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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Samhain Update: The Slow Downward Slide

Back in April, I put up a blog post about my cat Samhain (pronounced sow-wen, like the Pagan holiday). Samhain is a little calico cat I adopted from the shelter a few years ago, when she was probably 3 or 4 (she was a stray, so there is no way to know for sure). In September of 2009, she went in for her regular physical and we discovered that she had gone from an already-tiny 7 lbs down to 5.5 lbs. The blood tests confirmed that she had Chronic Renal Failure, or CRF.

For a while, she did pretty well. I gave her subcutaneous fluids at home 3X a week, put her on a special food, and tried to keep my giant cat Mystic from beating the crap out of her for no particular reason. (He doesn't like her. Apparently that's reason enough, if you're a cat.) Her blood test numbers improved, she put back on all the weight she'd lost, and regained her feisty attitude.

Until a few months ago. As I said in April, as of March, the numbers started to climb again, and that's Not Good. But at least she hadn't lost any weight. Today, we went for another check-up, and the numbers had shot up again. Not crept up, which is what I'd hoped for. Shot up. Last month her creatine was 5.2 and this month it is 6.2 -- Not Good. And she'd gone from 7.1 lbs to 6.7 lbs. Even giving her the fluids every day.

What does all this mean? Well, it probably means that I have less time left with her than I'd hoped. Dang it. Of course, I'd hoped for a lot. This is one sweet cat.

And it means that every day with her is that much more valuable.

So I am trying hard not to look at her and be sad; to see the sick kitty, and the shorter time. Instead, I'm just trying to feel lucky to have her at all. (And yes, she's going to be even more spoiled than she is already, if that's possible, which just makes Magic the Cat jealous.)

And on the bright side, she STILL hasn't gotten the memo. The blood tests may say she's going downhill, but you couldn't tell from looking at her. She is still perky and feisty and determined to have everything her own way. And that's okay with me.


  1. So sorry that you're dealing with this, but I know that you and Samhain will comfort each other in the challenging days to come.

  2. Sending positive thoughts for Samhain. One thing about cats, they are resilient, optimistic, and stubborn. :-) I don't think they believe in the word "no."

  3. I totally agree with Pam. I lost my Merleau after 18 years of laughter and lots of love. He fought till the very end. Deborah, enjoy every minute you have with her and spoil her like you never dared. Leave no regrets. Blessings and comfort surround you now and in the weeks to come.
    Bastet (Deborah C)

  4. Thanks all. And Pam, my cats certainly don't believe in the word "no." Or at least, they don't think it applies to them :-)

  5. I know this one isn't easy...one of mine passed from CRF a few months ago. And he never have any weight loss either, so it came as a complete surprise to us. The vet told me that a cat never complains. I am so sorry.

    Patty Bosko

  6. I'm sorry you have to deal with knowing your kitty's life is shortened. I'm sorry your kitty is sick. But how wonderful that she is still herself and can still give you joy.

    I'm sending both of you thoughts of healing and comfort. Take care.

  7. Such a lovely kitty. I'm so sorry, Witchy. Our furry companions are family and it's hard to see them decline. Sending many FGBVs for you and her.

  8. My fiance and I lost our little girl tortie to a heart defect in December, and we spent the 3 months before that about where you are now--treating her, trying to give her an awesome life, and trying to see her as our family member, not our poor sick kitty.

    I know it's hard, but you're doing the right thing. She has no sense of the future, of fearing the unknown, of dread. Bless you.

  9. she is a beauty. so sorry this is happening. you have made her life have meaning just as she has added special meaning to yours. love and blessings to you and Samhain.

  10. I just saw this post and had to respond. Our two girls are both special needs cats, and recently Winter, who is very, very dear to us began having bowel problems in addition to her asthma. I've gone through and am going through what you are now; trying not to see her as the 'poor sick kitty', trying not to be afraid all the time. She's not critically ill right now, but I worry all the time that the balance will tip, and she'll slide.

    All this by way of saying that you're not alone, and everything you're feeling and thinking is normal, and its okay. Keep loving Samhain, keep living in the present, keep the altar candles lit, and let the future take care of itself.

    Hugs and blessings.

  11. Sarah, so sorry about your tortie.

    And thanks to you all for your kind words and loving thoughts.

    Anonymous, thinking of you and your babies too, and hoping they stay healthy for a long time. (Bowel issues are no fun, that's for sure.)

    Samhain spent the evening sitting with me while I worked on my writing and being the little snuggle bug she is :-)

  12. It's always heartbreaking to see them struggling. I know how much you love Samhain...and she knows it, too. Both of you are deeply blessed to have one another, however brief a time that is for. Many hugs and brightest blessings to both of you.

  13. Gah. That was me up there as 'Anonymous'. I thought I was signed in. Just in case this one doesn't go through properly, I'll sign it.

    Still thinking of your family,
    Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran

  14. Deborah,
    My beloved Siamese kitty "Precious" went through the same thing. It is a matter of cherishing the time you have together. Take even more pictures and some video.

    I did scrapbook pages of Precious and love them so. My heart is with you.