Emma.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 - Blog Posts.

She probably never stood a chance. Small, undernourished, cold, dehydrated, full of worms, fleas, ear mites and who knows what else, she came into our lives last Sunday afternoon. She was olive in color, with darker brown stripes on her sides and a golden belly. Even in her awful state, she was a pretty kitten.

We did what we could. From Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning she alternated being in the expert care of veterinarians and veterinary technicians at the Feist VCA hospital and in the less-than-expert, but very committed care of my wife and I. We warmed her up, we pushed fluids through her, we fed her every hour on the hour, even through the night. The veterinary staff gave her deworming medication, checked her temperature, and generally doted on her.

For awhile she rallied. Everyone was surprised. Dr. Harcourt, her veterinarian, said she was impressed by Emma’s fighting spirit. We hoped for the best.

She turned for the worst. On Tuesday, my wife and I picked her up from the clinic and brought her home. Her internal body temperature had begun to drop again. We kept pushing fluids and food. Her interest in eating and drinking began to wane.

Finally at midnight we went to sleep. I set my alarm for 4am. When I got to her pen at 4:15 on Wednesday morning she was collapsed on her side and barely breathing. Her strength was gone.

I tried to warm her on a heating pad and filled a water-syringe. I gave her drops of water on her tongue which she struggled to swallow. She couldn’t raise her head, so I had to prop her up to get her in position to drink. Mostly, the water simply flowed out of the side of her mouth.

At 5:15 I woke my wife and brought her down to visit Emma. We placed Emma in my wife’s lap and we tried one more time to administer some fluids to her. She couldn’t handle them. Her eyes glassed over. I placed my hand on her chest and felt her very weak heartbeat. And then I didn’t feel it.

We have another cat, Barabbas. He’s a big, healthy tomcat full of energy. We always kept him separate from Emma, for fear he might contract one of the many ailments she had. We’re not worried for his health. He loves to eat. He loves to drink from the bathtub faucet. He loves all activity: hide and seek, exploring our front porch, chasing me around the house, but maybe most of all he loves hunting after the laser stylus’ beam. He has spent countless hours chasing a point of light he’ll never catch and he has loved every minute of it.

I wrapped Emma up in towels and placed her in a shoe box. My wife and I will bury her this evening. Darling little Emma was never healthy enough to experience the joys of Barabbas’ spoiled, domestic life. She didn’t get her chance at the laser. Hers was a short life of misery. Selfishly, I hope there is a wonderful cat heaven, full of toys and food and a porch to explore. Practically, I know there isn’t. But tonight, when I lay her in the ground, I will make sure that her eyes are looking skyward, so that every evening she will be surrounded by the stars — a billion points of light that she can chase and never catch.

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