The summer of 2012 brought us bad news. At first we did not know what to think when we noticed that Abbey was not as fat as she used to be. We were a little concerned but when someone is obese, losing weight is usually a good thing. In hindsight, we should have brought her to the vet right away, but our thinking was that endless tests for a problem that may not exist can be very expensive.
We kept an eye on her and the weight gradually came off but she did not act sick. Instead, she seemed to be more active, even jumping up on the counters, something usually reserved for Chris. She also had a great appetite. Nothing we would associate with an illness, except for the weight loss.
Because of her energy levels and apparent happiness, we waited too long. She passed normal weight to slightly underweight when we finally brought her to the vet, by that time, the vet said she had liver failure.
We could have put her to sleep then, but I did not see one once of suffering in her. I decided I was going to give her a little more attention than normal to make her final time on earth a little more pleasant.
I was also not 100 percent convinced that her condition was irreversible. Even though we always had fed them good quality food, I started buying the healthiest food I could find. I was mixing raw food with canned food, which is the healthiest option, but I stopped doing that because none of the cats liked it much and would usually leave half the plate uneaten. I wanted to make sure Abbey was eating enough. I also bought some milk thistle and added it to her food but even that was difficult because if I put more than a very small amount in her food she wouldn’t eat it.
Rose and I decided to keep the bedroom door open so Abbey could sleep next to me. That meant all the trouble we went through trying to keep Chris out became null and void. Chris now had freedom to wake us up at all hours of the night, and he did.
Abbey continued to lose weight and Rose thought I was being selfish because I was not ready to have her put to sleep, but she continued to eat and behave like a normal happy cat. I just couldn’t justify putting her out of her misery when she did not seem to be miserable.
We went on a cruise in September and had someone watch the cats while we were gone. We also had a friend come in every day to check on Abbey. She had the unpleasant job of taking her to the vet if it was her time to go.
When we got back, Abbey looked even worse. We decided to take her in that day, even though she still did not act sick. It occurred to both of us that she was eating because she was hungry and she was hungry because her body was not getting nutrients from the food.
We put her in the cat carrier and made the long drive to the vet. It was long because we brought her to the vet that Rose’s sister, Felice, works at.
She cried for half the trip and I felt very guilty because it seemed like she was asking us to go back home. I opened the door and started petting her until she was crying and purring at the same time. I then felt even more guilty.
After we got to the vet we were ushered into an exam room where the vet looked at her and confirmed it was time. We said our goodbyes and Felice took her in the back. We did not want to be there for that part but Felice said she would stay with her, which made us feel better. Not exactly the best end to our vacation.