Last month we bade a sad goodbye to our cat, Kirby. Longtime readers of this blog remember that our other cat, Hoover, died peacefully four years ago on May 2, 2005. He was 15 at the time. For the past few years Kirby has enjoyed being the only cat in the house and his health has been in good health for most of it.
We noticed a few months ago that he was doing what we called a “silent meow;” that is, he would look like he was meowing but no sound came out. That didn’t concern us, but in February his purr changed pitch and over the next few weeks we noticed he wasn’t drinking very much. We brought him to his veterinarian Dr. John Hetzler, DVM who told us that Kirby was indeed having trouble with his swallow reflex. He did a quick X ray that showed that there was no massive tumor (which was our biggest fear) but that he had swallowed a huge amount of gas and suggested, no kidding, Maalox. Unfortunately that didn’t do any good and we needed to have Kirby re-hydrated.
Dr. Hetzler was very good with us and explained that Kirby is probably suffering from some kind of neuropathic condition that was making it hard for him to swallow, especially liquids. We could have done any number of tests, but the results would almost certainly have told us that either there was nothing to be done, or that it would have been much too expensive. Frankly, Kirby was nearly 19 years old, he had a wonderful life, and it was time to let him go. On March 18th we brought him in and he was euthanized. As with Hoover, it was a painful decision, but it was our last chance to care for him. We’re comforted by the fact that in his 19 years he was well cared for. He was never cold, hungry, or in danger.
Our next step? Well, for the first time in we have no pets in our home. We have some fixing up to do around the house and this provides us with the perfect opportunity. We have some projects to do in the next few months and we expect to repopulate the house sometime this summer. Stay tuned.