Precious Is So Precious!

Mrs. Rattitude still says that about our little girl. Precious left us February 4, 2007.

We brought her home, with her sister on an August day in 2000. I had stopped to pick up supplies for our other cats, Shades, Sony, Boo, and Roo on my way home from work. I usually stopped at this particular pet store on my way home from work about once a week. I had been shopping there for maybe a couple of years. The store was a franchise, small like other ones in the chain and basically only carried supplies, such as food and toys and other such items you would get for your pet’s needs and wants. This particular day, like so many times before, I just wandered to the back of the store, picked up a couple of bags of litter and carried them to the front counter.

“Do you want a kitten with that litter?”

I just looked dumb-founded at the cashier. She was a nice girl and as fate would have it she went to the same high school I did, only several years later. She repeated the question with a mischievous grin and I again wasn’t really putting one and one together. It had been a long day and I was just focused on getting home. She pointed over my shoulder and I turned around.

Stacked on top of a pile of boxes was a large dog kennel cage. Inside was a new litter of kittens, I think there were six or eight of the little fuzz balls playing in the bedding. They were all adorable, but we already had four cats at home. I turned back around and with a sad smile said not right now, paid for my litter and carried it out to the car. I sat in the car for a few minutes, then called Mrs. Rattitude on my mobile phone and told her about the kittens.

I went back inside and described each of the kittens. There was one tabby that was dark brown and grey striped with a white underside, Mrs. Rattitude liked that one … I liked the platinum grey and white one. Simple solution, I asked for both. The cashier found a box and put lots of air holes in it. We gathered up the two kittens and put them in the box. I raced home with our new little girls. Our first female cats, as our others were all male. The girls were very young, only six weeks old and although the pet store clerk said they were from another long time customer we decided it best to make an immediate appointment with our vet to have them checked out.

Mrs. Rattitude named the girls. The grey and white kitten earned her name first. She just simply would not stop nosing around the fireplace. Being the summer-time it was relatively safe, but all the same she found what little bit of ash was still there. She soon became known as Cinder, partly because of playing with the ashes, and partly short for Cinderella … I personally like the fireplace and ashes reason. Precious was another matter. Mrs. Rattitude just could not decide. She kept going on how the little tabby kitten was so precious, she just had to have the perfect name. I then suggested Precious. “Precious is so precious” just rolled right off the tongue of Mrs. Rattitude, and the name stuck.

The following week we were at the vet. The girls passed with a clean bill of health, except for ear mites. The tabby cat was the worst of the two. The vet gave us some ear drops and showed us how to administer them. We needed to treat all of the cats, just in case. About a week later everything appeared to have cleared up. After much discussion at home, we made the decision to de-claw and spay the girls. This was a relatively uneventful and standard procedure.

Precious, as with our other cats, is for the most part indoor only. We have taken them outside. If we do, they are strictly kept on halters and leads. They enjoy playing in grass and laying in the sunshine. One day Precious seemed a little off after being outside. We took her to the vet a few days later; she had developed some sort of infection. The vet believed it was likely something in the grass she had gotten into. The other cats were fine. Some antibiotics and time and Precious was back to her normal self.

Since then we have moved to a new unit in the complex we lived at, about three years ago. This new unit did not have direct access to the outdoors like our previous apartment did, but there was still lots of room for everyone. We just didn’t need as much room for human occupants as our daughter had moved out. The cats haven’t been outside since, except to go for their check-ups.

I guess it all started November 9, 2005. Precious just did not seem quite right. She wasn’t herself. She wasn’t playing. She was just laying around. She was sleeping a lot more than usual. She didn’t seem to have much of an appetite. Precious was never a really big cat but she did tip the scales above the fifteen pound mark, and hardly ever missed a morning feeding or an evening feeding. We had been trying a new vet recently. She had some experience with rats which is not very common. Precious stayed overnight at this clinic and I returned the following day to speak with the vet and get a status report. The vet started to paint a grim picture and referred us to a nearby university. This university trains most all the veterinarians in the area and is regarded as a leading expert on animal care; they also have an emergency after-hours hospital capable of handling all scenarios. I waited for Mrs. Rattitude to finish work and we bundled our little girl up and headed out on a one-and-a-half hour road trip. The clinic at the university was expecting us. We were ushered in and given forms to fill out. We waited nearly an hour for the “student” to take us back and start the basic work up and examination of Precious.

Another hour passed, and we were no further along with a treatment plan or a prognosis, or anything else. Finally someone, an actual vet maybe, came to speak to us with the student. They had decided that Precious should be admitted to their hospital and we should give them a $2000.00 dollars deposit against potential fees and expenses. Our hearts and jaws dropped at that number. We would do most anything for our “babies” and even though we are not financially well off we can usually manage to “find” the monies needed to pay our vet bills. Sometimes it can take a day or two to figure out the budget and make arrangements for money transfers as needed, but we manage. The university would have nothing to do with a payment plan, they wouldn’t accept a debit bank card, they wanted a major credit card ONLY for this deposit. We just didn’t have that amount of credit to offer at that particular instance. We told them that, they just looked at us with blank stares.

It was close to 3:00 AM in the morning and I’d had all I could take. We bundled Precious up, again; I told them to send us a bill; we walked out the door; walked down the hall through another set of doors; walked through the lobby; and, then we walked out the front door to our car. We were beside ourselves not knowing what to do. We drove back in a numbed silence.

Mrs. Rattitude called our old vet around the corner in the morning. They asked us to bring Precious in as soon as possible. We had Precious into the vet that afternoon and he started working his “magic”. The clinic started with blood work and found Precious was extremely anemic. Precious was also very weak, and we were told she might not survive the night, but we couldn’t give up on her.

Our vet gave us a treatment plan idea, asked for a reasonable deposit of $500.00 and told us that it would still be a very guarded prognosis. They started with fluids and inject-able steroids. That was not working fast enough. The following day our vet then suggested a blood transfusion saying it was her best hope for recovery. The transfusion got Precious out of the woods but she still needed more hospital care with additional fluids and steroids. We brought Precious home a week later with a strict regimen of steroids for us to keep her on. She had improved enough for us to take over her care with more tests to be done a week later, and additional frequent follow up visits and tests.

Precious slowly improved and her medication was gradually reduced; by September 2006 Precious had improved to the point where her periodic steroids could be stopped. We made the decision to stop giving her the medication after having a discussion with our vet. It was a very stressing event to hold her and force the liquid into her throat, she would simply spit out any pills we tried to give her. We also decided to have her blood tested at least every six months, just in case.

Precious seemed fine all until just recently. She was quite taken aback by Shades’ passing. He was her papa Shades. She seemed depressed. We kept an eye on her, but still thought it was depression. We were making plans to take all of our cats in for check ups with Precious being first on the list due to her previous condition. Little did we know it was back … with a vengeance!

Precious had reached a point where she was looking very tired and we started thinking there is more to this than depression. We made an appointment to take her to the vet on the weekend. I came home from work Friday at lunch to check on her and immediately called the vet to see if there was an opening that day. Precious barely had the strength to walk. There was a four o’clock appointment available so I made arrangements with work and took Precious in.

We found out Precious was more worse off than the first time this anemia struck her. I agreed to immediate hospitalization and an initial treatment plan of blood tests, urine tests, and inject-able steroids. The next day we went to discuss Precious with our vet and he explained to us that Precious was not a good candidate for another blood transfusion. All we could do was give her fluids and steroids and hold onto the glimmer of hope she would be able to pull through. The following day, Sunday, Precious passed at approximately 3:00 PM. She was not alone, the vet was there with her.

Precious was survived by her sister Cinder, her mama Sone (Sony), Boo and Roo. We all miss her greatly and although she lived a short life she is well loved. We know she will be waiting for us with her papa Shades at the Rainbow Bridge … and we know Precious is so precious.

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