Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Goodbye to a most magnificent cat

It has been an exhausting 48 hours, and week. The Magnificent Maurice Mittens became out of sorts earlier in the week and I spent a couple days working intensively to keep liquids in him and help him. Because the vet I like is still waiting to open her brick and mortar clinic, I finally opted to take him into the emergency vet clinic which is only open nights and weekends. We went in Friday night in pouring rain and discussed all the possible issues that were making him listless, and off food and water. An obvious suspect is thyroid and kidney issues in an older cat, but there were other things that made me feel there were multiple issues going on. I had felt really upset last night when we got home, and missed the relationships I had built with my Oregon vets over years who I felt always understood my work, and knew the animal's interest was in my heart, but there are also limits to what measures can be taken, or should be taken, on case by case basis. Keeping an animal alive come hell or high water is not-in my opinion-something that is always the go-to goal. Their comfort is, of course, but also-sometimes elders let go, and deciphering that can be hard for the human in us sometimes. I didn't have to explain that with my old vets, and I never felt judged if I had to draw a line on what extent I felt we should go for a dying or sick animal-but it was a discussion with my vets and we made the answer together.

Blood work was done and we kept him in there overnight for 24 hour observation. The blood work really didn't show a definitive answer, so I picked him up at 6 am, since no animal can stay there after 7;00 am-it is strictly for emergency work-and I drove him down to a clinic I've heard good things about and had wanted to try out. If there was a silver lining in all this, it is that I now have a clinic I truly love and the doctor and techs were really wonderful.

I felt no pressure to make a 'right' or 'wrong' decision about Mitten's fate. The doctor took over an hour with me discussing options based on what we knew at that moment, and understanding this was an elder cat, and that I was the one who knew him best.

It was a had choice, but we decided we would do another round of blood work to rule out one more thing, and I would take him home and give him fluids, and we would go from there. But as the hour and then another hour wore on, he was showing more and more signs that there were multiple things going on-including neurological issues, like walking into walls and losing his motor functions. He deteriorated throughout the visit with the vet, and that prompted me to change my mind-I felt it was in his best interest to be put to sleep, we all did at that point.

He went in an instant.

I can't say enough good things about the vet, and like I said, I lost Mittens, but I gained a clinic I felt at home in, and respected in. I did not feel pressure to pull out every dollar and every trick in the book to save an animal that really just was clearly checking out. I admit, I cried this time. I was so exhausted from the last 48 hours-but it was also the unsettling feeling I didn't have a clinic [yet] that morning that would be able to help me. I got a group hug from the vet and the tech, and it was really a good experience.

The thing is, Mittens was a favorite of mine. I love them all, I really do, but Mittens seemed to be the one I had to gravitate to in the last months. While everyone is held on a daily basis, and cared for, Mittens loved attention. I look back on it and think, well, maybe that is the way it was meant to be-he got extra attention in the past few months because he or the universe knew he would be leaving soon.

Mittens was adopted twice at the shelter as a 12 year old, and returned twice. I don't know why. But I do know he was meant to come here. He had a place called home away from barking shelter dogs, and although he was well cared for there by staff, it wasn't the same as having a home.

When he arrived, I altered his name. He was more than just 'Mittens' to me.

He was magnificent.

He was The Magnificent Maurice Mittens.

UPDATE: Due to the love and generosity of followers, the entire vet bill has been collected. It takes a village! Any small donations go into directly feeding and maintaining the Misfits. All donations are tax deductible.