Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Callie Baby

It was January of 1999. We wanted another cat though, since we already had one, I can't remember why. I think I just wanted one, and my parents were ok with it.

We decided to go to the shelter instead of waiting for the "Free Kittens" signs that always somehow appeared. Dad and I went looking first. We needed a cat that would be ok with other cats, because of the one we had. There was a beautiful silver tabby with bright green eyes about a year old, and a cage full of little kittens. The little calico was the sweetest cat in that bunch, and the volunteers said everyone just adored her. The silver tabby was a nice cat, but he hissed at the kitten my dad was holding when I brought him near her. Unfortunately, that meant he was not a good candidate for our home. But that calico, she got along with the other kittens just fine. At the end of that visit, we were set on the calico, but had to bring my mother and brother by for their approval before the shelter would let us adopt her.

When we came back with the other humans of our household, they let me hold the kitten of choice. She was in the middle of a nap, and she kept on napping there in my arms. A few days later, my parents came into the pharmacy where I worked with the sweet calico in tow. I called her Callista, which means "the most beautiful," but that was a long name for a little six month old kitten, so we just called her Callie.

Callie grew into quite a large cat. She was very complacent, putting up with the other cat, Ichus, teasing her. After my brother got married and moved out and took Ichus with him, we got Miss Luna. Callie still put up with her, but dad and I could tell she would be happier being the only cat in the house.

Right before I moved out, Callie developed diabetes. She came very close to dying then, because it took us a while to realize what was wrong, what was causing her sudden and drastic weight loss. She stopped using the litter box and spent her days just loafing around. When I left, I took Miss Luna with me. I couldn't take Callie, because of the litter box issue. I will be forever grateful to my parents for how they stepped up and took care of our suddenly ill cat. Even my mother gave her insulin shots.

Callie improved with insulin and seemed to be happier since she had the house to herself (and my parents, of course). She was living, though not altogether thriving. I wonder if she missed me. I think she might have, because she always slept with me when I came to visit. It's been about two years since she was diagnosed, a few months before her twelfth birthday.

Last weekend, I wasn't sure she was doing that well. She spent the whole time on my bed and barely ate. When I came home this past Saturday, I didn't see much of her, and she didn't sleep on the bed with me. By the time I was ready to come home Sunday afternoon, just about 1600 or so, she was in a dreadful state. She was drooling goo. She huddled up to dad, who was on the floor holding her. We talked about taking her to the vet in the morning. With one more kiss on her sweet head, I headed home - fearful.

Around 1900, my dad called to tell me they took her to an emergency hospital. There was a bit of a screw up on the part of the hospital, because Callie needed to be revived but it somehow didn't get to the doctor right away that she was diabetic. Once the doctor knew what was going on, he was able to do something about it. Even though her blood glucose level was at zero, she seemed to be responding. But brain damage was highly likely.

As I learned Monday morning, the doctor called my parents around 0200 to say that Callie was experiencing seizures. They knocked her out with valium, but that didn't stop the convulsing. Dad made the decision to have her euthanized. Dad told me at work, and we both left early so we could bury our baby kitty in the back yard next to Buttons and all the mice and hamsters and guinea pigs and parakeets. I did not want dad to have to do that alone, and I've never had a chance to bury any of the beloved cats who came before her. I wasn't going to miss it.

Afterwards, over dinner, as mom was looking over the bill from the hospital, I was half-expecting her to say something about being free of the burden of a diabetic cat. Mom is good at downplaying when she wants to be, and I really felt that she thought Callie was sometimes a pain to deal with. It wasn't always that way, of course, just after Callie got sick and started using the carpet as her litter box. Looking at that bill, about half the cost of Miss Luna's recent care, she wistfully said "at least we tried." At least we tried. If they had waited to bring her to a doctor in the morning, she would have died in the night, and we all would have felt guilty, like we didn't do enough to save her. I was wrong about how mom felt.

In a way, we got two more years with Callie than we would have had. And somehow, we knew that one day the diabetes would be the end of her. Even so, she outlived every cat I had before her. I think she knows that she takes my love with her.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about Callie...seems it was a bad year for cats. She is the third one to pass in the last couple of months that I know of. It sounds like Callie had a wonderful cat life overall, and brought you much love and joy. Blessings to you, and sweet little Callie! Laurel

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful friend, and I know she was blessed to be a part of your family. My thoughts are with you.


Cattrix said...

I'm so sorry, there are cats that touch our lives in such a way...

Mine was named Bootsy, she passed of breast cancer that was mis diagnosed.

Blessings to you and your family for your love and caring for Callie.