My dance with Delilah has come to an end. She came to me a small, slightly feral kitten, one of four fosters. She was smaller than her brothers and sisters and much more shy. She and I made friends after awhile. Easy Cheez works wonders. Soon, she was snuggling with me. Her litter mates got adopted all on the same day. She did not get adopted that day. We decided that we would keep her. Every house needs a black cat, right? We officially adopted her and made her a part of our family.
Pretty quickly, we noticed something odd about her. She liked to snuggle with me at night, adorable and sweet and I loved it. But she slept all night – very unusual for a such a young kitten. We brought two more foster kittens in, hoping she would be more active with them. Everyone got along great. Delilah would play with them but tired quickly. Then, she developed pretty bad diarrhea. We went to the vet several times and treated her for coccidia and other parasites. One prescription had to be specially compounded because she was so small. She was not gaining weight at all. The most she ever weighed was 3.8 lbs. A kitten her age should be around 6 – 7lbs. We finally seemed to get the diarrhea under control. It was not much after that she became very lethargic and not eating. To the vet we went. She had a raging fever. She seemed to have an odd eye problem and maybe upper respiratory infection. So we came home with a bag of meds. She was still eating some. I started having to get creative with the food. If she ate something once, she would not eat it again. I also found out that one of her litter mates had passed away with basically the same symptoms. Not a good sign.
Back to the vet. We ran some blood work, but we could not do a whole panel because we were afraid to take too much blood from her. She was borderline anemic so they didn’t want to take too much blood. The test results were normal. The vet discussed the possibility of FIP. But it’s difficult to diagnose and 98% of the time, it’s fatal. We brought her home with different meds and a new plan. She stopped eating any cat food. We were trying to get her to eat anything – cheese, salami, bread, anything. She wanted to eat, but it was like her mouth wouldn’t work. I force fed her with a syringe. I tried yogurt. I know dairy is not good for cats. But I really just thought if I could get her to eat that, then she would start eating other foods. Then, she ate yogurt mixed with kitten milk. Quite a bit of it, actually. I thought it a good sign. She’s drinking the kitten milk, we’ll save her yet. Then she had a seizure. I brought her downstairs with me and snuggled her against me. Several hours later, she had another seizure. It was a Saturday after 12 and most vets are closed. I snuggled her close, debating on what to do. The vet would just run more tests. Was it worth it? Then she had another seizure. We decided to take her to the ER. We went in knowing that we would probably have to say goodbye to her. But there’s always that hope. The hope that fresh eyes would catch something we missed and help us fix her. We did more tests. While there, she had 3 more seizures. They gave her something to stabilize her while we decided what to do. We knew that it was time to let her go. She was suffering and it was not fair to her.
I know that part of having animal companions is that they don’t live forever. I know that at some point I have to say goodbye to them. But I want that moment to be after years of a good life. She did not get that chance and I’m sorry for it. Goodbye, Delilah. It was short, but oh, so sweet.