Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We Will Miss You Penny Kitten

Last week we lost a beloved member of our family, our sweet kitten Penny.  At only 14 months old we were so sad to see her go, and I can atest to many a tear shed.  Pregnancy hormones and kitten deaths are not a good combo, and it's been very hard on me to live without our little fluff ball.
On Wednesday morning I left for work and let Friday and Penny outside to play while it was still somewhat cool. That whole week Chet was leaving for SWAT training at 12:30 and would he would always let them back in the house to cool down till I came home from work at 5:30.  When I came home from work that day Penny didn't greet me at the door like she always did.  Thinking she must still be outside playing, I called her from our porch but nothing.  In the house I called her again but still no response.  I walked to our bedroom and found her curled up in the corner, which was strange behavior.  She was uninterested in me and breathing quick shallow breaths.  I carried her to kitchen with me and tried to get her to drink some water or eat wet food I got out but no luck. 
I called Chet and he said she had been acting tired when she came inside that morning and to check her for a snake bite.  I gave her a once over but found nothing and after consulting with my Mom we thought she was just suffering from some heat stroke.  I planned to call the vet first thing in the morning and drop her off if she was still sick.  I used a straw to try and force her to drink something but she was not interested.
For the next couple of hours she remained lethargic and breathing funny.  By 8 PM I could tell she was getting worse, but of course our vet was now closed.  I drove down to my neighbor's  home, which are two OSU veterinarians but the damage from the tornado had apparently caused them to move out while repairs were done.  Feeling growing anticipation about her condition, I returned home and watched her carefully.  I got out her brush and sat and brushed her and talked with her.  I could see her relax a bit but she did not improve.  At 10 PM I took  her to bed with me where she stayed until Chet came home at 11:30.  He spent about 30 minutes with her and thought either a hair ball or something was stuck in her throat.  She was breathing very raspy, and getting worse but I had no idea what to do with her. 
At 1 pm her labored breathing woke me and I started to panic.  Chet and I both were messing with her and she ran to the far end of the house where she collasped and was barely breathing.  I began to get very upset and we realized this was very serious.  We called the emergency vet service for OSU vet clinic and they wanted her to immediately come in.  I grabbed her cat carrier and attempted to put her inside when she started bleeding from the mouth.  It was now clear that something was very wrong and at 2pm we arrived at the clinic after a heart breaking ride through town.   
The vet took her back to the exam room right away and we were ushered into another room for paperwork.  Only a few minutes later the vet returned to the room to say they had not even finished a basic exam when Penny stopped breathing on the table. They asked us if we wanted them to continue CPR, but at the point it was clear she was gone so we agreed to let them stop CPR. 
We are now awaiting autopsy results to let us know what happened.  She had no external signs of trauma, and that morning she was completely fine.  My other cat, Friday, was not inflicted by anything.  So now we are just waiting to see if it was some sort of poison she go into while playing outside that morning, of if she had internal damage from a fall, or if she got something stuck in her lungs.... it really is a mystery right now.  Of course, I blame myself for not acting right away.  What I thought was just fatigue from the Oklahoma heat was the early signs of something deadly happening to her and I assumed I could wait until the morning to take her to the vet.  She didn't survive the night and now I wish I had done something right away!   But I had hesitated because just the month before I was worried Friday was under weight and paid a $250 vet bill just for them to tell me she was fine.  I didn't have the money or the patience for another silly vet visit like that and at 5:30 her symptoms were no where near as serious as they developed into later that night.
It's very strange to love a pet so much, that she becomes such an important part of your everyday life.  I have always had a big heart for cats, even as a very young child.  We had gotten Penny last summer as an anniversary present, she was only 4 weeks at the time and I fell in love right away.  Since Chet and I rarely share time together at the house my cats are my company most nights.  I talked with them and played with them.  They followed me around outside doing chores and inside making dinner.  We would curl up to watch TV in the evenings and most nights one or both would sleep with me for a little while.  I loved them dearly, and I deeply feel Penny's absence at my home.
I am grateful that the OSU vet will be doing an autopsy for free, perhaps answering some questions will help bring closure.  They also sent me a clay molding of her footprint in the mail, which of course made me ball like a baby but it will be nice to keep something like that.  I realize I am a total sap when it comes to this stuff, but I truly have a broken heart to lose her.  Especially to watch her suffer, knowing I could have done more but had no idea her life was in danger.  Penny was so sweet and playful, I miss her so much!

Chet already has been talking about getting another kitten.  He will never admit it, but Penny was "his" cat.  He called her "little cat" and would always call me to tell me the crazy things she had done that day.  One time while he was getting ready for work he watched penny capture and kill a large spider in our bedroom then carry it over and push it under my pillow on our bed.  Laughing at her actions he called to tell me what she had done saying she was proudly sitting next to the pillow as if to say "What a nice surprise I will leave for her!".  Chet also fashioned a long piece of yarn with a bell on the end and he would go "kitty fishing" from his man chair, reeling in penny every time he tossed it.  Those two liked to sit together in the evenings after I had gone to bed and she always preferred to curl up between his legs than sit with me.  Penny even came to him when he did his pig call, it was hysterical to watch!  Even Friday had grown to love her, and they would curl up together and bathe one another. I loved to watch them pounce one another and run around in the yard playing.  She was also my hunter, often leaving me her presents at the back door.  Mice, moles, bunnies, snakes, even a lizard met their match at our home!  I have even caught her eating bugs on more than one occasion, including swallowing a bumble bee whole (which she promptly threw up when she came inside). 
For now Friday is basking in some undivided attention and we are looking for a cute kitten to come available at one of the rescue places in town.  I am sure we will bring home a new little fluff ball this summer, not to replace our beloved Penny but to fill our home again.  But for now, I am still so sad.  She was a great pet, and it just isn't the same without her around. 

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