...We were saying our goodbyes to our sweet, sweet Diva kitty, right around this time of day, too...Her renal failure had become fatally acute, ending her 2ish year battle with Chronic Renal Failure. We still miss our dear Diva Doots and singing her the "Diva Dolly" song...

Here are a couple of pictures of her. The top on is from when she was about 2 years old, the bottom one is from the night before she went over The Bridge. We had no idea we were going to lose her the very next day...


Diva, 9 July 2013

We love and miss you, Doots. Hope you're keeping good company with Jazz and Smudge over on the other side of The Bridge...
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( Oct. 6th, 2013 10:15 pm)
I cleared off the disc in my camera tonight in preparation for a wedding coming up next weekend. After uploading (? I get confused with my computer jargon, being a bit computer illiterate, LOL) I found some pictures of Diva from her last full night with us. She self-put into our almost empty suitcase on our bed, much to our amusement. Quintessential Diva behaviour. :) Such a bitterweet find...Damn, but do I still miss my Diva Dolly...

Diva, 9 July 2013
( Jul. 21st, 2013 09:13 pm)
The grief level is high right now, so is the depression. I find myself sleeping more than I should, which isn't a great idea when trying to keep depression under control. I've had a tension headache on and off since Wednesday morning when I woke up. On top of everything else death wise there was the first death anniversary of my good friend and bowling teammate Linda, who died of breast cancer on 19 July 2012. All and all, not the best of weeks...

Diva's passing was hard enough, but I found myself grieving my parents' loss all over again, though not to an incredibly strong degree. Regardless, it's there and I acknowledge it. I emptied the kibble out of Diva's food bowl, but I've yet to bring myself to thoroughly clean it or her water bowl from her former hidey hole in the guest bedroom where she took all her meals. Her urn came on Wednesday and we put her cremains bag in it and put her to rest on the top of my bookshelf next to her sister Smudge. That made both J and I get all teary. :( It's going to be so weird without her presence for a long while. She was our chaperone kitty--she liked to sleep between the space between our pillows on our bed at night. That on its own is a huge thing missing, as neither of the other two kitties have taken her place there. The whole routine of her extensive care is now a thing of the past, which means more free time for me during the day and J at night and fewer trips out to the cat clinic for vet appointments and supplies. She's not sitting on the armrest of my or J's recliners anymore at night when we're watching TV. She's no longer a lump under the covers on the bed to meep at us we come and go during the day. No more kidneys/health to worry about any more. Just a huge presence in our house--gone forever...

Then there's Terry's passing. While not completely shocked by it all, it has knocked me for an emotional loop, which has left me somewhat surprised. We weren't all that close, only communicating via the occasional LJ post comment in each other's journals, but...yeah. We friended each other just over ten years ago--way back when I first came to LJ in late '02. He was one of my first LJ friends. We weathered many a storm together via our journals--his trials and tribulations over the years along with mine. Sometimes we counseled each other, other times just read and commiserated without a word. There were good times, and lots of funny and witty posts from both sides. :) That's what I find myself missing terribly--the good stuff he used to post all the time with the convenient "share" button at the bottom of most of the posts. ;) He was just always "there", and now he's gone forever. By his own hand, which makes it exponentially more horrible. I feel so many emotions when I think about him--sadness for sure, some anger, guilt for not being able to see how bad things must have gotten for him, love for a long-time friend...Just so much, and so intense. So much for online friends not meaning as much to a person as IRL friends, eh?

I've been to this rodeo before on all fronts--both cat loss and friend loss to suicide and disease. I know it's hard, especially at first, when things are so new and raw. I know it gets easier over time, that I should take it as it comes, cry it out if I can, try not to sleep too much, try to keep busy to keep my mind off of things. The standard grief management stuff...

I dunno...At the relatively young age of 44, I find myself feeling like I'm getting too old for this shit. At the same time, though, I realize there's a lot more of this death stuff to come in my life as I get older. It's the circle of life, all rot. Great...If anything, I'll get "better" at grieving, right? One can only hope...
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( Jul. 15th, 2013 07:31 pm)
Got the call this morning around 0930 that she was ready to come home.

Thankfully, while out in BF Nowhere, it was really easy to find the crematory/cemetery with the help of my trusty GPS. At first the helpful staff person couldn't find her box in the cabinet where they keep all the cremains boxes--I found her and pointed her box out to the lady.

She's home, safe and sound, sitting in her temporary plastic urn next to her sister Smudge. It's good to have her back...

Before coming here to post I made my final decision on the urn--I got the one whose link I posted here the other day. I could've looked around more, especially on etsy where they had a metric fuckton of pages of pet urns of various styles and prices, but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to shop more. That being said, I think I made the right choice--simple, yet elegant. Just like my Diva.

According to amazon, I ordered before the two-day cutoff for amazon prime and her new home should arrive on Wednesday. I hope so--want to get her settled as soon as I can...

Welcome home, Diva. Not how we would've wanted you to come home, but we're glad you're back all the same...
I've started looking around the internets for a Final Resting Place for Diva. This is one of the ones I like the best so far off of Amazon.

It's simple, yet somewhat elegant. Just like Diva was. I have yet to look on Etsy to see if I like anything there better. Thing is, every urn I like over there so far is way out of my price point range. :/ Figures, right? Champagne taste on a beer budget as my Dad always used to tell me. ;)

I can only look at urns for so long before the feelings of sadness and despair take over and make me stop in my tracks. I've been through this before many times. This one just feels extra hard, that's all... :(
Had to go to the cat clinic today to pick up food for Jazz kitty. Dr. B wasn't in yet, but Veronica the tech was, so we chatted for a few minutes before she rang me up.

She told me Diva did very, very well while she was boarded with her siblings last week. Very affectionate and cooperated well with her daily treatments. She was very shocked to hear of our terrible news, she was doing that well with them while she was there. Told me how very sorry she was for J and I, knowing how hard it is to let a pet go.

Here's what floored me: right before I left she told me that I was one of the most devoted cat moms she's ever encountered in her nine years of working with Dr. B and that most cat owners in my situation gave up on their cats way earlier in the treatment game than I did with Diva. I about burst into tears right there!! Had to compose myself in the car before I left for home...

I knew I was crazy, extra devoted cat mama, especially with my girls (Diva, Smudge, Jazz, (and Maddie when I lived with her before Starter Husband left and took her with him)), but hearing what Veronica said really told me A LOT. She didn't have to say that to me, but she did. And it made everything I've gone through with all my girls worth it. It told me I've always done right by them. And that made my heart break for the ones I've lost and sing for the one I still have. :)
So, as instructed by the vet tech at the E-vet, I called the pet crematory this afternoon to see if Diva's cremains were ready to be picked up. I was hoping they would be, as I just want her back home with us, but they won't be ready until Monday at the earliest. Turns out their pick up schedule is such that they only pick up from vets' offices and clinics every 2-3 days and their last pick-up was on Wednesday morning so the next won't be until tomorrow morning...

I also found out she'll be coming home in a temporary plastic urn the crematory provides. No plastic bag in a cardboard box at least. So she'll have a temporary home that's somewhat acceptable to both of us until we can find something more suited to her without paying the exorbitant prices likely to be found at the crematory...

So where to buy from? I've gotten a suggestion for ashestoashes.com from a Facebook friend--looking at their site, they've got some nice stuff there, including jewelry, which is intriguing to me. Prices aren't terrible, either. I'm remembering that some folks who lost pets in the past who wrote about it here on LJ got their urns for their pets at a reasonable price off of eBay. If you're reading, folks, do you happen to remember from whom you purchased? If so, please let me know!

I'm trying to avoid the financial debacle we went through when Smudge crossed the Bridge. We allowed ourselves to be pressured into buying an urn from the vet's vendor right after was put to sleep and spend an arm and a leg on what ended up being an incredibly nice walnut box with a Tuxedo cat that looked like Smudge on the top of it and a space in the front of the box for a 4"x6" picture. J's still probably got the paperwork for that somewhere--if I recall correctly it cost us over $150 for said box!! Not bad for a final resting place, I guess, but I know that's really inflated price for a pet urn.

So, folks who are sadly in the know about purchasing pet urns, any suggestions on where to purchase one for Diva would be greatly appreciated!!
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( Jul. 11th, 2013 10:59 am)
Called the cat clinic a little while ago to let them know from me that Diva passed last night. There was a shocked silence on the other end from the tech. She just couldn't believe it!

Talked to Dr. B. who was also shocked and saddened by the news. He said he'd looked at the lab work from the e-vet and said her numbers, while bad, weren't much worse than her last bloods on 11 June, at least for her kidneys. The anemia was much worse, though, so he could understand why Dr. Otto counseled us as he had. Still, Dr. B. thought Diva might have been able to pull through it with proper treatment because she was such a fighter and had pulled herself away from the brink before...I wanted to say "Yeah, but at what painful cost to her?" to him but I didn't. Don't make me doubt my decision now, Dr. B! :(

Despite that bit of a clinker in our conversation, Dr. B was most sympathetic. He asked how we were holding up and I told him how last night was very difficult but I, at least, was feeling a bit less horrible this morning after having gotten what little sleep I managed to get last night. He also asked how the other two kids were doing and I told him of their puke-o-rama on the way home from boarding, but that now they were both doing fine. He was glad of that. It was so sweet; he kept saying how sorry he was that Diva was gone, how they, too, would all miss her at the clinic. I believe that--the folks at the clinic are genuinely caring people who all know my cats very well because of their special needs.
We just got home from vacation on Monday night, picked the kids up from boarding on Tuesday afternoon. Diva seemed fine, the techs and the vet all said all three did well with Diva and Ra both being the most affectionate of the three.

I noticed Diva was a little bit quiet yesterday afternoon, but thought nothing of it given the excitement of the car ride home and getting reacclimated to being home. She decided to camp out either in our basket of clothes by the laundry room door or inside the open suitcase on the bed, and slept with us most of last night...

This morning she puked her breakfast and pooped on the guest bedroom floor. That was odd. Then she started acting funny. Not steady on her feet, a bit glassy eyed as the day went on, her "third" eyelids showing. Then she barely touched her lunch and wouldn't eat at all for early dinner despite having appetite stimulants on board as normal. Her gait got more and more unsteady. She was having more and more trouble getting in and out of the laundry basket she'd resumed camping out in. I started to worry. Of course, as luck would have it, Dr. B was out for the afternoon when I called and not due back in until 0930 on Thursday. As luck would also have it, I was not going to be home for a good chunk of the morning/early afternoon because I had an appointment in Kenosha scheduled for noon. The earliest I could get an appointment that would work was 1700 Thursday afternoon.

We didn't make it that far. Around 2000 last night we started hemming and hawing about taking her to the E-vet to make sure her kidneys weren't crashing again. Watching her struggle to get out of the laundry basket sealed it for us--we took her in around 2045.

Blood tests were run for blood sugar, her kidneys, her blood counts, and electrolytes. The news was terribly grim. All of her kidney values were off the charts and she was critically anemic. Here's the thing: in order to fix the kidney issues, more sub-cutaneous fluids are necessary, but sub-qs are highly counter indicated for anemia because they further dilute the blood counts. Absolute catch 22, as not doing anything, or enough for that matter, for both conditions could and would be fatal eventually. The only thing the Dr. Otto could recommend for us was to send us to a kidney specialist who would likely recommend a full body blood transfusion, very expensive meds to try and fix the anemia and more sub-q fluids which, given the severe anemia, would likely send her heart into failure and cause her to struggle to even breathe. It became a serious Quality of Life decision.

There was no question about it--we could not put Diva through likely painful treatments that would likely not work anyway. The decision was made to let her go over The Rainbow Bridge, to be with my parents again. It was both the easy and one of the most difficult decisions J and I have had to make...

Dr. Otto reassured us we were making the right decision as he'd seen this scenario play out before many a time. He let us know that he would administer a sedative that would put Diva to sleep before administering the final shot that would take her on her next journey. J and I both held her and sang her "Diva Dolly" song to her as we cried into her fur, stroking her and loving on her for the last time before she went to her final sleep. J held her while she got the sleepy shot, held her for a good, long time before we allowed Dr. Otto to administer the final shot. As she slipped away we made sure to pet her gently and tell her how much we loved her.

She went over The Rainbow Bridge around 2230. It was a peaceful passing, thank Bast. We lingered for about a half hour after that, crying and still petting her, stroking her ears as she loved so much in life.

Bast bless you, Diva. You were A Great Cat. I know you're healthy and whole again, hanging out with Mom and Dad, hogging Dad's lap when he's got better things to do (yeah, right, LOL) than hang out with you on his lap. Rest well, dearest Diva. You're leaving a big hole in our lives...and our hearts...
Dr. B called right before the clinic closed last night to let me know that Diva's kidney values are, generally speaking, slightly improved over last Friday and that her urinalysis came back clean! YAY!! It was too late for me to get over to Aurora to go pick her up so she stayed overnight anyways. I picked her up this morning around 1100.

Boy was she glad to see me! :) New instructions for sub-qs: 150ml twice a day vs. her former 100ml in the AM and 150ml in the PM. Hoping the extra 50ml goes off without a hitch...too much fluids and the heart can be adversely affected. Just means I have to watch for coughing and excess fluid buildup on her body. I can do that.

Here are her numbers:

Last Friday:
Amylaze: 1500 (high normal 1100)
BUN: 64 (high normal 30)
Phosphorous: 8.9 (high normal 8.5)
Creatinine: 4.3 (high normal 2.1)

Yesterday afternoon:
Amylaze: 1614 (bit of an increase)
BUN: 70 (bit of an increase)
Phosphorous: 6.1 (nice decrease)
Creatinine: 3.9 (fair decrease)

Overall, Dr. B was pleased with her numbers, despite the slight increase in some of the numbers. I think he's thinking they'll also go down with the increase in sub-q fluids per day; that would be a good guess.

As for her new peeing habits, he could have prescribed kitty Prozac like he did for Jazz when she first started peeing outside the box, but he doesn't want to put her on another med right now. I tend to agree--it only caused problems for Jazz and didn't correct the behaviour at all, so why bother? Not to say it would be the same for Diva, but why take a chance? I'm used to cleaning up various feline bodily fluids throughout the day, both in the litter boxes and out. It's only happening on tile floors right now, not carpet or furniture, so it's easy to clean up and disinfect.

Hopefully the excitement with the cats is done for awhile...:/
Dr. B was extremely busy when I got there with Diva. Gave her a quick looksee and asked if he could keep her overnight in order to get the tests run he wanted to take care of and to monitor her behaviour, at least until 7PM when they close. What else could I say? Of course! :/

Her bladder was full when we got there, so hopefully he'll be able to tap her bladder for the urine sample he wanted to get last week when we were there. He's also going to run the bloodwork again to make sure her kidney values are stable. Going to give her her PM meds and her sub-qs as well.

Sigh. I'm so scared I'm gonna lose my girl...
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( Jun. 11th, 2013 11:48 am)
She's been lingering in the litter box too long with too little results a lot since last Friday and drinking way too much water. There haven't been as much piss clumped litter in any of the boxes as normal. Then this morning she peed a river outside the box on the litter catch mat...

Called Dr. B to let him know what was going on. He told me to up her sub-qs today--125ml at 1400, then another 125ml at bedtime. If she continues to act as she has been to call back tomorrow morning. That makes 100ml more fluids than her normal 250ml a day. He thinks her kidneys are continuing to get worse...

Had to go to the clinic anyway to pick up more supplies for the girls and talked to Veronica the vet tech about how desperately worried I am about my Diva girl. She asked if I just wanted to bring her in today instead of waiting til tomorrow, that it might put my mind at ease. She's right--I don't want to wait til tomorrow to inevitably bring her in. We have an appointment set for 4:15 this afternoon.

If you're of the praying/chanting/sending healing energy type, please do what you can to send positive energy our way. I think we're going to need it... :(
Last accident outside was on Friday morning before the vet. Since then I've caught her sitting in the box for a long time with nothing or little to nothing to show for it a couple of times over the weekend. I've also noticed there's pee clumps to scoop out of the boxes, too. This all points to her not peeing as much, even though she's still getting 350ml of sub-q fluids per day and drinking a ton of water.

Called the vet and let him know. I'm to watch her closely to make sure she continues to pee. If she stops peeing entirely I'm to call back right away. :/ Now I'm really nervous for her...

In addition the poop watch has started. I switched her over to KD kibble over the weekend, a little quicker than I intended. Once she got the kibble again she lost most if not all interest in the wet food. :( I was hoping to keep her on wet food with her poop making cocktail in it like twice a day along with the KD kibble...Doesn't appear that will be the case. Hey, she's gonna eat what she's gonna eat, I reckon.

There was what looked like a Jazz poop in the box this morning but upon further inspection (sniff test--Jazz's poop is very distinct smelling, along with a closer look with the lights on) it seems that it was likely Diva's. Hell, at least the Enulose seems to be working...

That opens up a whole new worry, this one about Jazz, who, if this wasn't her poop as I suspect it wasn't, hasn't pooped in two days. This is highly unusual for her. I'm supposed to call the vet if they don't poop in three days or more. I hope Jazz isn't clogged up again...

So much cat stress!! I'm about to go mad... :(
Diva started peeing outside the box again this week. Last night she peed all over the table while we were finishing up giving her nightly dose of sub-qs. :( She's drinking water all the time, too...Time to go back to the vet.

Unfortunately her bladder was mostly empty so Dr B wasn't able to get a urine sample to test to verify for sure that she's got another urinary tract infection, but he decided to give her a shot of the antibiotic Convenia anyway, along with a vitamin B12 shot. He was on the fence about doing a short blood draw to check her kidneys as it's only been a month since her last draw, but I sorta insisted since he said the peeing outside the box/drinking too much could also be a sign her kidneys are flagging....

And they are... :(

May 8th's numbers:
Amylaze: 1348 (high normal 1100)
BUN: 44 (high normal 30)
Phosphorous: 6.5 (high normal 8.5)
Creatinine: 3.5 (high normal 2.1)

Today's numbers:
Amylaze: 1500
BUN: 64
Phosphorous: 8.9
Creatinine: 4.9

As you can see, she's in decline. Here's the thing: she's on the maximum recommended dose of sub-q fluids for her weight per day, as well as being on the recommended meds. The only thing we can alter to try to correct these numbers is her diet--putting her back on K/D kibble. Right now I feed her Science Diet mature formula turkey wet food with a dash of A/D crisis food for extra flavor/nutrients with a cocktail of Miralax, Benefiber, and baby food squash mixed in in efforts to get her to keep her bowels moving, which has been successful. She used to be on a med called Enulose for that, but it basically stopped working for her so we took her off it in favour of the wet food cocktail. There are two different companies that make wet food that's Rx for kidneys but she refuses to eat them, so we can't go that route...

The trick now is to try to switch her diet over to kibble again but keep her bowels moving. :/ I don't know how we're going to be able to pull this off if Enulose still isn't working...:/ I don't know what to do. Dr B says that it's imperative we get her back on at least some of the Kidney Rx diet some of the time in hopes of getting her numbers back in line...I just don't know if we can do that. At least we've got one thing going for us--she will eat and keep down K/D kibble. In fact she eats it with gusto!

I'm scared for my girl... :(
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( May. 25th, 2013 04:36 pm)
Yesterday I post how she's not peed outside the box and I think she's on the mend and this afternoon she pissed on the mat outside the box again. A lot of piss...

Perhaps the inflammation is still there. Perhaps the infection isn't quite gone. Perhaps it's behavioral...I don't know, and there's not going to be a vet in at the clinic until Wednesday. Clinic won't have techs there til Tuesday so if I want to take her to another vet in the meantime I can't get her records until then. Hopefully this was a one-off thing and she won't do it again. If so, she's going to have to wait until Wednesday and if she needs to go in I'll have to pray the vet will have an opening to see her after the long weekend off...

I know I'm totally jumping the gun here. She probably forgot to put her butt all the way into the box...But with Dr. B on vacation for the next week or so and limited substitute vet coverage at his clinic I'm all sorts of paranoid something's going to go wrong with her especially...

Sigh. It's always something, isn't it? :/
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( May. 24th, 2013 07:13 pm)
No pee outside the box since her vet visit tells me she's on the mend. Yay!
Well it started early last week. I noticed the mat outside the girls' box was wet with urine a few times in the mornings. Thought it might be Jazz because she's notorious for pissing outside the box. Then I caught Diva with her butt hanging over the edge of the box, pissing away on the mat one morning.

We thought it might be the condition of the box that was putting her off, since we've been remiss and not gutted it thoroughly since early last winter. So yesterday we gutted it, deodorized it, loaded it with fresh litter...Good to go, right?

Wrong. The mat was full of piss again this morning. No getting around it; time to make sure Diva's alright and doesn't have a urinary tract infection brewing.

Took her in at 1515 today. Urine sample taken. Sure enough, there's trace amounts of blood in it and white and red blood cells. Could be a urinary tract infection or just inflammation, but the treatment is the same at our vet--a shot of 2-week long acting Convenia antibiotic. Didn't get sent home with any other antibiotics, thank Bast, as she's tough enough to pill with the daily pills she gets. Am to call if she continues to think outside the box.

Just in time, too. Dr. B is scheduled to go out of town for ten days starting Friday. Yeah, he'll have a substitute vet in for him most days, but I'm glad we got this out of the way now. Hopefully she'll be on the mend sooner than later...
She did pretty okay on the appetite front most of the day yesterday, but she didn't eat terribly well last night even with half a dose of cyproheptadine on board from earlier in the day. Decided to try feeding her without the cyproheptadine this AM and she barely touched her breakfast. Dosed her with half a dose of the cyproheptadine and a few minutes later she promptly tosses her breakfast along with the pill still floating in it, dissolving. Sigh...

Thankfully she's eaten very well this afternoon for both lunch and dinner and kept it all down. We'll see how she does for her final feed of the night post sub-qs...

She hasn't had blood drawn since the end of January; perhaps a trip to the vet is in order to be sure everything's in order...
lady_curmudgeon: (Diva)
( Feb. 7th, 2013 02:28 pm)
The last two days in a row Diva's vomited white foam in the early morning hours right before the alarm goes off for J. Hmm..This is a trend, what to do? Give her Reglan for nausea or give her an extra dose of famotidine for a couple of days to treat the stomach acid that's causing her to vomit the white foam? We decided to give her famotidine twice a day for a couple of days. We can always add the Reglan if she's still vomiting white foam to stave off the nausea/vomiting that remains.

Haven't called the vet about it, don't intend to unless we can't get it under control, she stops eating, or she vomits food more than once. Trying to not call the vet for questions as often as I have been. Sometimes it's called for, other times I think I know enough on my own to problem solve on my own. They've got plenty of work to do without me calling every day...
Well we had to take Jazz to the vet this morning because she started vomiting again overnight (a story for another entry) so while we were there we got Diva's full blood panel summary.

Her kidney numbers remain largely unchanged from her last "short" blood panel done on 20 December, which is good, but I wish they were at least a bit better given the amount of fluids we're giving her daily (100ml AM, 150ml PM for a total of 250ml/day). Sigh. Oh wells, at least they're not getting worse!

The full panel also tests thyroid, which we were mildly worried might be becoming a problem because of lack of weight gain and some moderate hair loss as of late. Those numbers all came back well within normal. Thank DOG!

New, returning issue: she is anemic again. Red blood count is at 4.2 (low normal is 5.92 from this test); Hemoglobin is at 7.1 (low normal is 9.3 for this test); and Hematocrit is 20 (low normal is 29 for this test). Dr. B. suspected this when he was performing her physical exam (her ears were "too white, not enough pink to the inside of the ear"). About all we can do is give her Pet Tinic vitamin/mineral supplement and hope for the best--last time she was anemic we gave her a competitor's brand supplement (Pet Tabs Iron Plus) of the same ingredients and her RBC, HGB and HCT all came back to low normal within a month or so of starting it. We're hoping the same will ring true again. We shall see...