So much loss lately at the Funny Farm. I lost the baby Siamese kitten in October (after only two days, but it hurt). I lost my TB mare Secret the day after Christmas to colic. The recent cold/freezing fog spell took another local animal -- which just ate it me with its stupidity and needlessness: a neighbor tethered a baby goat out on wet ground and it froze to death. Not my animal or my responsibility but my friends and I raised a ruckus when we saw it out, checked on it, gave it hay, raised more ruckus, then found it dead. 20-20 hindsight I would have stolen the goat and forgotten about trying to raise awareness or common sense but it happened so fast. But anyway, that's just the baseline for the latest.
My most wonderful barn cat, Fog, and his littermates were hand-raised by me due to a neglectful mother. Not bottle-fed; I would lure the momma with tuna and lock her in with the kittens! They were pretty frail to start with but all the necessaries (worming, de-flea-ing, good nutrition) turned them right around. I took two for indoor cats (the females) and brought the two males to the barn. Lost one male pretty early on to predators, and I lost one of the girls a while back. I still have Burrito inside, she is healthy and wonderful, and until about two weeks ago, Fog ruled the barn.
He was the most wonderful barn kitty ever. He followed me around like a dog and came at a gallop to get on my lap as soon as I sat down, no matter where I was on the farm. We joked that he could hear a lap being created from 1/2 a mile away. He accepted our other barn cats and dogs with equanimity, though he had a ragged ear and, over the years, an assortment of war wounds -- so he definitely tackled SOMETHING in the dark of night. He was a lover and a fighter and a friend.
I noticed him losing weight, at first in conjunction with a new brand of kibble I tried that NONE of the cats liked. I switched foods but he was not interested in eating. Though he was neutered, he sprayed, so I couldn't bring him indoors into living areas, but I did find a spare room on the farm that was pretty snug, and added heaters and blankets. I bundled him up in a big cage and started trying to entice him with different food items. By this time he had respiratory symptoms.
The vet wasn't as worried about his URI as she was about his constipation. She wasn't sure that fluids, antibiotics and resuming eating would be enough to get the huge mass in his intestines to pass, but she supported my decision to try to get a handle on the infection and his weakness/loss of weight first, then go from there if his other problems didn't resolve.
I don't want to relive the past week but suffice it to say that all the best intentions, yummiest food, sub-Q fluids and antibiotics couldn't turn the tide for Fog this time. He was so wobbly this morning, with a new and persistent cough, and the light was gone from his big green eyes...
Of course in the car on the way to the vet, he was crawling onto my lap, looking out the window, and generally acting interested in the world around him (his life in the spare room in a big crate was good for his health but not for his active kitty mind, so it's not surprising he didn't look too interested in his surroundings there). I can't tell you how many times I thought about turning around and going home to try a bit longer, wondering if I had given the antibiotics a chance, wondering if he was 10 minutes from turning around and starting back to health, etc.
But I realized it was just because I didn't want to let him go. And that's not fair. So he's gone, and I look forward to reaching the Rainbow Bridge, pulling up a chair, and having my wonderful barn buddy approach at a run.
Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
I dread the day my own little Verminator - all 5# of her -shows signs of aging.
She's 8yo now and like your Fog, a Laphog Superextraordinaire.
In my Secret Mind I have decided to take her indoors when barn life seems to be getting too hard for her.
Even though I have sworn when my remaining housecat goes No.More.Cathair.Indoors.EVER!
I'll probably fold for her, such a little sweetheart : }
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015
hugs and kindness to you...thank you so much for being such a great owner to Fog...what a lucky, lucky cat to have such kind and loving care for his whole life. The world will be a wonderful place when more people are the kind of people you are.