|Birth: ||Jun. 27, 2000|
|Death: ||Apr. 9, 2012|
"The death of a beloved pet is one of the hardest things to bear." ~ Phillip Gonzales, Author of The Dog Who Rescues Cats
This has been a hard, hard memorial to write. I've put it off for months. Partly because I had to relive the details of the loss of my beloved Craig, partly because of the loss of this cherished and faithful little cat. She loved him so and he was very, very attached to her. I truly believe she went downhill after his loss because of her own grief.
Smut, Toffee, Spic, and Span - this was the litter of one of our feral kittens, a teeny stripped gray tabby we'd named Boopsie. She became pregnant at the age of four months, just a baby herself. I couldn't trap her for love or money until she was hugely pregnant. On June 26, 2000 she landed in the trap.
Knowing that Dr Steve won't abort a cat's pregnancy after 45 days, I released her. The following day, on June 27, 2000 she gave birth to her four. I managed to trap her again for spaying one month to the day after her delivery.
Smut was named after his sooty color. Toffee got her name from her color, too - when she was a baby, she looked like a ball of fluffy, creamy-colored toffee candy. Spic and Span washed and washed each other constantly. Watching them that first night in their little basket, Craig said that they were going to wash the fur right off each other. Spic'n Span cleaner popped into my mind the minute he said that and Spic and Span they became. They were tiny gray stripped tabbies just like their little mom. How we loved their striped "jammies," or as Craig would say, their "convict outfits."
Until they were four to eight week old kittens, Spic and Span were identical. We had to look at the whisker "dots" to determine who was who - Spic's were a dark tan, Span's were soft gray.
After they became about two months old, it became very obvious who was who - Spic was much larger than Span and had a lot of brown on her face. She had absolutely gorgeous, deep honey-colored eyes and a little wedge-shaped chin; Span had celery green eyes and a little pointed chin. Span never grew to be any bigger than a small six month old kitten.
As they grew, Spic attached herself to me; Span became a Daddy's girl. At night after supper, each would get on our respective laps and doze as we watched TV or read. At bedtime, both Craig and I are side-sleepers, sleeping as spoons tucked into each other. Spic would snuggle against my back, Span would tuck herself against Craig's tummy as the rest of the many critters would jockey for bed space, except for the original Bachman Kiddens who already staked out their sleeping spots long ago on or against me.
Both cats were so laid-back and loving. Spic, however, was very competitive. She headbutted our hands off of any of the others once she was aware attention was being delved out to another cat.
For some unknown reason, Spic stopped meowing sometime during the summer of 2007. She was still vocal, but would no longer meow. She would actually bark like a dog. It sounded as though she was literally saying the word Arf. If she spotted a hair, whisker (even her own), or piece of fuzz in a fresh water bowl, she would sit on her haunches with her back to the bowl and bark. And she would sit there and bark until her Daddy got up and rinsed out that bowl and refilled it. If I did it, she would bark until he picked up the bowl or took the bowl from me and put it back down. If Princess, Penny, or Puglena took a drink, she would bark until the water was changed out. No ma'am, no dawg slobber for her. Such a spoiled rotten Kidden!
Spring of 2009 Spic began to put on weight. We first monitored her food intake for several months, but that didn't seem to bring on a weight loss - in fact, she put on another pound and a half, so we suspected Feline Diabetes. The morning that we lost our sweet little Midnight, July 13, 2009, we took Spic in for a vet check and a CBC (Complete Blood Count). Diabetes was confirmed.
We were crushed, as she'd been a healthy little girl. It's not the diabetes that usually takes them, but the hardship on the kidneys, which results in renal failure. She was placed on Hill's prescription m/d wet and dry foods.
She didn't start insulin injections until the summer of 2010. Since Craig worked an evening shift at the lab, he made the two and/or three a month vet visits with her. Suddenly, she was her Daddy's baby - until injection time twice daily. She would set up a yowl and writhe and squirm as he held her while I attempted to give her the insulin. I seldom did a "fur shot," but it was an ordeal twice a day to pill her with PancreasPlus Tabs and give injections. Dr Steve had suggested that we give her the PancreasPlus Tabs left over from Midnight as a digestive aid to assist her pancreas since it secretes enzyme and hormones (including insulin) that is needed for the digestion and absorption of food.
On the morning of October 26, 2010 I received a phone call at work from one of the Shreveport hospital emergency rooms. Craig had had his fourth heart attack, second massive one, and was in critical condition. I dropped everything and rushed there. It wasn't the hospital we normally use, but the one just a block and a half from his lab. I figured that he had been stricken at work. As it turned out, he was actually in the car on his way to work half a block from the lab when the heart attack occurred. Thank goodness it hadn't happened five minutes before - he would have been on the interstate going 70 mph. Except for a banged up right knee hitting the dash by the steering column, he suffered no other injuries. The car - $13,000 worth of damage. It was twenty-two months old; the most important thing is that Craig had survived the crash.
This was a bad, bad heart attack. Three months later, Craig was put on permanent disability with a twenty percent functioning heart.
Since that hospital was nearly thirty miles one way from our home in Keithville, I stayed there all day during the first week. I would arrive at 5am and leave at 6pm. There was a final visitation period at 9pm. I would miss that one because of the many animals at home.
At 6pm the day of the attack, after my fifteen minute visit in CICU, I headed home to care for the Kiddens and Pupsters. Spic had to be fed and given her insulin at 7am and 7pm each day. A regular feeding and injection schedule is very important for a diabetic animal, just as it is with humans. I was terribly torn up about Craig yet wondering, too, how on earth I was going to manage her without him. I called a couple of neighbors and one of our sanctuary volunteers who lives right around the corner from us, but as luck would have it, no one would be at home to help out within an hour or so. I had to figure this one out on my own.
As usual, Spic was one of the first at the back door as I let myself in. I gave everyone scritches, then started doling out the food. Since there were four special needs cats in the house (five before Midnight's loss), each cat ate in separate rooms because of their own special diets. That gave me enough time to feed the then forty-five sanctuary cats in the cat house, three outside dogs, and two inside dogs. Litter boxes in the cat house had to wait until I was through feeding and watering all fifty animals, cleaned the pet dishes, and scooped inside litter boxes.
Dr Steve had me give her the insulin about fifteen minutes after she ate (humans should do the reverse). When I came back inside and checked on her, she was finished. I washed up all the food dishes and scooped the inside litter boxes, dreading the next chore of giving her the insulin. As she normally did, she sat at the refrigerator door after I took it out gently rolling the vial, then watched me draw it into the syringe. I was shocked - she hadn't darted beneath the dining table. I took one tentative step toward her and she came to me, rubbing against my ankles. I reached down, picked her up, placed her on the counter, and as quickly as I could, gave her the injection, then popped the pill into her. Surely this event was a fluke.
Nonetheless, for the next three weeks while Craig was in CICU, she continued to let me give her the injections and pills. From that first day of his heart attack, she never balked again. She let me pick her up every time and didn't put up but an occasional fuss.
Because she started improving, her vet visits dropped to once a month beginning December, 2010. She and I had a standing first Saturday of the month appointment thereafter. That was a good thing, because Craig had been hospitalized over and over November through the end of January; his last hospitalization was for a pacemaker. He wasn't released to drive until late February, 2011. She was always willing to go with me, but the minute we came home, I was chopped liver and she became Daddy's little girl once more.
Her lab results continued showing slight deterioration to the kidneys throughout 2011. Around our wedding anniversary, December 19th, Craig began to feel poorly. Shortly after Christmas Spic began losing weight. I kept telling Craig that she was sympathizing with him and if she had to go to the vet, he had to go to either his cardiologist or our internist. Craig refused, "Aw, Hon, I'll feel better in a couple of days. This is just an off day." A bad day, a few good days - this went on for a couple months.
Spic's January 8, 2012 lab report showed that she had entered the first stages of renal failure. Knowing that Cudz and Dani went for years in renal failure, we kept our hopes up. Though she rested more frequently, her appetite was fairly good, and was a happy, pretty active little girl.
Due to an emergency situation at the vet Saturday, March 3rd, Spic's appointment was rescheduled for the following Saturday, March 10th. I ran down only to pick up Puglena's meds.
Sunday I told Craig I was taking him to our internist first thing Monday, March 5th. Remarkably, this time he didn't argue. The internist gave him a good check up, but wanted us to go to the cardiologist the next morning. March 6th his cardiologist told him not to go to cardiac rehab the rest of the week and adjusted his meds for what seemed like the millionth time since October 2010.
When we arrived home, Spic was acting a bit listless. I checked her glucose and it was low. I called Dr Steve and he said to increase her morning dosage of insulin by half a unit. He would check her vitals on the rescheduled visit Saturday, March 10th.
Friday morning, March 9th, Craig saw me off to work at the gate as he'd done since he'd become disabled. He had tried to call me on my cell at 10:36 that morning, but I never heard the phone and didn't see the missed call until my lunch break at 2:30.
When I left work to take my lunch break at my mother's, he didn't answer the home line or his cell. After twenty minutes of trying to contact him by phone, I called my office to let them know I thought something was wrong at home, jumped back into the car, and headed for Keithville, making call after call to first the house line, then his cell.
As I came in the back door, Spic didn't meet me at the door as she normally did. I saw her lying to one side of the coffee table, watching me as I frantically looked and called for Craig. The TV was on. I could see where he'd been propped up on the sofa. I checked each room, then went outside, calling and looking for him. By then I was in an absolute panic and went back inside to call the few neighbors who are at home during the day. There was Spic, right in the same spot, but lying next to her behind the coffee table was my darling Craig.
Somehow I had completely overlooked him the first time I went through the great room. He was gone, cold to the touch - a fifth and final heart attack took my sweet man from us. That missed call of his will haunt me for all eternity.
Little Spic refused to move from his side. When the Sheriff's department arrived, I had to move her. She went right back to him. When the fire department's paramedics arrived, I had to move her. Back she went. When the coroner came, I had to pick her up again. After Craig was removed, she went back to where he had lain.
The next month was very rough on her. She grieved for him badly. She lay day after day in the same location I'd found them that horrible day of his loss, never moving, never batting an eye. Her appetite was off, her enthusiasm for life seemed to dissipate, she seldom napped.
Her lab work showed that she had stabilized somewhat on the vet trip of Saturday, April 7th. Yet that night she refused to eat. Sunday her glucose was terribly low, so I force-fed her, but she fought every swallow. She refused to eliminate. I knew she was giving up.
The next morning, Monday, April 9th, 2012 I brushed my little girl and told her that Dr Steve would make her better, really thinking he could. He did the blood work - her little kidneys had totally shut down. I had to let her go to her Daddy CraigCat. My heart broke all over again, right on the heels of his loss, one month to the day.
I had her cremated by Best Friends Crematory and Memorial Co, LLC out of Downsville, Louisiana. They are terrific, caring people, very sensitive to a pet guardian's heartbreak and grief.
Her little cat-shaped urn sits beside her Daddy CraigCat's on our bedroom dresser. Together again, forever and ever, my precious Craig and our little Spic'ums. ❤
This poem was on her card from the crematory and brought much comfort:
To One in Sorrow
Let me come in where you are weeping, friend,
And let me take your hand.
I, who have known a sorrow as yours,
Let me come in - I would be very still
Beside you in your grief,
I would not bid you cease your weeping, friend,
Tears to bring relief.
Let me come in - I would only breathe a prayer,
And hold your hand,
For I have known a sorrow such as yours,
~ Author: Grace Noll Crowell ~
Engraved on Urn:
Our Lives Are Blessed By Our Friends
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashes given to her Meowmie - Spic's little urn sits beside her Daddy CraigCat's on our bedroom triple dresser.
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Nov 19, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100947763
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