In order to increase our support for shelter and rescue groups during this crisis you can now click 4 times daily. Learn more >

Findus made me happy for 14 years

It was 2006 or 07, and we had moved into our first house, when a grey cat started to show up in the garden. I put out some food and water and she showed up more often and then made a home in the garden. During the first year I bought some things for her to make staying outside more comfortable, a pillow bed and so on. I named her Findus after a cartoon cat. After a year or so I took her to the vet for vaccinations and microchipping. It turned out she had a chip. The vet contacted the people but they said they didn't want her back. They said she belonged to an old man in San Diego who died and her family took his cat back with his things to Los Angeles but some months ago she ran away. I didn't believe the story, thought they must have put her out. The vet put a new chip in and removed the old one. He glued the cut with some special glue. He said I had to keep her in for 3 days and could let her back out then. I did that and let her out the third night. I always left the back door open in those days because I stayed up all night. After a short while Findus came to my office like she was looking for help. the wound had come open. I took her to the emergency vet where they stitched the wound and told me to keep her inside for 3 weeks. I followed through. By the end of the time she had stopped complaining and seemed fine inside. So I decided to keep her inside from now on. That was the best decision I could make. Findus gave me so much joy over the years. I loved her very much. She had many health problems over the years. Her eyes went bad, she had ulcers and had to have some surgery to grind the outer layer of the eye down. The eye specialist later said she was going blind due to some degeneration of the retina. Over the past 4 years her eyesight became gradually worse, but she always managed to get around the house. These past 2 years she had more ulcers but since she was so old already, going on 20 years by our estimate, I didn't want her to go through more surgery. We managed to keep the eyes clean of infection with antibiotic though. In 2015 she became very ill, was rubbing her head and her face constantly. It was really bad. My then-vet had no idea what to do. I took her to a dermatologist because he said maybe allergies. Sure enough the dermatologist diagnosed food allergy without running a test. For years later I had her on a restrictive diet which turned out to be useless because she never was allergic. I took her to another eye specialist who diagnosed herpes. he said you can't test for herpes with certainty and it doesn't show. He told me to get some antiviral drug which cost hundreds of dollars. I did that and forced the pill down into her for months. All nonsense. By now Findus was wearing an e-collar for nearly a year. Oftentimes she was rubbing her face so hard through the collar that it was a pain to watch. Many a night I was close to putting her down because it just wouldn't get better. It was heartbreaking the way she rubbed and suffered, but somehow I didn't give up hope because she seemed determined to live on. We went to another general vet who tried a few things and then said "She looks like she might have a fungus infection in the nose". He offered some tests that we did and two weeks later or so he told me that the lab had not found a fungus but a rare bacterial infection. The lab also ran tests to check which antibiotic was effective against that. I had to give her a special antibiotic for 3 months but finally we had some hope. By the end of the year she was finally clear. I was afraid to take off the collar because whenever I did that for maintenance in the past she would start rubbing violently. It was a great relief having her free of that infection and living normal again. Later she had some bad constipation which required enema, and since then I constantly gave her pumpkin fiber. The constipation came back in various degrees so over the years I had to add constant laxative, sometimes petromalt which she didn't like at all, but we managed to keep her more or less regular. Arthritis was also diagnosed on her, she started limping around the house. Combined with her increasing blindness she walked only very slowly. Jumping wasn't possible anymore so I built her some steps so she could get to her favorite spot on an ottoman which was under my desk next to the computers. She also had advanced kidney problems, but not so bad that the kidneys were shutting down, just high blood values. At some point she had diarrhea which the vet said was likely inflammatory bowel disease. So now I had to balance her meds and add-ons between constipation and diarrhea. We still managed and she seemed to have a strong will to live. She became more and more frail though, but when I talked to the doctor about possibly putting her down because I didn't want her to suffer, he told me "Not today, it's not her time yet." Early this year she fainted. It was at night and she just lay there and was all limp, clearly alive but seemed very weak. I thought that's it she's expiring. I took her to the emergency hospital but on our way she suddenly recovered and started to move around on the car seats. That was a close brush with death because had she stayed like that for a while longer, the vet might have put her down. The same thing repeated next week or so. Again she came back on the way to the hospital. The next day I took her to the vet because I thought maybe the kidneys were done for. He ran a full bloodworks and it turned out she was now also diabetic. The doc put her on insulin. It took a few tries to get the right dose. She fainted again while the vet had her to figure out the dosage, but it was all good after a while. So since that time I gave her insulin twice a day and she was doing better. At least to a degree where I said she is not suffering and is still enjoying life. It was amazing for me how many close encounters with death she survived, and always she seemed strong with a will to not give up. Two weeks ago she started to deteriorate, more and more tired, became very slow, her poop condition went bad. These past 4 or 5 days she was going in and out of the toilet, trying to poop but nothing came. She did a little bit every day but not enough for what she ate. I increased the laxative but to not much avail. Also I think she lost her smell because I put catnip right under her nose which she used to love but no reaction whatsoever. Yesterday I took her to the vet. She was down to 8 1/2 pounds and the vet said he could feel no bowel obstruction. He said he could try giving her some fluids but that she was very close to death. He told me I want to consider putting her down. At first I asked about a vet that does home euthanasia but then I decided to have it done right there and then. The thought of having her at home knowing that in a day or two the vet would come to put her down and watching the time run out was just too much for me. The staff were very nice, they put a catheter into her, gave her a sedative and gave me time to save goodbye in private. Then the doctor came and gave her the lethal injection while I held her head and her paw. It was over in a second or two. I will get her ashes and put it in the garden next to the ashes of my other cat I lost in 2018. Findus knew her name and always gave a meow when I called her name. She always acknowledged my presence even when she was already blind. I loved her very much and I miss her terribly. I wish she was young and healthy again and lived with me. But I guess she finally used up all nine lives.