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It’s with a heavy heart I write this tribute. Its all mixed into turmoil I feel about the decisions and lack of quality care this petite little girl received at the supposedly no kill shelter which shall remain nameless. Im still raw so part of this is a rant Im sure.

It all started apx 2 months ago. My friend who quit working with our TNR group but needed a cat fix would go up to the shelter and socialize cats waiting for their forever homes. She and her daughter focused on the ones that had been there for years and no chance of a home. She started telling me about all of them. My friend kept asking me to go there with her so I could meet in person the cats I already knew from her stories. So I did.

One of the cats, which captured my heart while I was there, was a petite little girl named Sissy. My friend was upset about Sissy because the shelter and the vet for the shelter, which is a very old country, vet who really needs to retire. He has made major mistakes and injured and killed dogs and cats.

This vet removed a tumor, which was on Sissy leg 5 times. From the notes I finally got with her records there is no mention of checking the margins or biopsy the tumors to see if it was cancerous. Each time the tumor grew back it was removed the cancer spread more and more. (it was fibrosarcoma, from a rabies or leukemia vaccination) Then a compassionate volunteer took Sissy up to an oncologist. The oncologist put her thru radiation and chemo.

I asked my vet to enquire the prognosis of Sissy and fireworks erupted by the director. My vet asked for permission to contact the oncologist and find out details. (I was considering bringing Sissy home with me.) The shelter was saying Sissy had a year to live. The oncologist conferred with my vet that if the chemo/radiation had been done after the first time a tumor was removed then she would have a year to live. But since it was removed 5 times she had 1 to 2 months to live after treatment. Both vets strongly recommended Sissy be in foster care as soon as possible. My vet wrote a report to the director of what were the facts of the case but the director is in denial.

I watched and waited to see if anyone would come forward. I was waiting for all the drama and strong feelings to die down. 5 weeks later she was still there. I went up and adopted her out. The director came in the afternoon and went ballistic when she found I had paid my $65 and adopted Sissy. All the volunteers were so happy to see Sissy find a home but I know later that day they were brought to task for letting me have her.

I set Sissy up in my office. A padded cube on a heating pad. She was a walking skeleton and couldn’t regulate her body temp since there was no fat. I brought in my feather quilt and pillows and set up camp next to her cube. Next I watched her continually go to the cat box and not be able to pee. She had UTI. I found her feet and legs were caked with clumping litter so had to soak her feet in a large bowl till I could pick off all the chunks of litter. I could tell she was dehydrated by the skin tone and the way the fur separated.

The director called my vet and went off on her. She wanted her to go over to my house and check on Sissy to see if I had euthanized her. Which I hadn’t but fully planed on when Sissy let me know she had enough. My vet came over to my house. We found lumps where the cancer had spread, that she had lost a pound and a quarter in 3 weeks. We put her on meds for the UTI. I was to sub Q her a 100 ccs each day.

Sissy had such a loving attitude. She purred for 3 days straight. I told her she no longer had to do anything she didn’t want to do. She was safe. She had no choice on the multiple surgeries, no choice of being subjected to chemo/radiation. Sissy wouldn’t eat. So I sub Qed her each day which she didn’t struggle with me to do it. I gave her meds mixed with baby food to make it taste better. But the whole time she wouldn’t touch any food. My friends all came over to meet her and brought over stuff that might be palatable. I force fed her one night and she struggled against me. So I apologized for doing that.

When she had the strength I let her walk around my house. She would slowly walk swishing her tail, look at an object and then look up a me. Like she was saying I live her and this is mine. I would tell her each time she looked up.. Yup that’s your cuz you’re a part of my family now forever! We sat side by side and looked out my French door to the outside and then she got tired and went back to her cube.

Sunday she sat on my legs and watched Sunday morning with me. Watching the screen with changing scenes! At noon I went out of the room to get something from my car and I came back in. She was dragging her front foot upside down with pad up and dragging it. I thought maybe she had broken her leg.

I called my vet and drove out to her house to check what this could be. The pad was white not pink like it use to be. My vet listened to her heart. There was a heart mummer. We couldn’t detect it at the home visit cuz she kept purring. Apparently she had thrown a clot to her front leg. There was no fixing it. We had to make the sad decision to euthanize her. As I promised her I was with her to the end. Assuring her and telling her for the millionth time how much I loved her and she was mine. I asked my cat Tess who passed a year ago to come help her transition to the other side.

The problem with me is I’ve never met a cat I didn’t love. I knew someone had to be there for her and it was me. I hope I gave her comfort, peace, love, and security the week before she had to leave us. She was a very special cat with such a gentle spirit. I love you Sissy. See you soon.





 

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Oh, Merry, you are wonderful for making her last week on this earth a week where she was loved and cherished. What a beautiful girl, and now she is whole and will be waiting for you.
 

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That's so sad. She was lovely and I can see why she stole your heart. At least she finally found love and caring in the end.
 

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It's sad that Sissy didn't know real love until nearly the end of her life, but I'm so glad you were there for her, Merry.
 

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LOVES & HUGS to you! What a sweet, tragedy-to-triumph story, even though you knew the end was coming. Sissy was loved. Well, and truly, loved.
Run free, Sissy. =^..^=
 

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So sorry to hear of Sissy's loss. You are a wonderful person for giving her a warm, safe, and loved home even for such a short while. Many hugs. :patback
 

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Two sad stories in one morning (yours and Heidi's), almost too much to take. Yet, in this case you came onto the scene too late to be able to save her, so what you did made her life so much better for that last little while. Imagine how much sadder it would have been for her to stay in the shelter until the end. Her purring says it all, her last memories were much happier ones, she knew she was being loved.
 

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Merry, you are truly a wonderful person. Sissy was so incredibly lucky to have had you, even if it was just for a week. Run free at the Bridge, Sissy. Tell Smokey I love him and I miss him. :'(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I want to thank everyone your kind wishes. It means a lot to me. There is something in my heart for cats that leave this world, that I don’t want them to be unnoticed. They are beautiful beings that are such amazing creatures. They need to be recognized. Even the abandoned ferals.

I had Sissy cremated. My vet (good friend) who is much more spiritual than I am. I’m such a cynic when it comes to people. (Not a good attribute). She called and said she had Sissy's ashes. We met up at sun set at her house. She said it’s a powerful time of day. The sunset was a dramatic pink sky that only Arizona can produce. My friend has a medicine wheel in her yard. I don’t totally understand it but it felt significant to spread her ashes in the wheel and outside of the wheel on the west side. I asked my cat Tess to come and help her transition. She did I’m sure.

We sat afterwards and sent Sissy our love & our well wishes. I asked her to be with me with my cat Tess.

I took a week for me to settle down and I wrote a letter to the director of the shelter. I cc it to all the nitwit member of the board too. I had my vet proof read it so it wasn’t expressed in anger, of the changes that need to be made at the shelter for the cats. I know of 7 cats right now in the process of not getting proper medical treatment and they will be dead in a matter of months. Which will all be covered up and not addressed and learned from. I gave my suggestions and left it at that.

We are doing a fundraiser at a local Art Festival. The director walked by our tent and when she saw me she turned her head and couldn’t get away fast enough from me. So I know my letter fell on deaf ears. So I have to trust that some how changes will come one day. It my prayer that change will come soon for those helpless cats stuck in that shelter, even if its a crisis to bring it about. I have to let it go but it’s so hard to do. I have to rest in the cats I come across that I can make a difference for them while the other issues will work themselves out. I’ve done what I can at this point.
 
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