"This was supposed to be a success story" said my sister in an email to me on Monday. That's what makes this story so heartbreaking.
Those of you who have been reading my blog know that my sister and I had been feeding a stray cat who had 5 kittens under the porch at my sister's art studio. We know 3 of her kittens survived and were rescued. But 2 of them are missing. Maybe someone took them in or maybe they did not survive. That's Miss Marble in the photo above.
We rescued Miss Marble a week ago Sunday night. She was spayed that next Monday and Tuesday she was returned to us. We were hopeful she would bond with us so she could find a forever home. My sister would have taken her to her home but my father who lives with my sister does not want pets in the home.
I could not take in a 4th cat. But I would have let her stay in my office in the basement if we didn't find a home for her by Winter. The office has central air and heat and two windows. It would have been adequate temporary housing for her. Not the most ideal but adequate.
My sister's landlord at the studio was captivated by Miss Marble. He thought perhaps he would like to give her a home but we thought he was not suitable because he travels a lot for business. Anyway, he allowed us to use the second commercial space in the building for housing for Miss Marble. Rent free. The tenant had moved out on July 31st so the space was vacant and the timing was perfect!
We thought Miss Marble was recovering nicely and she was looking good and eating well after her surgery. My sister and I were taking turns feeding her and keeping her company. And when we weren't there we had the radio on for her. It's funny, the first time my sister turned on the radio the song was Don't Stand So Close To Me by the Police. And the first song I heard when I saw Miss Marble after her surgery was I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles.
Last weekend, on Saturday morning Miss Marble didn't look so good. And she wasn't eating or using her litterbox. My sister was concerned. Saturday night she had not eaten her morning food. Sunday morning the food was untouched. And by Sunday night still no food was eaten.
I told my sister we needed to take her to the vet. I thought I heard her wheezing. She was lethargic. We put her in the car and drove to the animal hospital for emergencies. I sat in the back seat with her, reassuring her that it was all ok.
Evidently, she was petrified. At the hospital, she bit the animal tech and escaped from the staff's reach. She ran the length of the hospital before she was caught. The animal tech was going to be put on workmen's compensation.
After examination, it was determined she was quite sick. She might have pneumonia and her pupils were not the same size at all indicating a neurological problem. It was possibly FIP, a fatal brain disease for cats. The vet expressed concern for our well being and did not think we would be able to administer antibiotics to Miss Marble twice a day for 14 days. A positive confirmation for FIP would mean an MRI which cost minimally $3,000.
The vet suggested euthanasia as an option. We did not want to consider this. We wanted to get her well but it was not looking good. We were blown away by this diagnosis. I thought she had the sniffles. The vet said she wasn't eating because cats are driven by a sense of smell and Miss Marble was congested and with upper respiratory problems she probably couldn't smell anything.
While at the vet's office my sister placed a call to the Cat Society lady who had helped us rescue Miss Marble. She said if FIP was mentioned Miss Marble could suffer. After that we made the painful decision to end her life.
I think she must be in heaven. Perhaps with her two kittens. She was a sweet cat, a kitten really. We noticed about two weeks a look on her face that told us she wanted to be rescued. Perhaps she knew she was sick and she knew we could help end her suffering. If we had known she was sick, we would never have put her through the surgery. I feel terrible that she went through an unnecessary surgery.
At least she must have felt safe and loved after her rescue. She actually let me stroke her ear the other day. It was the first time I touched her.
But she touched us right from the start when we first met her nearly two months ago. And we will miss her terribly.
My sister said she was wishing for a forever home for Miss Marble but she did not think her forever home would be heaven. She thinks we should be careful what we wish for.
Rest in Peace Miss Marble.