Thanks, everyone, for your concern and compassion for my Franki. I said good-bye to her Saturday morning, and it was hardest thing I've ever done. I'm devastated, heart-broken and sick to my stomach. I still can't quite believe she's really gone.
After her blood clot, her rear leg completely died within days. It was dried out, dead, and losing hair. Amputation was her only chance at survival, but with her cardiomyopathy, the vet didn't think she'd survive surgery. I didn't want to put her through the pain. And if she did survive, then she'd be lame. She was such a big, beautiful girl (18 lbs), she needed all four legs to walk. And there was still the cardiomyopathy to contend with -- X-rays pointed to a hugely enlarged heart.
After the clot episode, she became mostly nonresponsive for the next 12 days. Her breathing was shallow and rapid, and she slept 22 or more hours a day. I suspect she may have also had diabetes, based on the copious water she lapped down, even while sick. She could not make it the 3 inches to her litter box, so peed in her beds, which I was constantly washing and rotating. She ate A/D only from a spoon and towards the end she even refused her favorite treats. She lay still, eyes partly open, covering her face with her paw. I think she was trying to hide and go away . . . but since she couldn't walk, the only way to hide was to turn her back on us (broke my heart) and cover her face. It didn't seem as though she was in pain, but certainly not comfortable or happy. Not having fun. And the thing was . . . I knew she'd never have fun again.
I kept her with me as long as humanely possible. Maybe longer than I should have, because I just couldn't give her up. But heart disease, necrotic foot, probable diabetes, lameness . . . it was all just too much to ask of a cat.
I got up at 6 a.m. on Saturday to pet her until the vet arrived at 7:30. And during those last hours of her life, she actually purred and purred, almost like old times. She licked my face and my arm. She cuddled. It made me smile but also broke my heart. Oh, I miss her so much and when I think I've run out of tears, I cry some more.
Franki was a special girl. I found her in a parking lot, when she was about 6 weeks old. Tiny dirty white stray kitten, all alone and ill from giardia. She had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. She was always little fearful of people -- but loved other cats. She almost leapt for joy when she first met my other cats Puppy and Tiny, whom for next 11 years she constantly groomed, licked, kissed and snuggled with. Franki's other favorite things: She loved to roll around on the porch, to feel the cool concrete under her. Always happy to see me, she'd wait patiently by the door until I came home; then she'd roll over and show me her belly, and purr so loudly if I tickled her. Oh,I couldn't even take a shower without her following me.I have several cozy cat beds scattered about, but her favorite place to sleep was my bed, curled under my arm. I will miss that!
I heard her hiss just once in her 11 years, and that was yesterday, when the vet put the first needle in her (to sedate her before euthanasia). She was a happy, cuddly, snugglebun. A quiet cat who rarely mewed and never complained but her purrs were the loudest in the world. Like a helicopter!
Franki's life was too short, but I have to console myself that she had a great life, other than her first 6 weeks and her last 12 days. The 11 years in between were full of much love, cat friends, healthy food, toys, scratching posts galore and water in every room. I may have been a little stingy with the treats, and I do regret that.
I miss her so. I thank all of you who offered suggestions and advice for keeping her going. In the end, I couldn't put her through the amputation, when I knew it meant that best-case scenario was that she wouldn't walk. I did ask vet for Lasix,which helped her breathe the last week of her life.
I'm still furious with the first vet, who saw her within 15 minutes of throwing the clot. At that moment, it's possible her paw could have been saved, but I didn't understand what was going on and didn't know what questions to ask. I was still thinking maybe she just injured herself. I didn't understand how timely the situation was. I didn't know anything about clots or heart disease.
On the second vet's advice, she started on aspirin the next day (maybe already too late), but that made her horribly sick, so I didn't continue it. I didn't massage her leg because she cried. I didn't learn about Nattokinase until too late. So many misteps that I'm kicking myself. But I did the best I knew at the time. I hope I never go through this again, but if so, I will be wiser.
Funny thing . . . the last three nights I dreamt of Franki. It almost seemed she was sending me a message. In the first two dreams, she was running, running, jumping . . . Those dreams were so realistic -- they made me so happy to see her running!(of course, even before the clot, she rarely ran and never jumped. I always thought she was a docile, lazy cat. Now I realize she probably had heart disease for a while, which kept her inactive.) Last night, I dreamed she was a kitten again -- slim and svelte and healthy. Then I woke up . . . to this nightmare.
Anyway, so many of you have written with notes of hope, inspiration and information, that I wanted to let you know the outcome. I'm grieving right now; it's so hard. Hardest thing I've ever done.
I have posted pictures of Franki and my other girls, Puppy (my 17-year-old CRF kitty) and Tiny, age 14. They are under the name "Puppy's Mom." Take a look; you'll see how cute she is! Thanks for putting up with my long eulogy to my sweet girl. I miss her and love her so much.
-- Maryann, Tiny, Puppy and my angel Franki