Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Memorial to Loki

I got home Monday evening to sad news; while I was driving home from L.A. and Dave was at work, Loki died. We're not sure why...she was lethargic after her vaccinations a week ago Saturday and that same day, the two little boy kittens went off to their new home. We figured the lethargy was a normal reaction to the stress of the vet visit, the vaccines, and losing two of her playmates. I'd seen it before with kittens and they normally pulled out of it in a few days, going back to their normal, destructive-as-only-kittens-can-be selves.

Loki, however, also had the remnants of a cold. So when she didn't bounce back by the weekend, we weren't particularly worried because even though she didn't seem too interested in playing, she was eating (a mixture of expensive baby food, kitten food and Pedialyte) and liked to wander around the house. The only worrisome thing to me was her occasional coughing and rapid breathing...but since I'd also seen that in cats with colds before (all seven of mine went down with kitty colds a few years back and it took them several weeks to recover) my alarms didn't go off. After all, her appetite was much better than my cats' had been when they had their colds.

Dave promised to keep a close watch on her over the weekend while I was gone. When I talked to him Saturday night, he said she still hadn't changed or improved, so I asked him to make an appointment at the vet's for her Monday afternoon. I'd take the quick route home and get her in for a check-up. The vet, however, was jam-packed. No appointments for two weeks. Which is crazy, in my opinion. Okay, I'd deal with it when I got back, take her into another vet. And when I talked to Dave again Sunday evening, he reported that Loki was poking around the house exploring and seemed to be feeling better. No worries. At least not too many.

So the last thing I expected when I walked up to the front door was to be told that she was dead. Dave had gotten home right before me and discovered our poor little girl stretched out on the office floor, cold and stiff. It looked as though she'd died in her sleep...but it broke my heart that she died alone. Maybe Raven was with her...cats have a sense for these things.

When another of my cats had to be put to sleep, Brian and I had the vet come to the house so she could die in comfortable and familiar surroundings. We pet Luna as the vet gave her the injection. Then Beezle, who had enjoyed Luna's mothering nature, jumped up on the bed and curled up around her as if to keep her warm on her way out. I hope that Raven was with Loki at the end.

I wrapped Loki in one of my shirts while Dave dug a grave in the backyard next to Tabitha, our old roommate's cat who died last year. We put a cairn of brick and shells on the grave, then toasted her with buffalo grass vodka, one sip each, the rest poured onto the cairn to send her off to Kitty Valhalla.

We think it was a congenital heart defect triggered by stress. I read up on feline symptoms in the Natural Cat and the only thing that matched up with the shallow, rapid breathing and coughing combined with a healthy appetite was heart problems. It's comforting to think that there's nothing that could have been done even if we'd taken her to the vet's last week...but both Dave and I are still wondering if we dropped the ball and cost Loki her life.

I'm trying not to beat myself up, but I'm pretty good at doing just that when an animal is involved. But I'm trying. We remind ourselves that if we hadn't taken her in, Loki would have died over a month ago in a cold, sterile environment. With us, she got warmth, love, and a chance to be a kitten for at least a few weeks.

That all being said...it just really hurts.

Raven is due to go to her home in a few days. Loki was going to go with her. That made the pain of giving them up a lot easier to think about. The family assures me that they'll get another kitten so Raven isn't on her own. But I know there'll be as many tears when Raven leaves as there was when we buried Loki. She likes to get on my lap, kiss my face, then climb up on my shoulder and drape like a mink stole.

Why do I do this foster mother thing again? Someone please remind me.

I was going to post a picture of Loki, but fucking Blogger isn't cooperating. So I'll put one up later.


  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger Abyss of Silence said…

    Aw damn, this bummed me.

    You're a good egg. That's why you do this foster parenting.

    I'm not strong enough to put myself through that. I nearly didn't get Paiwacket for fear of what it will do to me if something happens to him. The good always outweighs the bad but the bad can be SO BAD.

    Ok, I'm tearing up now.

  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    The bad sucks. But...like you said, the good does outweigh it. Or we wouldn't do it.

    I'm needing a bad movie/Buffy/Battlestar Galactica night!

  • At 9:08 PM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    So, so sorry...but what you said is really true. She had a lovely time with you for the weeks you had her - joy, affection, warmth and laps.

  • At 5:07 AM, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said…

    I'm so sorry, Z! That really sucks. :(

  • At 9:54 AM, Blogger Dave Fitzgerald said…

    Yeah, the only thing that makes it better for me is that she knew we loved her and she loved us right back. She spent her last few days curled up in the crook of my arm or in my lap while I worked on the book, and Raven was her constant companion. So I'm glad she had a sweet little kitten's life while she was here. I sure miss her.

  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Sniffle...and now Raven is just SOOO attached to us... WAHHH!!!!

  • At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please don't beat yourslves up anymore about it--she had a short, but thanks to you, a happy little life.

  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    The happy thing is that it looks like we're keeping Raven...

  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    I was going to place a bet on that possibility but couldn't get any takers :)

  • At 3:57 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Yes, well...now you'll get to meet her!

  • At 9:45 PM, Blogger markis said…

    oh, it's tough, it sucks, i sense loki had good fosters tho. has anyone talked to you about heartworms? symtpoms sound hauntingly familiar...

  • At 3:02 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Hi, Mark(is),

    I went to your blog and I SO hope you find your little girl! The pictures were so sweet and the only thing worse than having a cat die is having one go missing.

    I hadn't thought of heartworms...I'm gonna look up the symptoms, but anything you can tell me about them would be appreciated...


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