BoyCat lost his battle with congestive heart failure early this morning.
He had an episode of respiratory distress brought on by my Pretty Princess Cat chasing him, and although I thought initially that he would get past it, he just couldn't. I held him in my arms while they gave him the euthanasia drug, and he slipped away.
I don't use my pets' real names here, at least the names that aren't pretty common, because anyone armed with Google and some words I'm likely to mention, i.e., pets' names, could link my fandom identity to my RL one, which is not something I want. Suffice it to say that BoyCat is named after one of the Norse gods. I fostered his mom and her litter, and as you tend to do when you're handed a bunch of cats/kittens you've never met and asked to come up quickly with names for them, I seized on a theme: the Norse pantheon. BoyCat was the largest kitten in his litter, so use your imagination as to which god I thought was appropriate to name him after.
Although BoyCat went up for adoption along with his littermates, his size proved to be an issue: At the adoption fair, I heard more than one passerby say, "Oh, what a....big kitten!" Which is code for "fat," even though he wasn't--he was just BIG. The vet who treated the fosters took one look at him and said, "That kitten's built like a fullback." (Interestingly, the first emergency vet who treated him back in November asked if he had any Maine Coon in him.) So with no one else inclined to appreciate his big-boned charms, what's a foster mom to do but adopt him herself?
BoyCat was full of personality, and really, it wasn't just me who thought so. His whole litter was exceptional in that regard: each one of them (three boys, two girls) incredibly spunky, smart, and a handful. One of the girls was adopted by a single mom with two kids, and when I followed up with her a few days after they took the kitten home, the mom told me the story of how just that morning, she'd put a plate of bagels on the kitchen table and turned around to see the kitten hop up on the table, snatch one of the bagels, and drag it away. Mind you, these were bagel-shop bagels and so were probably larger than the kitten.
He was the smartest cat I've ever owned. He had a ritual of jumping into my arms (sometimes vertically from the ground) after my shower so that he could lick my wet hair (weird habit but endearing); after one painful incident, he learned that he had to wait to jump until I had my bathrobe on and never again jumped until it was permitted. He never forgot where he lost his toys; he would stare under the refrigerator or closet door or wherever until I fished his toy out (and then he'd promptly bat it back under there again).
He slept on the bed with me almost every night. He would knead the pillow, gradually start to purr, and then lay down next to the pillow purring at full volume. It was an awesome sound to fall asleep to. A couple of nights ago, he wrapped himself around my head and purred away, something he hadn't done for a long time. Maybe he knew his time was running out.
Congestive heart failure causes fluid to build up in the lungs, causing respiratory distress. The vets prescribed lasix to remove the fluid and a couple of drugs to support his heart function, but they warned that the lasix would eventually stress his kidneys to the point of damage. They also warned that each time he went into respiratory distress, it would be harder for him to recover. Although he checked out pretty well in December after his second incident of respiratory distress, his breathing had gotten more strained over the past couple of weeks. The vet was afraid that bringing him to the vet hospital for x-rays and treatment would tip him over the edge into respiratory distress, so she had me increase his lasix dosage a bit. It didn't help his breathing too much, unfortunately, and the run-in with Pretty Princess Cat last night was enough to send him over the edge. I'm trying not to blame her; something else would have stressed him out soon enough with his lungs and heart as compromised as they were.
His last day was a good day, except for the obvious. He "talked" to me quite a bit, always a sign he was feeling well, and he ate everything he was given and went looking for more. I played with him and his current favorite toy, which was, believe it or not, a ruler; I pushed it around the floor and he chased it. He purred at me whenever I checked on him, and he displayed his belly for me to rub, which I did. We had a good last day, and I'm trying to remember that instead of what happened later.
Here are a few photos of him, some in healthier times. He was not a true black-and-white cat, as you'll see in some of the photos; his black fur was actually white or grey at the base, so his coloring was technically black smoke and white, or so I was told by a vet tech.
Rolling around shamelessly on the bed that actually belongs to my sister's dogs:
Helping with the laundry:
Enjoying his (well, all the cats') many, many toys (the blue mouse under his chin was his absolute favorite, and he would leave it for me in various places--the bathroom sink, the bathmat, the bed--as a form of tribute, I think):
From last week, here he is in his little nest on my bed with his blue mouse:
Enjoy your well-deserved rest, buddy. I miss you like crazy.
- RIP BoyCat