live. Squeak reacted very well to the treatment. Since then we've gone through a poisoning scare in 2003. Then hyperthyroidism, which meant having half of it removed in 2006 and eventually radioactive iodine in 2007 to kill the tumor. Unfortunately they zapped too much, so we needed to give her a Synthroid pill. In the Spring of 2009 Squeak started having difficulty walking and in June 2009 we discovered she had diabetes. She needed an insulin shot twice a day. Again she responded well to the treatment and continued to have a pretty good quality of life.
About a month ago we noticed her walking was getting worse. Thinking it was the diabetes not being maintained well, we tried a new vet, Dr. Wendy Simpson at Morrisville Cat Hospital, for a second opinion. Dr. Wendy is very progressive and recognized several things about Squeak's condition we had not be told about previously. When we got the blood tests back, Dr. Wendy's report started out with "Here's the things I'm most concerned about..." followed by a list of 9 things. None of them were particularly dire on it's own, but the combination of them all were troubling. One positive from the report was the diabetes was very well maintained. We decided to try probiotics for the diarrhea and potassium for the weak hind legs.
So now poor Squeak was on 2 pills, 2 powders mixed in her food and 2 insulin shots a day plus eye ointment twice a day. Through all these, she still seemed to have a decent quality of life. When we walked into the room she would get up, walk over to us and beg to be held. She loved having her face rubbed and would purr so hard you could hear it across the room. Sadly, the reality was, she was not going to get better. The potassium and probiotics had not really helped, so there was something more going on. At her age, even if we had put her through the ultrasound, MRI, biopsies, etc to find out what else was happening, we wouldn't have treated it. We had a regular check up scheduled for her today, but during the 45 minute drive to the vet, I made the decision it was time to help Squeak be at ease. I think the folks at the vet must have read it on our faces as we walked in because they escorted us to a room immediately. Perhaps it was the red eyes and sniffing noses. Dr. Wendy supported our decision. She suspects Squeak had lymphoma in her spinal cord. Squeak probably could have kept on going for many more weeks or months, but to what point? Just so she would suffer more? It's so hard when you're emotionally tied to some one to let them go. And I just hadn't been ready to let go. Today the logic voice spoke a little bit louder than the emotions voice and I was able to recognize it's time.
There's no question Squeak had a wonderful, LONG life. Not to mention she was SPOILED beyond reason. Heating pad, ice cubes in her water, well trained humans to provide for her every desire. She was dominated by her sister, Boo who passed away 3 years ago. We're glad Squeak got a chance to enjoy being alpha cat for a few years. We've had several folks say they would hope to be reincarnated as one of our pets. It gives me a little comfort knowing I did all that I could to give Squeak a good, no, great life. And part of that was knowing when to let her go while she still had some dignity.
October 12, 2009