Welcome Stormy. And Good bye.


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Stormy in her new home.

After I lost Celica Blue, I was ambivalent about adopting another cat. Losing her had taken the stuffing out of me, emotionally and financially. We love all our cats, but there are those who wind themselves around your heartstrings; Celica Blue was one of those cats.

So, I wasn’t really looking for another kitty when I stopped by Branford Compassion Club in early March. However, Krista, one of the volunteers, whispered in my ear and said, “There’s a gray kitty over here.”

She took me to Stormy, who was in a cage with some people looking at her. She looked a little unkempt and sad. I learned that she was 12 years old and had belonged to a veteran in town, who had fallen, broken his shoulder, and was in a nursing home. A friend was looking in on Stormy and said there was all sorts of food for her, but little for her owner. The friend was allergic and needed to wear a mask when caring for Stormy, so she was relinquished to the shelter when it was apparent that her owner could no longer care for her.

She probably had little or no care and her veterinary check-up showed multiple health issues: a heart murmur, kidney disease, the need for a dental, urinary tract infection. She was quite subdued and seemed depressed. She was thin and her coat wasn’t in the greatest shape. But she was solid gray with bright white whiskers and had the cutest snoozlechops.

And she tugged at my heartstrings.

I went home and talked to my husband. He agreed to go visit her. He pretty much knew it was the right thing to do.

The deal was sealed and after completing the paperwork, we returned to bring her home. Then we got some bad news. Pat, the shelter manager, said that testing had not been done for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) when she first came in and when it was done, she tested positive.

FIV+ cats can indeed live with healthy cats. Three cats at the shelter lived among the FIV- cats without a problem. The disease is transmittable only if a cat is severely bitten.

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Adoption day.

My husband said no on that basis and we left; I was in tears. But seeing my reaction and on second thought, he agreed to take her, so we picked her up the next day and brought her home.

I had hopes of switching Stormy to my quality food or at least good canned, and add some weight to her. From the beginning, however, she had little interest in food. I tried all the tricks in the book – FortiFlora, baby food, various canned foods, toppings. She did not object to spoon feeding, so that’s what we settled upon. She came with some Royal Canin Renal food, which I put down at night; she would eat a bit of that.

We got into a routine. I gave her some slippery elm syrup to coat her tummy – kidney kitties often have nausea and slippery elm coats the tummy and is very nutritious. Then I fed Mollie and Tekla (who required some serious TLC right after we got Stormy, but that’s another story). I prepared Stormy’s meal – a little bit of raw, some canned food, and water or baby food to make it soupy, then heated it for a few seconds in the microwave, hoping to tempt her – and fed her.

My office became her domain. She meowed in the morning to be lifted to the desk where she would gaze out the window – her vision was limited. She also liked the cushey bed in the basket and would stretch her legs with an occasional “walk-about” around the house. She would occasionally hang out on the overstuffed chair in the living room.

Can I get up on the desk?

Tekla and Mollie pretty much ignored her although Mollie would issue the occasional challenge.

An upper respiratory infection sent us to the vet’s office. I thought at first she had aspirated some food, but when the snuffling didn’t go away, we returned. Dr. Gavaletz said she was indeed a special needs kitty.

Antibiotics got rid of the snuffles, but Stormy seemed to grow weaker. She was less likely to demand to get on the desk, do her walkabouts, and she’d occasionally miss the litter box. She may have had a small stroke, TIA: she threw up, then walked in circles, and her vision seemed worse after that.

Supervising.

She spent more time sleeping in her basket and became more unsteady on her feet. I watched her closely. Given her history, I knew it was a matter of time.

The one evening, she had a seizure. It was brief, but that was the sign that she would not be getting any better. When I brought her back to Dr. Gavaletz, he confirmed that it was time. He knelt down as he examined her. Sure, he could give her some fluids to buy a couple of days, though soon enough we’d be back in the same place.

She must have been close. She didn’t flinch when he administered the needle and was gone within seconds. Just about three months after she joined us.

No matter how long they are with us, the loss is always excruciating. I had a beautiful, healthy, purebred, and lost her, shockingly, at a very young age. Stormy was 12, and with all her health issues, it was pretty obvious that she would not be with us for a really long time. When I saw Stormy, it dawned on me: Why not adopt her?

It goes without saying that you can’t be sure how long they’ll be with you, but you can love them like hell while they are here.

Hello, Stormy, and good bye.

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About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

6 Responses to Welcome Stormy. And Good bye.

  1. Catwoods says:

    I’m so sorry, Sally. I know how hard it is to lose a kitty, no matter how long they have been with you. Stormy was beautiful kitty. May you find peace and comfort.

  2. Jo Singer says:

    Sally, my heart goes out to you. Your post brought me to tears.. I think there was a very strong reason that Stormy found you.. to have the blessing of your love.. to feel your touch and that special bond that you had with her- even though it was such a short time. But for her it wasn’t that short…. but is it ever long enough? I wonder about that. Much love to you. you are indeed. a very, very special lady.

  3. You have a HUGE heart full of love and compassion. I’m sorry Stormy didn’t get to stay long with you. I’m sorry for your loss. She had a good home in her last few months and a lot of love. She was a lucky girl.

  4. mraine33 says:

    Wow…thank you so much for giving Stormy a great few months. I once had a dog that had very similar issues, and I only had her for a few months as well. I wouldn’t change it for the world. As hard as it is, it would be harder to know the poor thing spent its last few months in a shelter.

  5. I’m so sorry Sally. Each cat is unique to our heart and saying goodbye is never easy. Stormy was blessed to have her final moments in the loving, dignified, and concerned care of you and your husband.

  6. Suellen says:

    Thank you so much for loving her to the other side. She passed knowing she was loved.

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