6:45 PM (Central time): Well, we lost our kitty this morning. All of our kitties have been losing weight and vomiting lately, so we hadn't been too concerned (and our veterinarian wasn't either--these things happen with older cats). But for the last couple of weeks Hannah (18 years old) had a really sharp decline. We took her to the vet on Monday, and he ran lots of tests, suspecting hyperthyroidism. She was home with us Tuesday-Thursday, but then she got much worse on Thursday so we took her in for observation. He started her on medicine for her thyroid when the test results came back, but it didn't seem to help, and she wouldn't eat. He suggested we bring her home last night to see if being at home would perk her up. We made an appointment for her to return today if she was still having problems.
I could tell as soon as we took her out of the carrier at home that it was just a matter of time. She could hardly walk (just a few weak steps before she would collapse and rest), and her eyes were weird. She made it through the night--in fact, she went from our bedroom all the way across the house to the area where we keep the kitty litter and food, used the facilities, vomited (that's how we know she was in there), and walked all the way back to our bedroom at some point during the night.
I slept in this morning, and after I woke up, I just held her and petted her for well over an hour. We had a really sweet talk with Elisabeth, who was concerned that Hannah didn't know about God and wouldn't go to heaven and Elisabeth would never see her again. Randall talked to her for a while and she seemed reassured.
At some point, Hannah started sort of panting, and I thought for sure death would come in moments--but it didn't. I took a shower and got ready to take her to the vet for her appointment (and was mentally preparing myself for what I knew we would have to do). She was still the same when I got out of the shower, so I put her in the carrier (no easy feat since her limbs were already kind of stiff), loaded her up in the car, and took off. When I got to the stop sign to turn on to the highway (five blocks from our house), I checked and she had stopped breathing. We called the vet, and they said to go ahead and bring her in so we could discuss our options.
The vet was wonderful and spent a lot of time with me talking about what had happened and saying really comforting things. He laid out our options, and I chose to have her cremated--it costs a little more than burial at the pet cemetery in Clovis, but I'd rather not bury her in a place I know we'll be leaving at some point (although hopefully not any time soon). Her body will be picked up from the vet on Thursday and her ashes returned the following Thursday.
It's been a sad day, and I'm physically and emotionally exhausted, but I'm relieved that her pain and suffering has ended, and I'm glad the vet was so supportive.
I am really sorry we haven't posted updates more frequently. We're all doing fine--other than some minor illnesses. Sophie goes in for her monthly checkup and blood test tomorrow. Thanks to those of you who continue to visit and keep up with us. We'll try to reward you by posting a little more often....