It’s Been 37 Days

It’s been 3,304 days since I brought home a rambunctious, inquisitive, sweet, and sometimes fresh little kitten. He was bright white with piercing blue eyes. He was perfect, and I named him Hikari. He followed me around everywhere I went and would sit on my shoulder when I ate just trying to steal a nibble of food. He was an explorer and would often find himself in precarious situations and in need of rescuing, like the time he managed to somehow get behind a tall bureau and cried when he couldn’t get back out. He loved to sleep all snuggled up to me, and more often than not right on me. He also had a fresh little habit of biting at my hands and arms to wake me when he wanted to play, and he would lean down and press his forehead against mine which I found so sweet. 

It’s been 912 days since I brought home a friend for Hikari. The initial meeting went as expected, Ms. Malone took a defensive position and hissed as she backed up as far as she could. Hikari just stood there taking it in, then he got brave and stepped towards her. She hissed at him again and he slowly backed away and sat at a safe distance. It wasn’t long before the two of them were best friends. I could tell that he was over the moon about having another cat in the house. 

It’s been 783 days since Hikari became a father, and Ms. Malone a mother. It was a surprise to find out the two happy kitties were going to have babies, but it was exciting as well. Ms. Malone did amazingly when the day came and Hikari kept his distance for a couple of weeks while he recovered from being neutered. While I was happy about the kittens, I did not want to chance it happening again. When the kittens were about 4 weeks old, Hikari became very curious and started hopping into their little enclosed area, and he even cuddled and slept with them. I kept one kitten, a little girl named Pele, and Hikari had his own little family. 

It’s been 102 days since I brought a lethargic Hikari to the vet only to find out his kidneys were failing him. He had been having some trouble moving around and I thought it was his joints so I started giving him Cosequin to help him feel better. However, he did not get any better, his health actually steadily decreased. He started hissing at the other two cats when they came near him, stopped cleaning himself, and just laid in one spot in the corner. I brought him in and he was checked out. It was discovered that his kidney function was terrible and his red blood count was low and his white blood count was high, and the numbers were all pretty extreme. He was given antibiotics and fluids. At home he was given sub-q fluids (injections of fluid under his skin) daily and I went though about 20 different foods finding one he would eat, and he would only eat it pureed in very small amounts. I was offering him food every 2-3 hours 24/7 just to try and keep him eating. If I over-slept and missed a feeding his stomach would get upset and he would vomit stomach acid and not eat for 12-24 hours. I had tried to give him an antacid to help but he fought me for less than a minute and exhausted himself to the point where he fell over and couldn’t move for a minute; that was the end of the antacid. He had gone from 11 down to 7 pounds and was getting smaller and smaller. He had some good days where he would walk around a little and he even had a few days where he would play for a few minutes. 

It has been 38 days since Hikari collapsed in the living room at 7 PM and his breathing was erratic. I thought he was dying and burst into tears. I panicked and sat with him on the floor and his breathing evened out and he tried moved from his side to his belly. He laid there for a minute and then when he tried to get up he couldn’t. I picked him up and held him for a minute and then tried to put him on the floor and he just fell on his belly. I tried a few times and he just couldn’t support himself; he could no longer stand or walk. I sat with him thinking maybe he would feel better and get his strength back, but he didn’t. I held him up so he could use the litter-box and brought a bowl of water over to where he was laying by me on the couch ad he would take a lick or two every now and again. I laid on the couch and put him on my chest and he started to purr and he slept for two-hours on me. From the time I found out he was sick until earlier that day, I had wrestled with the question “how will I know when it’s time to let him go?” and I never thought I would ever know. As he was sleeping on my chest I felt this sadness overcome me and I knew. I don’t even know how to explain it. It was like despite how badly I wanted him to live I just knew that it would be cruel to let him suffer, living unable to walk, barely eating, and I don’t even know if he was living in pain because his kidney function was below 10%. I just knew in my heart that the kindest most loving thing I could do for him at this point would be to let him go. 

It has been 37 days since I let go my once rambunctious, once inquisitive, sweet til the end kitty Hikari. I spent the last 17 hours of his life with him, sitting with him, holding him, telling him how sorry I was that there was nothing more I could do for him, and telling him it was ok for him to go if he was ready. Before I brought him to the vet I brought over Ms Malone and she sniffed him and licked his head. Then I brought over Pele and she laid down next to him for a few minutes. He got to say goodbye to his kitty family, and they got to say goodbye to him. Right before he went I leaned down and put my forehead on his and told him that I loved him and that would never forget him, and I never will. 

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