Eulogy for A Unwanted Pet
by: a long-time cat rescuer
You were initially discovered lying in the grass at a local river-front park. A gentleman watched you from the bridge as you slowly ducked behind the outbuilding should someone even came close. He noticed your pencil-thin grey body with patterns of white on your chest, sunk-in rear legs. Wondering if perhaps you had been struck by a car, or mauled by another animal. The man left only to return the following week.
To his dismay upon returning to the same spot, he was startled to once again spot you lying in the same place as before. When people came close, he noticed you stiffened a bit but didn’t move. Night was approaching quickly, so this kindhearted soul decided, he was going to take you home. Approaching you, instead of fleeing, you gave a weak meow. He stuck you underneath his jacket, hoping his body heat would warm your chilly body and hustled you home.
Turns out, one of his mom’s good friends was a cat rescuer. When Dee called me, I rushed you to the vet immediately to be tested, evaluated and treated…or so I thought. Turns out, you were microchipped. You had an owner! All treatment was brought to a standstill until the owners could be contacted. On the off-chance that they might not want you any longer, I left word that we would step in and if the vets thought you were treatable and able to be salvaged, we would ask they owner surrender you to us.
Six hours after picking you up, I received word. You were not wanted by your humans any longer, you were ours! Your name had been “Cracker” a name that hardly fit your Royal Russian Blue-ness. We renamed you “Sparkle.” My thought being at the time, if there was even a glimmer of hope that you could survive all you had endured, we would gladly go the distance.
Initial diagnosis after exam, x-ray but no blood work (you were so anemic) your blood was like water, they wanted to wait for two weeks for a re-check to run blood. You were possibly asthmatic, anemic, weak, and malnourished with a load of parasites. We treated for the worms and fleas gave you food and fluids then took you home for more groceries and TLC.
My heart wept when I actually had you on my lap and could examine you. Pencil-thin, every rib showing, no fat cap on your rump, your backbone sticking up, no protection evident. You had so many cockleburs on you. Brushing your fur caused you to complain softly- you had nothing to protect you even from the softest brush. You laid on my lap that first night and we both fell asleep.
Your best friend became your pet heating pad. (I was just the human can-opener). You would leave the pad only long enough to eat and drink then head-bump a “thank you” before returning to the warmth it offered. Not knowing how long you had been “missing” my prayers centered on the hope you were just plumb worn out trying to survive. The pads of your feet showed wear and tear. How many miles, I wondered did you actually travel?
A week passed and though you ate like you had a hole in your stomach, you were not gaining weight. More troubling the constant avoidance of all three of the litterpans, although within easy reach of your nest- you would move off just a few inches from the pad pooping and peeing all over yourself in the process. Your breath was still ragged and irregular. Feeding time produced the only movement in your day. Once you ate, I would get one head bump and you would move back to the warmth of your pad.
Instead of waiting out for your next schedule recheck, I took you back early. Turns out, you were diabetic, your sugars were 4.0- you had pancreatitis and a “doughy belly” that according to the vet didn’t feel “quite right.” We sat down and discussed all the pros and cons of the latest results. You were 17 years old- now looking at a lifetime of stressful vet visits, daily injections at least two if not three times a day of insulin along with medication to help the pancreatitis and the growing suspicion that the doughy belly was something a bit more ominous than a load of worms. The decision was reached reluctantly amid tears- your Bridge Pass would be stamped and you would finally be at peace and out of pain.
As the needle found its mark, I hugged you close and kissed the top of your head. I told you: “Sparkle, your owners may not have wanted you any longer, but I did and I am grateful for the short time we shared together. You have blessed my life. You have shown me what a beautiful soul you posess. Sparkle, your light may now be dimming but you’ve left a flame inside me that glows brightly and will not be extinguished any time soon. Goodbye beautiful girl- Godspeed.” And as quickly as you came into my life, you were gone.