"The fairies only left Orkney when folk stopped seekin' them" - Anonymous Orcadian
"Never be afraid to seek" - Ally

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thursday 16th April

... was the day I had to make the hardest decision of my life - I had to make the decision to have my beautiful and funny and cute cat, Minnie, put to sleep.

On Wednesday morning she seemed fine... she had something to eat, she was limping a little on one front foot (but we put that down to the fact that she had been sleeping on the bench the day before, and we thought she must have landed badly when she jumped down), but she was more or less her usual self.

But when we came home Wednesday night, she didn't want to come in to eat or sleep... but again, it wasn't unusual for her to spend a bonny night outside.

Thursday morning, Viki went out the back for a cigarette before going to work, and Minnie was lying outside, under some scaffolding the neighbours have up at the back of my house. And she wouldn't come in to eat. Viki said she was really worried about Minnie, cause she didn't seem able to get up.

So, when I got up, I went to see if she would come in... but she just laid there, curled up, and was shivering a bit. And she seemed to be in a bit of pain. But I had to go to work.

Came home at lunchtime to check up on her, and there was no sign of her where I had left her. I thought she had got up and gone a wander.

But then I saw her... She had moved all of a few yards and was lying curled up in the grass where the sun was shining... and was clearly not well. She was unable to even lift her head, and when she tried to move, she was in great pain.

Went up to where she was, and I almost thought I was too late... her mouth was a little open, and she hardly seemed to breathing.

So I got my brother along to have a look... and he said she was in a really bad way.

Took her straight to the vet, and the vet examined her. Poor Minnie had no control or strength in her back legs... just couldn't stand or walk... could barely lift her head. The vet said that there was a number of things it could be:

Maybe she had a blood clot somewhere that was cutting off the blood supply to her back legs... because the pulse in her abdomen was barely there.

Maybe she had eaten or drank something toxic.

Maybe there was an electrolyte imbalance in her blood.

Maybe she had been struck by a car or something, but there didn't seem to be any injury or obvious trauma.

But without extensive tests, she didn't really know what was causing it... and Minnie was deteriorating before our eyes in the short time I was there. Within about half an hour, the vet said that she seemed to be having some kind of seizure, because her eyes were glazed and didn't respond to light stimulation.

So, rather than pump her full of painkillers to try to keep her going another night so they could do more tests, I chose to let her go. I couldn't stand the thought of my beloved baby spending a night alone in the vets, in pain and distress... maybe even dying alone... so I told them to end her suffering.

It was the hardest words I've ever had to say to tell her goodbye. I stroked her head, told her I was sorry, that I loved her so much, that Viki loved her, and that I would miss her forever. And somewhere in her pain, I think my baby heard me, because she purred.

But coming home without her was horrible. And the house is so empty...

Which is why I've taken the decision that I've taken.

Less than a week after her going, tomorrow I go and collect 2 cats that were on the Cats Protection Orkney website for rehoming. Leia and Gizmo are a mummy and her grown-up son who required rehomed together. Was along to visit them in their current home tonight, and they are so lovely. Gizmo is 2 and a half, and is described as a "bit of a mummy's boy" - and that was clear when we arrived and they were lying cuddled up together. Leia clearly still loves her "baby". Gizmo is ginger & white, and Leia is mostly white with tortoishell markings.

See their photos here.

This doesn't mean I've forgotten Minnie, or that I didn't love her... I loved her with all my heart... but my heart needs a cat to love.

R.I.P. Minnie... and I'll see you again someday... you and your mummy.

And there is now officially an embargo on April 16th for me... that day was also 2 years to the day since my father died.

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