Sunday, November 10, 2013

RIP Clifford...You were a great kitty for almost 13 years :(

On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, Shawn and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of our lives....whether to spend thousands of dollars on a surgery that our sick cat probably wouldn't make it out of or to put him to sleep.  We choose the latter.  I wonder if the guilt will ever go away?

I never would of dreamed that when we first took Clifford into the vet because he wasn't feeling good, that a month and a half later we would have to make the decision to put our cat down because of a tumor.

I think the last month and a half has taken a toll on all of us.  I first noticed Clifford not feeling well in early September.  I had cleaned up some throw up a time or two and noticed that Clifford wasn't really eating or drinking much, and was just laying in one spot for a couple days.  Then he got better and was back to his old self again.  I didn't think much about it, just thought he probably had a belly ache.  A week or so later, he did the same thing - was feeling sick for a day or two and then was better and back to his old self again.  The third time it happened, I was really concerned. 

We took Clifford to the vet on September 26.  He weighed 16.1 pounds.  I wasn't much concerned with his weight.  At his heaviest he was 20 pounds and fluctuated between that and 18 pounds.  I knew he hadn't eaten in a few days so I figured that was why he had lost weight.  The vet said that he probably had  GI infection and gave us an antibiotic to give him.

On September 30, the vet did a follow up call and he was doing much better.  He was eating, drinking and acting like his old self again.

On October 12, we took all of our animals to the vet for their annuals and nail trimmings for the dogs.  Clifford had been sick again.  I've noticed grass in his throw up, and he was not going to the bathroom.  When they weighed him, his weight was 14 lbs 14 oz.  I couldn't believe it.  How in the world is my 20 pound cat down to 14 pounds??  He also had a temp of 104.  He was given an antibiotic injection and we were told to bring him back on Monday to drop off for further evaluation.

On Monday, October 14, Shawn dropped him off at the vet for the day for the vet to perform further blood work and further evaluation.  They took x-rays.  His temp was down to 101.4. His kidney was fine, his liver was fine. He had a high white blood cell count.  He has a lot of fatty tissue around his liver and the vet put him on a special dry cat food for 6 months for weight control. He was also put on a couple different medicines.  A liquid that we had to give him once a day every other day for 5 days and a pill that we had to give two times a day for 10 days. 

I called the vet again on Wednesday, October 16 cause Clifford wasn't eating anything and wondered about giving him wet food.  They gave me 5 cans of AD wet food that I had to mix with water and force feed Clifford with a syringe.  I was supposed to feed him a can and half a day.  I was lucky to get him to eat a half can a day.  Now I wonder if I should of forced more down him and then he'd still be with me :( 

We left for vacation on Sunday, October 20.  Mom stayed at our house to take care of our fur babies while we were gone.  She did a great job giving Clifford his medicines and feeding him.  She even said that at the end of the week, Clifford was eating on his own!  We were supposed to bring Clifford in for a follow up appointment the week we were gone so we did it when we got back.

Shawn made the appointment for Thursday, October 31.  Clifford was eating some on his own.  I bought him some canned food in gravy and he ate that, or should I say he licked the juice off the food.  He vomited after eating and his stool was really chocolaty pudding looking.  His weight was down to 12.6 pounds.  I was in shock at his weight, but I also knew that he wasn't eating, so I figured that's why he was losing weight.  The doctors notes said parasites, infection, neoplasia, anemia, internal loss, external loss, aplasia.  Clifford was given another type of antibiotic and some special sprinkle medicine to put on his food for 3 days in a row.  I was also suppose to take in a stool sample.  He pooped a little bit that night and I collected it but it wasn't enough so I waited for another one....and 5 days later there still wasn't one :(  Throughout the week, Clifford wasn't eating or drinking anything and wasn't going go to the bathroom. 

By Monday evening, Clifford would come in the kitchen like he was hungry, but would only just sniff his wet food and go lay back down.  He wasn't eating, or drinking, and hadn't used the litter box for a poop since Thursday evening.  He also peed in three different spots of the house.  Ugh!  And he was laying upstairs in weird spots and laying down like he really didn't feel good, not the "no paws kitty" lay down.  It was absolutely breaking my heart.  I decided to try and force feed him myself.  I managed to get a couple vials of food down him, but then he went into the bathroom to lay down. I put a towel down for him to lay on and he immediately threw up all the food I had just given him.  My heart was breaking!  I told Shawn I was calling the vet the next morning and that I was afraid we were probably gonna have to make a serious decision about Clifford.

Tuesday morning, November 5, I texted the girls at work and told them I would be late cause I needed to call the vet.  I got ahold of the vet and talked to him and told him what was going on.  I was an emotional wreck.  He was very sympathetic and told me to bring Clifford in and he would observe him.  I called the girls at work and told them that I wasn't coming into work that day and that we would probably have to put our cat down.  I went upstairs and got Shawn and had him come to the vet with me.  He got ready quickly and by 9:00 a.m. we were at Dr. Chappin's office.  Dr. Chappin examined him and said he was very dehydrated, anemic, anorexic, had a low heart rate, and possibly had a tumor in his abdomen.  He wanted to put him on IV fluids and referred us to Dr. Sarah Burns at East Pines Animal Hospital.  He said she could do an ultrasound on Clifford and would be able to see things better with an u/s than they can with x-rays.  And that if Clifford would need surgery to remove the tumor depending on its location, she would be the one to do it.  She was in surgery when he called and he was waiting for a call back.  In the mean time, they kept Clifford hooked up to the IV and sent us home and when they heard from Dr. Burns they would call us.  Around 11:00 I got a call that Dr. Burns would see Clifford and that she wasn't taking a lunch that day and would be there all day for us. He also said the exam to see her was $90 and the surgery would be between $2,000 to $3,000.  I called Dr. Burns office to confirm we were on our way.  We picked Clifford up at Dr. Chappin's office and headed to Boonville to see Dr. Burns. 

Once we got to Dr. Burns office, we were registered and they took Clifford back to see the doctor and Shawn and I went to a consult room.  Dr. Burns was an amazing sweet lady who had a ton of compassion for Clifford and for us in this difficult situation.  She confirmed everything that Dr. Chappin had said, and said that Clifford did in fact have a tumor and that because of his condition already that even if she did the surgery, he wouldn't make it out of the anesthesia.  I knew what we had to do, but definitely didn't want to do it.  She confirmed with us that if it was her cat, she would put him down.  It would be easier on Clifford and easier on us than to sit at home with him and watch him struggle each day.  My heart was absolutely broken.  I don't think I had ever been as emotional as I was that moment.

She explained the process of how it would all take place and we discussed whether we wanted to be in the room when it happened or not.  I definitely did, because I knew if I wasn't there, that I would surely have regrets later on.  Shawn was uncertain.  He wanted to be there, but he didn't know if he could handle it.  He ended up staying.  We also discussed what we would do with his remains.  I just assumed we would bring him home and bury him in the yard under the cherry tree, or out in the back yard by the fence in one of his favorite spots to lay.  Shawn didn't want to do that, he wanted to cremate him.  I was absolutely fine with that.  Dr. Burns explained the different types of cremations and the costs.  We choose the private cremation where they only cremate Clifford and we will get his remains back.  They come back in a really nice velvet bag inside a beautiful wooden box and a certificate.  Dr. Burns also made a clay indention of Clifford's paws for us to bring home and bake as a keepsake.  The crematory would pick up Clifford the next day and then we will pick up his remains the following Wednesday.

We left her office with Clifford's crate, his blanket, and his collar, and two broken hearts!  I didn't go to work that Tuesday, I went home and cried and cried.  Wednesday I went to work and had been thinking about Clifford all morning and I remembered how he was meowing so loud when we got to Dr. Burns office.  I hadn't heard him meow in a long time and I kept hearing those meows in my mind.  I started wondering if he meowing cause he was hurting, or he was afraid and knew what was happening, or if he was meowing to tell me it was alright to let him go.  By 10:00 a.m., I was sobbing uncontrollably and had to leave work.   I called Shawn when I got in the car to leave to tell him I was going home.  Once I got home, everywhere I looked I saw reminders of Clifford.  His blanket that he slept on in the bathroom.  The shower curtain pulled back so he could hop in the tub to lay if he wanted too.  His medicines and canned cat food on the counter.  The blanket in the guest room that we wrapped him up in to give him his medicines.  The blanket on the floor in Gavin's room that I wrapped him up in to force feed him his last meal.  The fuzzy house shoes I had laying up in his room by his food dish hoping he would lay on them and smell the food and want to eat.  His picture on the background of my phone and tablet.  I wonder if Molly misses her brother.  She was always home with him during the day while we were at work, now she's by herself alone in this big old house :(

I've gotten better over the last couple days and don't cry as much, but think of him often and talk of him often.  I know the talking helps.  We pick up Clifford's remains next Wednesday.  I sure I'll be an emotional wreck and start all over again!

Who knew that that cute little fuzzy puffball orange kitty I got almost 13 years ago would make such a huge impact on me!

Below are some pictures of Clifford, more recent pics than older pics.  I'm having my blog designer design a page for my blog for Clifford an I have a bunch of older pictures posted there.  I'm also going to post this blog there too.

This is the last picture that will ever be taken of Clifford.  Shawn took it as we were saying our goodbyes and just moments before he passed :(  Mommy misses you so much Clifford!  My heart is breaking for what has happened!


This picture was taken when we first got to East Pines.  We had Clifford at Dr. Chappin's office in Newburgh earlier that morning and they started an IV cath and were giving him fluids.  They stopped them when we took him to Dr. Burns office in Boonville and he had a little camo bandage on his leg to cover the port site :(


Earlier in the morning at Dr. Chappin's office.  Does this look like a sick kitty to you?  Me either, which is why I think I'm having such a difficult time with our decision.  When you look at him, he looks fine and looks like my Clifford.  But he wasn't eating, wasn't drinking, and wasn't going to the bathroom.  He'd lost a lot of fat muscle which, as Dr. Burns explained, is the reason why I felt his bones and spine when I petted him.  He was having a hard time standing up and walking straight.


The day before we put him to sleep.  He was laying no-paws-kitty and wanting to go outside so bad.  I wouldn't let him because the door under the house was open and I didn't want him to get under there and not come out.  Now I wonder if I would of let him have some fresh air if it would of helped him.  He loved darting out that back door and rolling around on the concrete and laying out in the yard.  I wish I would of went outside and put the door up under the house and let him out in the yard.  I'm sorry I was so lazy Clifford and didn't let you out one last time. 



I took this picture of Clifford Monday afternoon when I was home sick from work. He's my handsome little Clifford.  I just loved when he would lay no-paws-kitty style :)


He spent the last couple days laying on this blankie in the bathroom downstairs. 


He's finally eating....but it only last for a little bit :(


Isn't it funny how his leg goes out when he sits?  A couple years ago when we were on vacation, he got out and got in a cat fight with something.  During the healing process, I accidentally stepped on it and it's been like this every since.  I told the vet about it and he checked it out and said it wasn't broken, and Clifford didn't have a problem walking or running on it. 


He's probably waiting on me to open the door to let the dogs in so he can dart out!



He spent alot of time laying in the bathroom and in the bathtub when he didn't feel good.




All of the below pictures were taken before he got sick!

Gavin loved catfishin with Clifford.  Gavin just loved Clifford!  Anytime Gavin was over, he was always loving on Clifford and looking for him.  And Gavin just loved it when Clifford and Molly would come in his room at night and sleep in there.  Gavin would say "those silly kitties!"


Clifford loved laying on shoes on the floor.  It didn't matter what kind of shoe it was, if it was on the floor, he would lay on them.  These are an older pair of house shoes I had.  I put one of them up by his food and water, hoping he would lay on it and at least sniff the food and make him eat.  It didn't work :(

Most people don't let animals on their table.  I usually didn't either.  But half the time it was covered with junk and we never eat at the table so I didn't mind when he would lay up there!


I guess he wanted to be fluffed? LOL!


Clifford's favorite spot.....to be outside rolling around on the concrete and eating grass.  



Ok, maybe my shoes are his favorite spot!


But the vet's office floor is definitely not a favorite spot!


What can I say....he's a table kitty!



Mommy sure misses your fatty cheeks Bubs!




9-26-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $177
10-12-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $82
10-14-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $287
10-16-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $11
10-31-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $196
11-5-13 - Animal Care Clinic - $110
11-5-13 - East Pines Animal Clinic - $271




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