Goodbye my friend

29 Sep

This isn’t the kind of thing I want to be posting here but it’s my site and I can do what I want. Besides, I have been posting about selfcare this year and writing this is part of mine.

And he was a nerdy little cat.

So here I am to tell you that at about 8:20 pm on September 28, 2020, Gizmo took his last breath. Yeah, this is a post in tribute to a cat. But you see… I’ve had him his entire life. I raised him to be a nerd. And even though I still have a pack made up of his brother, Wicket, and the two siblings they helped me foster fail, Snarf & HarleyQuinn, Gizmo was something special.

In 2013, shortly after Cinco de Mayo and having to let my elderly love, Pudgey, pass, I was introduced to the smallest balls of fluff you ever did see. They were handed to me and snuggled right into my arm and cleavage. I had only intended to get 1 cat to fill the hole left by Pudgey, and certainly not kittens as young as these two (they turned out to be around 4 weeks), but the moment they were handed to me, I was in love. Ask my mother, she said something about how we were leaving with both of them even though I had only meant to look at one.

And for the last 7+ years they have been my constant companions.

Wicket is the troublemaker, though he happily blames it on anyone else. But Gizmo… Gizmo is was my baby. From day 1 he was sickly. He was diagnosed with an eye infection and worms. I had Norovirus. We were the perfect pair. The worms came back a few weeks later. They stunted his growth so while his brother was always tall and lean, he was short and squat. He had a seizure at 6 months because he got too excited playing with the neighbor kids (but never had another one so it was never something I worried about). He reacted poorly to every shot and medication, just like me. He regularly had congestion and had nose drops. Last year, he got pancreatitis and was in the hospital for days before a diagnosis because it isn’t something commonly looked for in cats. And he was always my chonker.

I said I raised them to be nerds and it’s true. They loved watching Arrow; would watch the Facebook Q&As Stephen Amell used to do regularly. They loved the sound of Samuel L. Jackson as “Nick Fury”, and always came out to watch the opening scene of The Avengers. Gizmo, in particular, enjoyed J. August Richards in everything, but especially as “Deathlok”. Gizzy also had a longstanding love for Adult Swim, in particular Robot Chicken but also enjoyed sitting between me and the screen during Family Guy eps. He also really enjoyed listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson in Cosmos. I was looking forward to letting him marathon the new season.

Gizmo was my thinker. When the rest of my pack was given a new toy or game, he would sit back and watch before joining in. Always looking for the easiest way to win. The others would run around like crazy monkeys, chasing the laser or what have you, and he would just be there… waiting for it to come to him. Unless food was involved. If there was food, I can guarantee that he was head of the line.

He was my chonker, you see.

Which is actually how I saw something was wrong. He lost a lot of weight, very quickly. I could feel the bones in his spine, his ribs, when before he was all sqooshy. So I took him in and hoped for the best. I didn’t hope hard enough.

The night of August 6th, 2020, after authorizing test after test and a surgery to biopsy what was hopefully just a shadow on his lymph nodes, I got the call that even without the final test results the doc was mostly sure that he had lymphoma. The test results would come back a week later and say a lot of big words meaning that he basically had the worst possible version of this, and also, “we couldn’t find any lymph node in the lymph node you sent us”. I immediately authorized the placement of a feeding tube even though I had no idea what I was doing with that. All I knew was that anorexia was a symptom of the cancer and that if I didn’t get food into him, I was gonna lose him faster than I was ready. He was also given an appetite stimulant (which to humans is prescribed as an anti-depressant) and a motility med as I learned way more than I ever wanted to about the large and small intestines and basically his were not doing their job and moving the food out. Brought him home, where I honestly thought I would have him for a few days before he passed away. Then he gave me another scare and got congested. A diagnosis of pneumonia and a 4 day hospital stay later he finally came home, this time with more meds and a change in the instructions for care as the amount of food may have been the problem. I got him 90mg of food a day, plus 10mg of water 5 times a day. That’s about half of what he should have been eating. And he was good for about a month. Even did well enough that I could go to work and leave him in Kitty Daycare (aka grandma’s house) with my mom and Dr. Anne. Til he popped the sutures on the tube and after getting that repaired and another quick x-ray… he had fluid on the lungs. So the food amount was decreased and the times increased- up to 7 times a day, 10mgs each (though I did 12 because that worked out 84mgs). We were on a schedule of feedings/meds every two hours. Thankfully, overnight he was to be encouraged to eat actual food, so once I had done my 7 and all meds were given, I didn’t have to bother him. Because that’s how he saw me- a bother. Always making him come sit with me so I could put stuff in him. I took it as a good sign every time he would get up and move away when he knew it was time for a feeding. Especially when he was hiding under my bed and there I was crawling under to get him and he’d saunter off to the other side. Jerk. But I was happy to see him do anything.

I was most happy to see him lay out in the catio, soaking up the sun (especially on his nekkid tummy). But the other wonderful moments were when he would come to me and snuggle. He was my snuggler. Always. From day 1, he wanted to be high up on my boob. And he was very put out when he got too big and would just roll off down into my lap. When we lived in LA and would drive up to Fresno (or vice versa), he was always smooshed between me and the steering wheel until he was too big for even that. Chonker. But he was always my snuggler. He liked to be the big spoon. Which I didn’t mind. But the last few months, he wanted to be the little spoon. Always sleeping right there, curled into me at night. It’s a really good thing I got him used to baths as a baby because with the meds sometimes he messed himself and needed a bath before snuggles were allowed. But he didn’t mind. He would complain, sure, but he’d also stay in the sink and let me bathe him and then curl up in the towel and let me dry him. And if I had to scrub a little because there was litter bits stuck in his fur, he was only mad for a minute before coming right back to me for cuddles.

I am grateful for everyday I had with him. Even the last two months, when they were hard, and I would look at him and know that the end was coming… I am grateful I was able to spend the time with him. I am grateful that he was so patient with me as I learned ways to take care of him and make it easier on him. I am grateful for the grumpy little face he’d make at me, and then head boop me.

I am grateful that I walked into a strangers house seven plus years ago and left with a bundle of fluff that would forever be in my heart.

I am grateful for friends and family that understood that my cats are my children and that the last two months I have been on his schedule. For people who came to me instead of forcing me to come to them and be late or miss a feeding. For my mom, who I spend Fridays with, understanding that I would run errands and have lunch, but I had to get back. And to my mom and Anne for being up to the challenge of caring for him so that I could go to work.

I am grateful to my pack because even though he smelled funny at first, they never moved to hurt him or shun him. To Wicket, for sitting with him and snuggling and grooming. And to the others for moving out of the way when he magically decided he was hungry and wanted their food, right now thank you very much.

I am grateful to Abby Pet Hospital. I have gone to them since 1989 when I picked them out of the phonebook because they had a coupon and I had a kitten I needed spayed. The doctors went above and beyond. He had more x-rays and ultrasounds than I paid for because they wanted to make sure things were looking okay. They understood that I would do what was best for him, and not pushing on me other treatments. Sure, I could’ve put him on more aggressive medications and treatments, but what would’ve happened to him in doing so? There wasn’t a good chance of recovery and the best those treatments could do was maybe another couple months, if they worked at all. But other issues were likely. (There isn’t a lot of research on cancer in cats). I chose comfort. I chose to have him at home with me and my pack. And they did everything they could to make that comfortable for him. And last night, they did everything they could to make him comfortable and give me the last few minutes with him.

I am grateful to my mom for coming to get me last night when I knew- when Gizmo let me know- it was time. For sitting in the car with me, this time and every other, and for being with me when it was time to say goodbye. I am grateful for my mom being there for me to talk to about everything and listening when I just needed to cry. And for crying with me.

I held him in my arms for a half hour as we said goodbye, and when it was time for the meds, I held him tighter. I felt him leave. I felt my heart break. I cried. And I whispered to him that it was ok. I told him I would take care of Wicket, and Snarf, and HarleyQuinn. That I would take care of Ripper and Gotham. I asked him say hi to Pudgey, to Chedder, to Missy and Kiki, and Kiki (not a mistake, one was a cat and one was a dog), to Lump, and to Sylvester… to tell them all I miss them still. When I finally laid him down, I kissed him one more time and said that I was sorry I couldn’t do more for him. I hope he had a good life. I hope he was as happy as he made me. It guts me that I couldn’t have done more. He was just a baby.

I told my brother he was gone and he sent me this-

I’m so sorry Elizabeth.

He was a big sqooshy love bug and a good boy… when he wasn’t humping his brother.

My heart is broken. I know it will heal, the rest of my pack has been all over me today, but I also know that there’s a Gizmo shaped hole that’ll never be filled again.

 

If you feel so inclined, we’ll never win but I put him up on this contest site just to show him the love and I would love to see him get more votes… Vote for him HERE!!!

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