Tuesday, November 10, 2009

goodbye to Prue

Returning from vacation is always bittersweet. You’ve been away from both the stress and tedium of “everyday” life.
Schedules have been tossed aside, pleasant surprises encountered, memories revived.
It’s a time to relax and recharge; a chance to dream and stretch your mind.
But there always seems to be that pull toward home; the point when you actually are longing for a return to the familiar.
And even as you yearn for some of the pleasantries of home, you’re already wishing that your vacation was just beginning.
My daughter and I recently returned from a week in Vermont, and our time there was truly savored.
But we knew before we even left for our trek north that when we came home we’d have some not so pleasant business to address.
This summer, as I’ve mentioned before, two cats (male and female, of course) decided to take up residence in our yard. When Gary and Wotsit, as they were dubbed, arrived, the female already was “great with child”; well, make that plural.
She actually had three “children” and two survived. One found a new home with nearby friends; the other, of course, now lives with us.
We wanted to trap the mom and have her spayed before anymore kittens appeared, but we weren’t quick enough. And somewhere along the way, Gary suddenly disappeared, despite having been a loyal husband and dad.
But Wotsit was even larger as the second birthing loomed. This time, she presented us with five kittens. Thank goodness for Stray Cat Blues, who offered to help us trap Wotsit and have her spayed, and take the kittens into its system for adoption. She would then be returned to her “feral” home.
All this was to happen the Sunday after we returned from vacation. We had become fond of the kittens, feeding them, picking them up and petting them. But we could not absorb five more kitties.
So Linda from Stray Cat arrived, we picked up the kittens and quickly snared Wotsit ... and off she went for her operation. All went successfully, and she’s now back at our house; woefully alone, but not willing to become a house cat, apparently.
And bless Linda, for putting up with Wotsit’s yowling for a few days before she could be returned after her surgery.
But all of this was even more difficult because, the day we returned from vacation, we also dealt with a much more wrenching crisis.
Prue, my daughter’s 15-year-old black cat, had been boarded at the vet while we were gone because of his medical needs.
Ever since she was given the cat when he was a kitten, he had a heart murmur. But that was never a problem. However, in recent years he was diagnosed with diabetes and an overactive thyroid.
Our lives were scheduled around his need for insulin and thyroid pills twice a day, never more than 12 hours apart. And he also had to eat a certain amount of food when receiving his insulin.
But Prue was such a sweet boy that you could never begrudge this regimen. It did, however, mean he needed to be boarded when we traveled. And he obviously had turned on his charm at the vet hospital, earning pretty much free roam and the attention of all involved.
The day we returned home, my daughter picked him up at the vet. He immediately appeared to suffer diabetic shock, but the usual treatment had no effect. Rushed back to the vet, tests revealed grave concerns.
He was kept overnight again, and the next day brought harrowing news. His chest had to be tapped; his lungs were in bad shape; his lymph system appeared to have shut down. Cancer had struck.
We were overwhelmed by the sudden onset of symptoms; it was as if he had waited for his beloved mom to return.
There was no choice but the final goodbye. It was devastating. How do you bid farewell to such a gentle soul?
It was hard to believe that in the span of just a few days, we had lost our dear Prue and had to bid adieu to our kitten family.
Vacation was most definitely over. Bittersweet can barely describe it.
Autumn, our beloved season, had brought to a close the summer of the kittens. And the life of our sweet and gentle Prue.

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