Technically the previous full moon was on December 31st. But my little Moon program in my System Tray is a little generous and counts the full moon in the early hours of January 30th EST to be the second full moon of the month. Besides, kitties don't care about rules.
Bagel Orlando Cat (1993-2010)
As I mentioned the other day, Bagel hasn't been doing well. One of our three cats we got as littermates in 1993, they were born in April, so he was almost seventeen. That's a pretty good age for a cat. Years ago, as prep for a teeth cleaning, the vet said his kidneys were stressed, so we changed everybody's diet to special kidney diet -- Science Diet k/d crunchies and Purina NF cans. When Sam, the Dark Wonder cat, was diagnosed with feline diabetes in October, we ended up switching everyone to Science Diet w/d cans and crunchies. They all loved that the stuff was all protein and no carbs. Alas, that was the last straw for Bagel's kidneys. The other week we realized he was having trouble peeing, so we took him in. After the diagnosis, it was back to the kidney diet for him, which resulted in all sorts of every cat coveting the wrong type of food. The amount of food needed between the diets was also an issue, and we had to cut Bagel back to previous levels so he didn't overeat and throw it up. Lots of stress on the old guy, I imagine.
When I came home from ConFusion last weekend, I was told that Bagel stopped eating on Saturday and wasn't drinking much water either. We took him to the vets on Monday, where they hydrated him and sent him home. This time the hydration didn't let him spring back and from there it was a steady decline. We had an appointment for Thursday for him to monitor his progress, but changed it to Saturday morning at 10:15 with the expectation that we wouldn't be bringing him home. He spent most of the week in the kitty bed Mrs. Dr. Phil had got before Christmas, figuring that a new soft warm place to sleep was good for aging kitties this winter, including our skinny little diabetic Sam. Bagel seemed to like the soft bed and didn't mind Mrs. Dr. Phil tucking him in with a warm blanket. For a dying cat he certainly surprised us with getting up and down the stairs to check out the litter and drink a little water, and even wandered out to the kitchen last night as Mrs. Dr. Phil was making biscuits and was placed on his kitchen stool one last time to supervise, but he wasn't fooling us -- you can't keep on going without fuel indefinitely. I think he knew we were taking care of him as best we good and put up with all the love we poured on him, instead of his usual attempts to get away if you snuggled him too much.
One last sunny morning for Bagel.
This morning Mrs. Dr. Phil brought Bagel up in his warm kitty bed and with a warm kitty fleece blanket made by her nephews a couple of years ago. Sure, we were supposed to transport a cat in a carrier to the vets, but it was 3°F last night and this was Mrs. Dr. Phil's special orange kitty, so cut us some slack. I was a little concerned that this would be the first time Bagel would see the world driving by at 55 mph, instead of inside the rear bed of the Blazers, but he remained alert and curious, though he cried strangely from time to time.
Dr. Jodi, the vet at the Allendale Animal Hospital when we first got the kittens in 1993, recently retired and turned the practice over to Dr. Tanya, who has been wonderful with our guys. She's got a new vet for the practice, whom we hadn't met yet, and would be on duty today. When is it time? When is enough enough? On a day to day basis it is so hard to tell. But one look at Bagel and the new doc mentioned how far the eyes had sunk -- we'd seen this with our old cats twenty years ago in the U.P. It was time to say goodbye to our dear friend and help him on his way.
A Happy Year
I think we're both so grateful that Mrs. Dr. Phil had her sabbatical from January-June 2009, back when everyone seemed all healthy and pleasant. She spent much of every possible day downstairs in the kitty room, reading for her grad work and taking full advantage of the home WiFi. Perhaps reception was improved with cat tails and kitty whiskers?
From top to bottom: Blue, Bagel and Sam.
Mimi from Wisconsin, who brought these kittens into the world, selected three of the litter of five for us. She made sure that Mrs. Dr. Phil had a new special orange kitty boy to replace the one she'd grown up with and came up with us to the U.P. in the late 80s. His name was Bag, short for Paper Bag which was something of his color. The new kitten was initially named Orlando by Mimi, but after he'd been called Bag more than once after he joined us in Allendale, I suggested we call him Bagel so he could have his own name. And Bagel he was.
Every week when I talk on the phone with my mom, she exhorts us to "pet all the kitties and tell them that they're beautiful and they're smart." And I'd always point out that they were beautiful, but Bagel especially was not smart. He was curious and often had a worried look of concern in his furrowed forehead, but you could practically hear his one-cylinder little pea brain going Ka-chug-ah-Ka-chug-ah-Ka-chug-ah as he would try to figure out something or weasel his way into someone else's food. He dearly loved to splash in the water bowl and drink off the back of his soaking paws -- and then the idiot would go to the litterbox and acquire concrete goulashes. And he always ran to the kitchen looking for an extra dinner whenever he heard a can opener, despite the fact that for over sixteen years with us, we always used pop-top cans.
And when morning sunshine would pour into the kitty room downstairs, he'd lie in the sunshine, get warm and then began to loll around on the carpet, rolling onto his back and talking as he stretched out all his kinks.
He was a good cat.
PS- Naturally, just in case we weren't paying enough attention, and after telling the vet how well he was doing on the new insulin formula, Sam had to have one of his insulin shock staggering bouts and get fed some extra food. He seems to be better, as expected, but geesh. It never ends, does it?