June 3, 2014

Dearest Kitten Girl,

I miss you. More than I have words to say, I miss you.

You were by my side for nearly eighteen and-a-half years. You loved me, without question, for every single hour of every single day of all those years. On May 15th, 2014, I helped you leave this life behind. It was the last gift I could give you; some say it was the greatest gift. 

All I knew is this: there was nothing else to be done. I had to let you go. Your body had run its mortal course. You gave me the sure signs I was told I'd recognize when it was time. So I talked to the doctor and we removed all the medications and fluids keeping you alive, except for pain relief. The two weeks we had after that decision were some of the most difficult but incredible days of my life. With my permission to leave, you calmed down. We had a long, loving goodbye, us two. I blogged about it through tears, but I was strong on the day you left. I knew my role was to be brave for you, as you had been for me. Always brave.

You, my darling girl, will never, ever leave my heart. For as long as I live, you are there, as close as my breath. Living out the lessons I learned by loving you. By basking in your unconditional acceptance and endlessly comforting presence. 

You changed my life, and I am grateful. 
You were so easy to love. I got spoiled. 
Your little six pound body has left a void I cannot find enough words to fill. 

But you know I'm going to try. For you. Because I told you, as you were closing your eyes for the last time, that I would write a book about you. And I will. Because you are the stuff great stories are made of. You kept me alive and fighting for life when my grip was weak. I held on for you, Kitten Girl.

I'm still holding on for you, because I promised you I would. Through the surreal odyssey that is grief. I wish you were here to see me through it, but I know that's not possible.

If all the greatest tales ever told are true and God is in his heaven, I will hold you again. We will laugh again, you will drool on me again as you purr and smile, I will kiss your double paws and sweet face as I dance with you in my arms, and there will be no more final breaths, no more last ride to the vet, no more goodbyes. If there is a heaven, there is no doubt I will meet you there. 

So I'm putting all my chips on heaven.  Be good, baby girl. Until we meet again, I love you big. Big, big, big.




Kitten Girl was the honorary editorial assistant/mascot at The Daily Corgi.  She hated dogs but loved her Mom, and that was more than good enough for me!

September, 2013: Age 18!

Update on Kitten Girl -- September 24th, 2013:

It's been a while (nearly eight months!) since I posted about Kitten Girl. I'm happy to report that her health continues to be stable, despite chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and arthritis. The vet says this is "remarkable" ... I say I'm lucky, but also maintaining my girl on a regular regimen of sub-cutaneous fluids, pain relief pill, methimazole gel in the ear, twice monthly injections of an arthritis medicine, a blood pressure pill, an acid reducer and another tablet for God knows what. 

Her weight is unchanged (just under 10 pounds) since the beginning of the year. Her attitude (cats come first) is firmly intact. Kitten Girl sleeps a bit more than she used to, she's got stiffness on her way to laying down and getting up again, and pees outside the litterbox more often than I'd like (happens more when it's not very fresh, hmmm), and she can get LOUD at night ... but all in all, she's a superstar.

At this age and with her conditions, this could all change fairly quickly. I try to savor every day with her. When the time comes for me to let her go, I will be sadder than I can even imagine. But that's not today. I am saving up (most) of my tears 'til it's time.

Meanwhile, we "Corgi On" together!

p.s. Your purchases via the search box on the blog benefit Kitten Girl directly. I get a small commission on all sales made that way, and the money goes to my senior baby's care. Thank you. 

September 2011

Kitten Girl Update -- January 2013!

The "boss" of my household continues to thrive in spite of her medical conditions.  One year after a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease, on top of hyperthyroidism and arthritis, Kitten Girl is currently a stable, robust, "sassy senior" (to quote Dr. A.)

This whiskered trooper puts up with the daily sub-cutaneous fluid injections (never thought I could give my cat needles ... who knew?), various oral medications, and cream in her ear three times a day. All of it is keeping her in as fine a fettle as possible. Phew!

Biggest issue? The yowling. Ohhhh the yowling -- especially at night. Vet says it's a kind of feline little old lady thing. Touch of dementia, disorientation. Kitten Girl has lost some of her depth perception but can still jump up on surfaces (not too high). Because of the arthritis she's losing muscle mass in her hind end and her tail is more of a rudder than ever, but she still stalks the halls with her usual focus on whatever invisible goblins exist out there. Protecting her mother, no doubt :-).

Gold star! She's the exact same weight now as she was in June: 9.9 pounds. So ... holding stable overall. I think she might just live to see 18 (this Fall). So long as she's comfortable enough and happy (sassy), she will get the chance.

Remember: your purchases via the search box on the blog benefit Kitten Girl directly. I get commissions on all sales made that way, and that money helps pay for her not-so-cheap medicines. 

Vive les chats! (And Corgis too, of course).

Kitten Girl Update -- May 2012:

Very good news to report!  Kitten Girl has actually gained a half pound, which is surprising for a cat diagnosed with chronic kidney disease nearly six months ago.  

Dr. A. is extremely pleased.  As am I.

KG is getting daily sub-cutaneous fluid (giving needles is no longer a huge deal for me, phew!), benazapril (don't remember what that one's for), prednisone (arthritis and skin allergies), famotidine (for her stomach acid), methimazole ear gel for her hyperthyroid, and some fishy tasting liquid that apparently helps her electrolyte balance.  Oh, and Adequan once a month for the arthritis, and occasionally Cerenia to stimulate her appetite. (Hardly need it at all nowadays).

She's a senior cat who still loves her strolls in the halls and backyard, lying in the sun on the picnic table, eating her chow on demand, and sleeping in whatever room Mom's in.  She is still bright-eyed and loving life, if a bit yowly.  (OK, a lot yowly. That's a senior thing, and oh BOY is it scary the first few times it happens). 

The kidney disease isn't progressing quickly yet, and although I'm not hoping for another full year with her, I sure wouldn't mind it.  

She's turning into an Iron Lady, so who knows?

Artist:  Miriam White Carnell

Kitten Girl's good news update -- March 2, 2012:

My 16 year-old girl has recovered extremely well from her crises of January and early February and is currently doing great on her minimal regimen of medications and daily sub-cutaneous fluids. The thyroid level is back at normal, after having gone off the rails a bit. Her appetite is nearly back to what it was, though sometimes she forgets to eat.  (Imagine a Corgi forgetting to eat!)  The wonderful Dr. A says this is a senior cat thing, nothing to be overly concerned about so long as I can get her to eat.  When I bring the food to Kitten Girl she's happy to munch, but she doesn't come asking for food on her own like she used to.  I'm just grateful she will eat, after having struggled to get anything into her over the holidays!

Her sass is back, too.  She's always been a "talker", and she's talking again.  Kitten Girl has to have her daily walks in the halls of my apartment building or there is you-know-what to pay.  The Adequan injections have really eased her arthritis discomfort, and the exercise helps too.  I've learned my way around a needle, something I never thought I'd have to do.  Bonus!  It's not the highlight of the day to stick her with a needle or two, but it's quick and effective and she just plain feels better once the deed is done.  (We both do).

Once or twice a week I have to groom her (hello baby wipes!), because she seems to have forgotten what a necessity that is.  Which seems odd, because she is sharp as a tack in many other ways.  The forgetting to eat and groom are senior moments, but they're the only ones I see her having.  And she's the equivalent of her mid 80's right now, so I guess I need to allow for some of that forgetfulness!

It's a bonding experience for me to groom her.  She's never been a bitey, scratchy, ill-tempered cat, so she doesn't resist it much.  I have to go between the toes and she doesn't growl or resist -- which she could, as she retains a LOT of strength for a girl her age! 

I remind myself everyday that TODAY is the day to enjoy her and appreciate her, as it has always been ... going through a serious health scare just helps us appreciate those we love more than ever.   

Remember to love up your kids -- furry and otherwise -- everyday!  It's the best medicine going.

Kitten Girl Update -- February 3, 2012:

My 16 year-old gal is still kicking, with supportive care for her hyperthyroid condition and (recently diagnosed) chronic kidney disease.  

Today she had her latest appointment with the marvelous Dr. A. 

After demolishing the top, most succulent layer of a can of Fancy Feast, the furry one proceeded to my bed (she lets me share it with her) and is settled in for a slumber session.

Kitten Girl is once again bright eyed, vocal, and clearly on a rampage to sniff every single inch of every hallway of my building.  I swear she knows she was MIA for a while and is making up for it with a vengeance. For the moment this means a healthy, happy cat and a relieved cat Mom!

We are embarking on the next phase of "tweaking" medications and the regimen for treating her chronic kidney disease.  The good doctor sent us home with different cans of prescription kidney diet food to try, none of which are seafood.  KG has recently been re-introduced to seafood after a few years off of it, and those delicious fishes and marine morsels have become fast favorites.  Fingers crossed that she'll accept the turf and forget about the surf.

She lost another half pound, which is concerning.  We think it might be her thyroid, as her appetite has come back but the weight continues to come off.  I'll be going at my indignant cat with a syringe full of liquid thyroid medicine later tonight.  The thyroid medicine in ear gel form isn't cutting it any longer, so it's back to the "chicken flavored" liquid.  Oh joy!  The antacid for her stomach has made a huge difference, and the daily "spa treatment" (sub-cutaneous fluid) is equally beneficial.  I've learned my way around needles -- literally around and not through!

So today's update is mostly good news, with the exception of the lost half pound.  I actually thought Kitten Girl had gained weight; perhaps it's just seeing her plumped up with the fluid that's fooled my eye.  Either way, we're doing our best to get her even better stabilized and I am satisfied with the state of things.  

It's a world of difference from a month ago, and it wouldn't have happened without the generous help of my readers.  They have made it possible for me to get my furry love what she needs to keep on kicking -- I'm very blessed!