Well, we knew that this day would come, but it came quicker than we expected. BikerDude and I took Patches to the vet this morning and had her put to sleep. A sucky way to start the new year, to be sure, but without a doubt the right thing to do.
The night before last, after we went to bed and were watching TV, she started wandering around the room and crying like she didn't know where she was. We took her into bed with us and she eventually settled down and started purring, enjoying all of the attention, but she still acted like she couldn't see, and she was very unsteady on her feet. She slept all day yesterday, but last night BikerDude found her in the basement. She had wandered into a tipped over (empty) trash can and couldn't figure out how to get out. He brought her upstairs and she spent the entire evening in our laps. At some point when I was holding her, she settled down like she was going to sleep, but I told BikerDude that I thought she had lost consciousness. She never really regained it.
We put her in a carrier last night just to keep the other cats from pestering her and to keep her from wandering around (although that didn't seem likely, it was a horrifying idea). This morning she was clearly unconscious, but still breathing. Barely. I had called the vet last night and told them we were bringing her in first thing when they opened at 8:00, so we just wrapped her in a towel and took her up there. The vet didn't arrive until 8:30, which they apologized for, but once he did it was quick and peaceful. He confirmed what we suspected: That the cancer had gotten to her brain. He said the symptoms were textbook.
Poor baby. She didn't deserve that. But she had a very good life right up until the end. We are going to miss her horribly, though.
This is the part about having pets that just SUCKS!
I'm glad we've got the other circus monkeys to come home to. Cuddling another warm, furry, purry body in these circumstances definitely helps.
BikerDude got Patches in California when she was just a kitten. A little girl outside of a Target had a box of kittens that she was giving away, and Patches was the smallest one with the brightest eyes and most inquisitive personality. She and BikerDude immediately bonded, and even though he had ostensibly gotten her for MonkeyChild, who was four at the time, they both say that it was quickly apparent that she had adopted HIM. Everyone else was second place, at best. They already had a big black male cat named Honey, and she proceeded to harass Honey to within an inch of his life.
She never got to be more than about six pounds. For the first three years, they couldn't get her spayed because she never weighed enough. They finally had to deliberately fatten her up to get her over the weight limit so that they could do the surgery. You'd never know it from looking at her, though. With her, it was never about size, it was all about attitude!
More than anything, she loved to be held. And she was determined. BikerDude used to mess with her by rolling over while she was laying on top of him. No matter how he rolled, she would log-roll with him and stay on top. Finally, she would get disgusted with him and give him a fussy little "Me-yowp!" that rather clearly translated into, "Knock that shit off!"
When BikerDude and I were planning our wedding, we moved his cats into my house a few months in advance so that (a) my two and his two could get used to each other and (b) we wouldn't have to deal with introducing cats at the same time that we were moving him and MonkeyChild in. The day we brought her in, she got out of the carrier, began to sniff around, and clearly decided, "This will do nicely." Despite the fact that one of my cats, Winston, was easily three times her size, she was in charge from the moment she came through the door. For the most part, Winston deferred to her, but occasionally he would challenge her authority and she would, not to put too fine a point on it, kick his ass. Finally, a trip to the vet to fix a scratched cornea (she never messed around in fights, but always went straight for the head shot) convinced him to maintain a respectful distance. I think she secretly kind of liked the big goofball, though-- I would occasionally catch her grooming him when she didn't know anyone was looking.
By the time Tweak and then the two current Bengal Boys came into the picture, she was older, grumpier and, we now know, sicker, and she didn't have a lot of tolerance for their foolishness. But she still ruled the roost and frequently beat the hell out of Tweak to make her Respect Her Authority. Tweak was younger, bigger and stronger, but Patches was still in charge! All six pounds of her. Occasionally, we would come home to evidence of a hellacious battle-- tufts of fur everywhere, looking like they had finished off a good sized rat. But we noticed that all of the scattered fur was always black and white, and Tweak was the one who kept showing up with gashes on her face, a split ear, scabs on the top of her head, etc. Patches never had a scratch on her. One time in particular I watched a quick skirmish on the back of the blue chair. It was loud and fast, but at the end, Tweak was huddled on the floor with her ears flattened and Patches was on the back of the chair. While I watched, Patches went, "Phoo!" and spit out a chunk of black fur that floated to the ground. Game, match, set.
We're going to miss you, Baby Girl.