"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The big sleep for Morpheus?

I am so worried about my cat.  We have had Morpheus since the day we moved in together 15 years ago.  We had, at one time, 4 cats- Jedditt and Morph, who were littermates, Orca, whose mom died and we got when he was 5 weeks old, ladened with fleas, and Boo Radley, an adoption from the Humane Society.

And now, just Morph remains. 

I honestly didn't think he would last much longer after we lost his brother Jedditt.  Jedditt had a tumor in his stomach, and we put him down 2 and a half years ago.  Morph has carried on.

Morph and Boo
in our first house
Boo Radley was the last to join our family and the first one we lost.  One day, he wouldn't come out of the bath tub.  He just laid in there, head down, meowing softly now and then.  It was late at night when I found him.  The other cats, one by one, went into the tub and laid with him for a while.  Then, when they jumped out and left him, they never looked back.  It's like they said their goodbyes, and have moved on. 

Because it was so late, I had no where to take him.  He didn't seem like he was in any pain, so I thought we could wait until morning, and take him into the vet for a check up.

I scooped him up in a fresh warm towel and made a bed for him in a laundry basket.  I set him beside my bed, and fell asleep petting him, hearing his rumbles.

Geoff woke me at 2:30 in the morning.  Boo was dead.  He had made it to the doorway of the bedroom and collapsed.  It was February, so I wrapped him in the towel and stored him in the garage.  I worried so much that I was wrong, that he wasn't dead.  I kept going out to check on him.  He most defintiely was, but I had a hard time saying goodbye.  The next day, I managed to shovel out a grave for him, behind the garage.  I put him in the ground and said good bye.

Orca was the next to leave.  He was such a big boy, Orca was a fitting name.  We had been camping, and my mom and dad were feeding and watering the cats for us.  Maybe it was the time away from him- 3 days- but when we got back, he looked swollen and huge.  I honestly don't know if it happened overnight, or it was just that we finally noticed it.  He could barely walk, his bellly hung so low and wide.  When I petted him and felt down his body, I could feel his skin, and how it pulled away from the muscle underneath.  He was dehydrated. 

I nursed him through the night, again.  It was a weekend, and nothing was open.  Call me a bad pet owner, but I didn't have the money (and still don't) to pay the $150 minimum fee for the emergency clinic.  So, I fed him water with a spoon and eyedropper, and mushed up all his favorite foods until they too were liquid.  He seemed to perk up after a couple of hours, and I was relieved to see him on the mend.  He used the litter box and waddled his way around.  I knew we would have to watch his fluids for a couple of days, but he seemed so much better.  *sigh*  Now I know different. 

The next morning, after a few hours of sleep, I found him dead in the laundry room.  He had curled up in one of the sheets off of our bed, and gone to sleep.  I cried and cried and wrapped him in the sheet that smelled of us, his family.  It was June, so I dug a grave beside Boo, and buried my big boy in it.  Sheet and all.

Jedditt and Sawyer
Jedditt was the last one to leave.  He used to be big and fat, and gradually got skinnier and skinnier.  This time, we managed to get him to the vet.  She confirmed in quick time that he had a tumor and was dying.  She confirmed he wasn't in any pain, but that he didn't have long.  She told Geoff (who took him in) to bring him home and let us say our goodbyes.  As soon as he showed any signs of deteriotating, we were to bring him back.  We had another week with him, before he became so weak he couldn't stand.  I was working, so Geoff took him in.  Geoff stood with him and petted his head, while the vet did her thing.  He was gone before the needle's plunger was all the way down.  He came home in a box, wrapped in a baby blankie of Sawyer's.  For the first time, I didn't bury my pet.  My dad did.  He was here when Geoff came home, and said he would do it.  Geoff said that he had seen my dad get the box out of the van and walk into the backard with it casually swinging from his hand.  He said it bothered him to see that, but that he couldn't bring himself to do the burial himself.  Of course, Jedditt is behind the garage, with his brothers.

Morph and Axle
Good buddies.  Now.
And now, there is Morph.  Morph, who was always shy and skittish.  Who never adapted to change, but has since accepted Sawyer and Axle into his circle.  He and Axle have become buds, laying together, snuggled on the bed, or in matching chairs in the living room.

About a week ago, I noticed Morph's belly seemed bigger.  Swollen, almost.

Today, I couldn't find him.  I searched high and low, my heart racing.  I dreaded finding that stiffened tail, sticking out from under a cupboard, or bed.  Eventually, I found him in my closet, laying in a pile of my old sweaters.  He looked up and meowed and me, yawned, stretched and went back to sleep.

I keep checking to make sure he is alive. 

I can't help thinking- it's a weekend.  No vet is open.  I can't afford the emergency clinic.  I will nurse him, if I need to.  I just want him to make it to Monday, so he can see the vet. 

But I am worried that soon, there will be one final grave behind the garage.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not now, not ever.  Please."

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