The story is this: one of my siblings moved to Montreal and started collecting cats. First there was the one from the classified ads, or some such, I honestly don’t remember. Then there was the one litteraly rescued from the street. Then it was volunteering at the SPCA, taking cats in foster care. I find it especially funny since the sibling in question has always been a dog person. I, on the other hand, am a cat person, and the sibling knows that very well. Ever since classified ads cat, the sibling has been telling me that I should get a cat of my own.
I was hesitant, to be honest. At first I had the excuse that I was still living with my parents, and they didn’t want to have pets. Once I moved out on my own, the excuse became “I have to work, I’m gone for nine hours a day, I don’t want the cat to get lonely and depressed”. Finally, the sibling fostered a cat who got along very badly with the other cats, and who apparently had no problem being left alone for hours on end. Out of excuses, I relented.
And into my life came Miou-Miou. (pronounced mew-mew)
I was going to give him a more dignified name, but come on! Look at him. He is such a Miou-Miou. Also, I had the hardest time taking a good picture of that cat. This was the best I could do for the longest time. Then there was this picture, which might be concidered better, by some.
Anyway, he was terrible with other pets, if the Montreal sibling is to be believed, but I never had any problems with him. He would walk up and say Hi to me when I came back from work, or even just from being away. He could be very playful, when I teased him with the feather thing or threw a catnip mouse at him (I don’t think the catnip made any difference: he just liked to chase the mouse), but he could also be really chill. I could always pet and brush him; he even let me rub his tummy, and cats generally don’t do that. The worst thing he ever did to me was slither out of my grasp when I was trying to give him a hug.
That is, until the end of February, when he began to worry me by not eating anymore. I mean, fair enough, I was gone for nine hours a day, so I might have missed him eating a few times, but I did clean out the litter box, and the absence of stool was hard to miss. On March second, he completely freaked me out by doing nothing all evening but lay on his side next to the living room window. That’s when I called the vet.
Long story short? Effusive feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP. Google it, or if you don’t want to, just take my word for it: it sucks.
I spent a lot of time crying after that first vet visit, and since. I also spent a lot of time on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was told from the get-go that whatever the diagnosis (leukemia was an option for a little while, and so were other tumors, or some bacterial infections), the prognosis was bad, and that Miou-Miou’s lifespan had been dramatically shortened.
The great fear I had when I really began to realize that he was sick was that I had somehow accidentally caused that illness. He was a rescue cat, he survived six years or so in really difficult conditions, and the idea that I somehow killed him in three/four months was driving me nuts with guilt. Thankfully that fear was unfounded and dismissed by the diagnosis. Humans can’t cause FIP. The second great fear was that he would die without me there. It’s what happened with the last pet my parents and I had; he was sick and died while my mother and I were gone on a week-long trip. I had plans to go to New-York on Easter. While I didn’t want to unnecessarily cut his life short, I also didn’t want to have him die while I was gone.
I spent three weeks of trying a bunch of meds and watching him get a little bit better before slowly, slowly getting worse. I started coming home from work at lunch to feed him. Whenever I left the house, I was always afraid that I would be gone too long, that he would miss a feeding or a dose of meds. I was watching him all the time, breathing a sight of relief with every sign of life. One of my favorite activity became laying my head on him and listen to him breath, or purr.
Three weeks of that turned out to be my limit. I finally took the decision to have Miou-Miou euthanized. I had the final appointment on Friday, March 27th.
(My mom went with me to the vet’s, and she tried to get some pictures of us together. He struggled against the camera to the very end, my poor baby.)
It went very smoothly, and as well as those things ever go, I suppose. I cried buckets at the vet, and I cried myself to sleep that night. Since then, I emptied and stored the littler box, washed the food bowl, put away the toys that weren’t completely mangled and tossed those which were. Now all that remains are clawmarks on the drapes, and on the couch. And my memories.
(The only unarguably good picture I have of him.)
(A little magnet message I made with the set I got for Christmas two years ago. My Montreal sibling got very upset upon seeing that the set included puppy, but not cat or kitten. The Montreal sibling lacks creativity.)