Jan 12

Donovan

It’s taken me a while to get to the point where I can write this post.

We noticed shortly before Thanksgiving that Donovan, our youngest cat, was looking a little thin for him. I kept an eye on him for the next couple of weeks, and by the second week of December it was clear that he was indeed losing weight. I wasn’t sure how much because I couldn’t find the record of his last vet visit, but I remembered him being generally around 14 pounds. When I weighed him, he was down to around 10 1/2 pounds.

That alarmed me, especially when I realized that he wasn’t being his usual energetically squirrely self. We took him to the vet that Monday, December 12. When Dr. Globerman felt his abdomen, she immediately said she felt something there that she didn’t like. The x-ray she immediately took told the full tale — as I had feared as soon as she spoke, it was cancer, aggressive and fast-spreading. There had been absolutely NO sign of it four months earlier in August, when Donovan had gone to the vet because of an absessed bite wound on his shoulder.

Given how rapidly the cancer had progressed and how far it had spread, Dr. Globerman said that in her opinion, surgery would not buy a lot of time. She didn’t even suggest chemo. Since we all knew that Donovan was a very nervous and anxious cat in the best of times, and that he was a very hard cat to medicate, I made the difficult decision to not make his last weeks a nightmare of stressful treatments that were unlikely to delay the inevitable for long.

For the next two and a half weeks, we cosseted Donovan as much as he would let us during his decline. He had established his “home base” in my studio, so I set up a comfortable bed for him in his chosen spot under my worktable. ┬áHis food and water bowls were placed in there, right by his bed. He would still get up and come out for visits, and often in the evening would come snuggle in his usual spot on our bed for a while as I read or knitted.

Donovan had no appetite to speak of and in fact had trouble eating anything — he’d bite a piece of kibble and the pieces would fall out of his mouth. So I would fix him a bit of canned “junk food” like Fancy Feast or Friskies, well watered down into a soup. He could lap up a little of that at a time, but as the days wore on even that didn’t interest him. Finally, the only thing he would really even try to eat was the Friskies “Natural Sensations” treats — he wouldn’t even eat Greenies!

It broke my heart to watch him growing weaker and weaker, but I didn’t want to lose him before I had to. I knew he would let me know when it was time to go, and when I got home from dance class on the 29th, he did. He came out of his bed and quietly wailed to me when I came in the room.

The next day, Friday, December 30, we took him to Dr. Globerman’s and sent him on to Rainbow Bridge.

R.I.P. Donovan, March 2003 – December 30, 2011. You left me far too soon, sweet boy, and I terribly miss your snuggly, silly self. I’ll meet you at the Bridge when the time come — in the meantime you can cuddle & play with Iris, and Andrea’s Bellacoolah and Mincot and Piglet, and all the Good Mews kitties there.

 

1 comment

    • Joanne on January 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I would have done exactly the same, no question about it. I have seen animals be put through months of suffering just to delay the inevitable. If there is no ‘quality of life’ (i.e. unable to do what the ‘animal’ enjoys, the animal not eating, the animal suffering physically) then it is much kinder to make those last weeks, days or moments very special, until the time comes to tenderly and gently say goodbye.
    Donovan was very lucky to have such a loving Mommy, and I only wish all animal owners would be this selfless.

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