(Written 10/18/2018 by Sherry)
I took Mimi to the vet for the last time this morning. It had been apparent for the last week or so that her body was starting to shut down, and this morning she could barely move. I knew it was time. Once we got there, the vet checked her and assured me I was doing the right thing, but I really didn't have any doubt.
Mimi had always been a slim, petite kitty. Although I left food out for her all the time, she only ate what she needed. I guess she knew how to keep her girlish figure :-) Her last couple of yearly physicals showed she was losing a little weight, so I started giving her extra food-- extra treats, midday snacks-- and it did help a bit. But then about a year ago I noticed she was getting really bony, even though she was still eating well, so I took her to the vet. Since then, she's been to the vet a few more times (for different reasons), but the tests weren't really showing much, other than more-or-less normal stuff for a cat her age (16-ish).
Then, about a month or so ago, a urinalysis showed something awry, and the vet recommended that Mimi have an ultrasound to determine the problem. So I bit the financial bullet and on Oct. 2 went to a vet specialist up in West Palm Beach to get that done. Turns out that Mimi had several issues (see report at right), but the main cause was probably lymphoma. They couldn't confirm that without a biopsy, though, and that would require surgery with anesthesia, and the vet specialist didn't recommend that, considering Mimi's age and condition. I had to agree.
So, I left with some pills intended to help address her symptoms, and the understanding that basically I'd be providing Mimi with hospice care for a while.
I'd already been doing things to help make things easier for her (and me) as much as possible. Mimi had long been a messy eater, using her paw to scoop canned food out of the bowl, which she would then lick off her paw. In recent months, she'd gotten even messier, scooping most of it onto the floor first, and not cleaning off her paws very well. Cleaning the tile floor wasn't that much of an issue, but then Mimi decided to she liked spending a lot of time on the couch, which was making the couch very messy from her paws and stuff. I didn't want to have to wash the slipcover all the time, so I put an old sheet over the area she liked to snooze on. Also, she'd started missing the litter box when she peed (she was close, like her front feet were in the box but not her back feet), so I got some puppy pads to put around the box. That helped, but then she started missing those too. I observed that Mimi tended to hang around the living area of the house, while Holly preferred the bedroom area. But both litter boxes were in the bedroom area, which had worked fine for 12 years but I considered that it might well be too far for Mimi in her elder years. So I relocated one of the boxes (with puppy pads around it) to the living area so it'd be more convenient for her. And that helped.
I think it was shortly after the visit to the vet specialist that I observed Mimi having difficulty jumping up on the couch, which was her favorite place for snoozing. So I set up a small stool (a camel saddle, actually) to serve as a step up for her.
About a week later (about 1 week ago), she started losing more control of her bladder, and I had to put a plastic cover and puppy pads on the couch, and then more puppy pads around the food bowls.
The last couple of days it was apparent she wasn't even getting up on the couch any more; she was just laying on the floor by the food bowls. So I folded up an old towel thing for her to lay on, which she seemed to like. And she was still eating regularly, which I took some comfort in.
In fact, just last night, Mimi came out to greet the girls from my dance troupe when they came over for practice, as she usually does. And when they left, I gave her dinner and she ate, then laid back down on the towel thing, which was where I left her when I went to bed.
Since she seemed to be doing pretty well last night, I was a bit surprised when she wasn't in the same area this morning. I suspected she might have gone off into hiding to die; I understand cats do that--I know Nike did. I looked around and found her laying on the carpet in the dance area. It wasn't much of a hiding place, but I confess I was a bit surprised to see she was still breathing. I gave her a few little pets, and she made a feeble attempt to talk to me, but didn't seem to want to get up just then. So I let her stay there.
A little while later, after I'd put her breakfast food out, I went back to make sure she knew. I picked her up and brought her over to the food, but she was barely able to move and totally uninterested. That was when I knew: it was time. So I called the vet and they had me bring her right in.
Everyone who met her described her as "a sweet cat," even the vet specialist. And she was.
Pic at left was taken this past July. Mimi had long had a habit of finding all kinds of odd places around the house to sleep in, and around that time she happened to like the dishwasher as I was trying to fill it. This seems to be the very last picture I ever took of her.
Pic at right is from when I had the living area painted, this past February. Mimi liked checking it all out and climbed all the ladders to find new sleeping spots. This is one of a few pics I took of her then; they seem to be the only other pics I got this year.