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  • Polis, Karen [CNTUS]
    Apr 4 8:27 AM
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      Ocean, (my Singapura cat just over 2 years old) died Tuesday, April 3, 2001
      sometime between 3:30 and 6:00 pm.

      I took him yesterday morning to the vet for a fasting blood test to check if
      there were any underlying diseases complicating his severe cardiomyopathy.
      The vet said his murmur sounded less obvious than it had in December and
      that his lungs sounded "harsh" but that there were no crackling sounds which
      would indicate definite fluid in his lungs. All this sounded pretty
      positive, however, the stress of trying to draw blood proved too much for
      him and the vet sent him home with me saying, "I'm afraid if we keep trying,
      we're going to kill him." When she handed him back to me, his bottom was all
      wet because he had peed from the fear, his back legs were weak, and his eyes
      glazed.

      On the car ride home (only a 5 minute ride), I heard him scream and gag and
      I thought he had a heart attack. I almost turned the car around, but I saw
      he was still moving so I thought the best thing would be just to get him
      back in his own home where he could relax. When we got home, he screamed
      again, spit up and ran under my roommate's bed. He was panting very heavily,
      with wide, glazed eyes. He collapsed on his side a few times, struggled to
      pull himself along the floor like that and got up on his stomach. He finally
      came out from under the bed and was sitting up on his front feet. He was
      pooping and drooling and panting and occasionally he made that horrible
      screaming sound, shook his head violently and spit up.

      He was like this for about 40 minutes. He did seem alert- he turned his body
      towards the door when Tracy walked in and he responded slightly when we
      spoke to him. My other cat, Desert, went up to sniff at him a few times, but
      she ran from him and to me, crying at me constantly as if she wanted me to
      explain to her what was going on. At one point, Ocean lay down on his side
      and this caused him to gag, scream and spit up again. He did not try to lie
      on his side again. The vet wanted me to bring him in for oxygen and Lasix
      therapy (to help get rid of the fluid in his lungs), but I was sure the car
      ride would kill him and the vet would not come out to my house. Finally,
      Ocean began to breathe a little slower and his mouth was almost completely
      closed as opposed to being gaped open and panting. He continued to sit up
      and stretch his neck out to take in more air, but he definitely looked
      improved. He was obviously exhausted and wanted to lie down and rest, but he
      couldn't breathe well enough that way, so he held himself up for hours. He
      seemed to have calmed down quite a bit by 3:00 though his ears twitched
      slightly and continuously and his tail stayed puffed up. He had peed on the
      tile floor of Tracy's bathroom (even though he was sitting on the rug- so I
      quess he had enough awareness to not want to pee on the rug), and he was
      lying on his stomach looking a lot better and more relaxed. A few seconds
      later he stood up again and tried to maneuver his body around, but he was so
      wobbly, he just stumbled and leaned against the wall. I went to the vet to
      pick up a needle of Lasix. The vet said she doesn't normally send home
      injectable drugs with owners, but she let me practice with saline on one of
      the cats they had there. It was just a subcutaneous injection and was a lot
      easier to give than I thought. I went home and gave the Lasix shot to Ocean-
      he didn't even seem to notice (even though I stuck him twice because I
      didn't think I had depressed the needle all the way). He had moved about 5
      feet from the corner where he had stayed since about 12:00, and now he was
      standing over a glass half filled with water. I thought maybe he wanted to
      drink, so I filled the glass and put it under his nose, but he ignored it
      (the same as he did when I presented him with some gravy from food).

      I felt better having given him the injection since the vet said it couldn't
      possible hurt and could very well help, so I thought it was alright to go to
      Ginger's house to see about buying her computer and helping her parent's
      clean up after Ginger's death last Wednesday. At 5:00, I started feeling
      anxious about getting home to Ocean, so I got in the car and started down
      the road, but traffic was so heavy that I turned right around and went back
      to Ginger's, thinking it would take me longer to get home in rush hour
      traffic than to just wait another hour or so. By 5:30, I felt horribly
      anxious and I went home despite the traffic. When I went into Tracy's room,
      Ocean was no longer there, and he wasn't under the bed. I found him on the
      floor of my room, near the head of my bed, tail still puffed, eyes and mouth
      open- dead. He had made his way from Tracy's room to mine- I can only assume
      he was looking for me, and I was not there.

      I don't know why I did not stay with him. I knew the chance I was taking.
      The vet said it was better that way because the image of him dying would
      always haunt me, but the image of him trying to find me is haunting me now.
      She also said that sometimes animals deliberately wait to be alone before
      they die, but I don't know if this was the case with Ocean because he always
      wanted to be around people, especially when he was sick.

      I wrapped him in his favourite blanket (a plush, faux leopard skin that is
      super cozy and matched his colouring), put one of the tissues I had cried
      into next to his mouth (he always loved to munch on tissues), and brought
      him to the vet to be cremated. I forgot to put a favourite treat in with
      him, but I figure I can sprinkle some dried shrimp flakes in with the ashes
      when I get them back. I did not put in a favourite toy, because he was
      always much more interested in playing with Desert than with any toys.

      A message on the answering machine from the vet said that they had run tests
      on the little blood they had been able to get from him, and there was
      nothing out of the ordinary- so as it turns out, I never had to bring him in
      for that test in the first place.

      I am grateful that he died in his own home (I guess my instincts were
      correct not to bring him back to the vet), and that he only suffered for
      about 6 1/2 to 9 hours total, and that I did not have to make that final
      decision.

      Goodbye, Little Boy.