Sunday, August 20, 2006

Some good news for once!

Chris went back to the doctor last Friday for another checkup on his hands. The doctor was really pleased with the progress Chris has made, and gave him a clean bill of health! He can do whatever activities he wants as he feels comfortable. No more physical therapy. He has all sorts of props and things to do exercises with at home, which he does recommend that he continue to do on his own. Chris can expect being arthritic years down the road, but the exercises can help head that off. The doctor said that Chris didn't need to come see him any more unless he has problems. I thought he would have to go every month for a year, but he has healed so well, I guess not. His left hand is 100% healed. His right hand is 80%, which the doctor was pleased with. His physical therapist says that over the course of the next several months, that should get better. We are so glad that this is officially over. It has been since the beginning of April! Good news...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This is the paw print that the vet made for us as a keepsake.

Spending an afternoon relaxing in the grass a few days before she died.

In Very Loving Memory...

This morning, we took Rosie to the vet to put her to sleep. We were able to see pretty quickly that the second round of medications wasn’t working, and her quality of life was not improving. I finally made the call to make an appointment earlier this week. Last night I got home from work as soon as I could to spend some time with her, and I slept on the floor with her and we snuggled. Chris and I both took the day off work today so we could do it together this morning. My mom came along too. We put her in her carrier, and took her down to the vet’s. The whole thing was really a peaceful experience. We knew we were doing the right thing, and the vet completely agreed. They had a special room set up for just this sort of thing. They had nice chairs and a rocking chair, and a blanket to wrap her in. The vet decided that putting an IV, and administering the euthanasia through the IV would be rough on her. The easiest and most gentle way would be to inject the euthanasia directly into her stomach, so that’s what we did. Once that was in her, we wrapped her in the blanket, and I rocked and held her until she slipped away. I remember thinking when the vet handed her to me after she was given the shot, “Wow, this is really it. No turning back now. Look at her…she really is dying.” She didn’t fight or struggle like she normally would have when she is at the vet – further confirmation that we were doing the right thing. Once it started working, it was like she slowly fell asleep. My mom kept cycling out tissues to us as I held her. Chris sat close so he could pet on her occasionally. It was really quiet in there as we all just watched her to see how it would happen. The whole thing took 15-20 minutes or so. They let us stay with her as long as we wanted. Once we had decided we were ready, we handed her to a nurse, who took her off and made an imprint of her paw in some clay for us to have. I think I am going to put it on my dresser. Funny thing…there is an imprint for every claw on that paw. Very typical of Rosie. She always loved to make full use of her claws. I feel relieved overall. I cried while I watched her go, but once she was gone, I felt relieved mostly for her sake. Having to watch her struggle since all this started has been horrible. It was healing for me to be there with her and hold her as she went. I just really wanted her to know down to her last breath how much she was loved, and I didn’t want her to do this alone. I feel blessed that she let me be there for her. As I already mentioned, she is usually very combative at the vet, but today she was just happy to be held and loved on.

Next step, is we are going to have her cremated, and I am going to get her ashes back. My mom is going to do a memorial service for her and I will spread her ashes at that point. I think I will put some under her favorite tree in the back yard. I will spread the rest up in Woodland Park. She did some really great hunting up there before we moved down to the Springs. I think we are also going to go get a memorial bird feeder for the back yard. We could never have one before, because it just would have been bait for Rosie. I know her little spirit would love the thought of her back yard filled with birds, so that seems like a good thing to do.

I know some of you have asked if you can do something. If you would like to make a donation in her honor you can do so to one of two places:

1) Rose Brooks Center – It was where I got her. For those that may not know, Rose Brooks Center is a shelter for battered women in Kansas City. I used to work there doing fundraising. One of the courageous women that came to the shelter came with her cats, one of whom and just given birth to kittens 6 days earlier (one of the kittens was Rosie). Rosie was named after the shelter, and I laugh now and think how typical that my little Rose ended up with the same tough spirit that many of the women there had. You can make a donation online at

2) We are big fans of the Humane Society as well. They do really amazing work. The national website that you can go to and make a donation is

Thanks so much for all of the good wishes and prayers. It is so hard to lose a pet. I know it will be tough in the coming weeks as we learn what it is like to live without her. We already experienced that “phantom feeling” when we took Maggie for a walk. Rosie loved to come along for walks as well, and I almost half expected her to pop out of a bush, or out from under a car like she used to do, and realized that that wouldn’t ever happen again. Ouch. Her spirit is surely here though, doing just that. I think I will grab Chris and go out for lunch, and then to shop for the bird feeder. Thanks for reading.

Relaxing on the porch in Florida. Isn't she beautiful?

Rosie snuggled on Chris when he got home from his second round of surgery. She LOVED that he recouperated on the couch becuase it meant she had a napping buddy!

Enjoying a wonderful afternoon nap...

Who Was She?

In the last few years, I have done a lot of genealogy work on my family tree. Especially for family members that I knew and loved, I think it is really important to tell future generations just who they were, rather than only show a picture. So, in that same vein, let me tell you about my Rosie-cat…

• She was born August 5, 2003 and died August 9, 2006. She had just lived to see her 3rd birthday.
• She was born in Kansas City, MO.
• I first met her when she was 6 days old. I was working for Rose Brooks Center, a shelter for battered women. One of the women had showed up at our shelter with her 2 cats, one of whom had just had 3 babies. We were so excited to have the mama cat and her babies, and loved to check out the kittens. I immediately fell in love with this cute little grey tabby baby (Rosie). Eventually, the woman decided that she had too much going on in her life to handle having pets, and so those of us that worked at the shelter adopted some of the cats. I took Rosie. She was maybe 3 or so months old!
• Rosie was named after the shelter (Rose Brooks Center)
• I always called her “My little wild and crazy lady.” My parents called her “Rosie the Riveter.” I always joked that Rosie would stalk the neighborhood taking out small neighborhood children in the night. She was such a tough cat, and wasn’t scared of anything!
• She was quite the hunter. She loved to catch mice, birds, lizards, large bugs, basically anything of a certain size that could put up a good fight. As soon as they stopped fighting back (usually meaning once they had died) they were mo fun any more and she would move on to find her next victim.
• She was an expert at finding the most unusual but still comfortable places to nap. This could range from anything as simple as sleeping on our bed, to sleeping in the laundry basket, or in the middle of Chris’s bike bag, or in the middle of a stack of tires, or cramming herslelf into a basket or container that already has lots of stuff in it (i.e. my sewing basket), etc. She took the most wonderful naps, and Chris always joked that that was when she would turn into a nice kitty…when she was comatose!
• She always had an agenda going, and didn’t like you messing with it. When she was outside, it was exploring to find something interesting, or hunting. Inside, it was to get fed, and find the perfect napping spot.
• Her schedule usually worked this way: She would stay out all night. She usually went out just before we did our last walk of the night with Maggie so she could come too. Then in the morning, she would come inside, and I feed her some wet food. Then she sleeps all day until about the time we get home from work. Then she moves back and forth between inside and outside until it is time for her night to begin.
• She and Maggie were the best of friends. They have been this way since day 1. They loved to play a game with each other. In the evenings when we took Maggs for her last walk of the night, Rosie would come too, but she would try keep herself hidden. When we would get around to the alley the leads to the back of our house, she would come running out at full speed from behind a bush or out from under a car. She would slap Maggs in the face if Maggie didn’t see her, and then take off running. We would let Maggie off her leash, and then it would be a race between the two of them to see who can get to the yard first. Rosie knew where all the hiding spots were so she could duck under something just before Maggie got to her. They did this almost every night.
• The two of them loved to play indoors as well. This usually happened whenever the weather was bad outside, so Rosie would stay in and therefore be bored. She will wait until Maggie is peacefully resting on the floor. Rosie would casually walk up to her. Then her ears go back, and she bounces sideways towards Maggie, and then will box Maggie in the face or neck until Maggie starts to fight back. I think it boosted her little ego that she could kick a dog’s butt.
• She would taunt the dogs in the neighborhood. We have dogs that live on either side of us. We were watching her one day, when she casually jumped up on the fence between our house and our next-door-neighbor’s house. She then without any sense of fear, she would jump lightly into the neighbors yard, and get just to where their dogs could see her. She would let them get just so close to her before she would bounce back up onto the fence and just give them this look that said “Ha! You ALMOST got me!!” She would keep that up for a while to make them crazy.
• She was a love when she wanted to be. She would come in and jump in my lap and just purr. She would knead on you and nap with you. She loved it when one of us was watching TV in the living room and laying on the couch. She would jump up and sleep in your lap. I used to give her hugs every morning, where I would just hold her like a baby and she would purr and purr.
• I think one of the happiest times in her life was when we went to Florida for a couple of months while we were between jobs. My parents have a house there that we stayed at. While we were there, Rosie learned 2 valuable skills: hunting and climbing trees. I felt like I hardly ever saw her because she was in hog heaven out there taking over the neighborhood! That area has TONS of lizards, and they were all around the outside of the house (I will say that when we left Florida, that was no longer the case), and the trees were ones that were easy to climb, and that opened up a whole new world for her. I remember one day I was doing laundry. The house sits on stilts in case of flooding. The laundry area is under the house at street level. Anyways, I was either just starting or finishing a load, when I saw Rosie walking up to me in her confident way. I said hello to her, and looked over. Rosie had a lizard in her mouth…she was holding him by his head, and he was still very much alive and his body was wiggling all over the place, trying to get loose! What was worse, was she was bringing him to me! I screamed, backed into the laundry room, and shut the door. It took a few minutes for her to give up and go away.
• She lived life very much to the fullest and completely on her own terms. I loved her independence, and how in her world it was all about her. She was a funny cat! The way she thought about things, and made decisions…I wouldn’t have had her any other way. She was very tough as a kitten getting used to her, but once she grew into an adult, she was the perfect cat. I had the perfect balance of pets between her and Maggie. Maggie is the mama’s girl who needs a lot of reassurance, and Rosie was the tough one who liked to think she didn’t need anyone (but in quiet moments, let me know she really did). It was fun to have that kind of dynamic. We loved her very much, and will never, never forget her.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tough Decisions Ahead…

We got some bad news yesterday. We had noticed that Rosie was starting to throw up what she was eating, so we knew it was time for another visit to the vet. We had a heart to heart with our vet and looked at the facts…Rosie is throwing up what she eats, she still can’t walk, and she has no control over her bodily functions. We are trying some new medicines to take care of the “bathroom problems.” We are going to give that a couple of days to see if we can make a difference there. If nothing changes with that problem, then we will probably have to put her down on Wednesday. If that gets better, we are going to give her until the end of the week to see if she can start walking again. If no change there, then we will have to put her down, probably Saturday. The prognosis isn’t good. The vet said that sometimes she will see changes in the second week, so she felt that we should at least give Rosie that chance. I am heartbroken. We have worked so hard, but at the end of the day, her quality of life as it stands right now is just not good. We are doing everything we can to keep her comfortable and as happy as she can be. She is not in any pain, just very frustrated because she has such a wild little spirit, and not being able to walk, let alone run and jump and climb like she always has her whole life is just so hard on her. Please pray for us all this week. I am nervous about going back to work and leaving her here by herself during the day. I have no choice…I had most of last week off. I think my mom is going to come and help. We will get through it. I will keep you posted.

Our friends Nate and Jenny got married yesterday. I did the cake of course. Here's the final product.

Jenny and Nate cut the cake.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Progress Report

Yesterday afternoon the weather was so nice and sunny, I decided to try taking Rosie outside. She can't run, jump or climb, so I didn't worry about her running off on me. She and Maggs and I just sat on the back patio and relaxed. I could tell it meant the world to her. She just had that content look in her eyes. She even started to clean herself a little, which I will be honest, is sorely needed! Since that went so well, today I was determined to get her back out there. This evening we spent about an hour sitting outside, and while we were out there, she crawled her way over to Maggie's outside water bowl, and hoisted herself up to take a nice long drink! This is the first time she has consumed anything that we didn't shove down her throat, so that was huge. Chris came home from work while we were out there. He and I talked about how she hasn't really eaten. I can tell that she is hungry becuase she will lick her food, but she just won't take a bite. Chris had a brilliant brain storm...when Maggie is sick and won't eat, we have to make her a "doggie milkshake" where we blend up her food with some warm water to make a paste. It ALWAYS works. So...we came up with a concoction that I call a "fish smoothie" made from a can of her wet food, mixed with a little veggie oil and some heavy whipping cream to make it smooth and creamy. She LOVED it and ate maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of it!!! Progress!! (Although, for the record, Chris almost tossed his cookies and vowed to NEVER use the blender again!) It is so hard to not get discouraged, when she won't eat or drink and can't hardly walk. Chris says we have no idea what she will be like once she starts to eat and drink again so not to lose hope. Now that we had this great hour with her outside, I hope we can keep this going and start to see some more progress. I can definately see how important it is to make sure she spends some time outside. It just makes her feel so good.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Today's Update

In true to Sarah fashion, I wrote way too much (down below). If you don’t feel like reading it all, that’s ok. Just please pray for my Rosie. Here’s the update for today…

We have her home again tonight. The vet gave us some wet food that she seemed to like. She took a few little bites which is a GREAT step in the right direction! As soon as she eats, like, really eats, she gets to stay home. The vet remarked that she looked better after spending last night at home. I slept on the floor next to her so in case she needed help in the middle of the night I would be there. She LOVED that. I plan to do it again tonight. We found a new favorite I think. Usually, when she is injured or is sick, I put some tissue paper in a box, and she will sleep happily in there for days at a time. This time, because she has difficulty walking, the box idea doesn’t work so well. So, we have modified the idea to a shopping bag with tissue. She was even playing with me a little bit while she was in there. I am so ready for us to get to the point that she doesn’t have to go to the vet any more so we can start working these extra things, mainly the IV, out of her body and see how she does.

A new favorite - a bag with tissue. Does it get any more comfortable than this?

Taking a break from crawling around. Her back legs just don't work. They just want to stick out straight.

Here she is before we went to bed last night. She was pretty tired. You can see her leg taped up where she has her IV. They bandaged her up so she wouldn't play with it.

My poor sick kitty...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chris and I have had a horrible day today. Rosie almost died. Usually, during the summers, Rosie spends all night outside, then she comes in first thing in the morning. I feed her some wet food, and then she finds some place comfortable inside and crashes out for the day. Very occasionally she won't come in first thing, either because she has caught something, or has some other temptation that keeps her outside. This morning she didn't come in, but I didn't worry since she has done that before. I heard her meow when I started opening the doors to let the cool morning air in, but didn't pay any attention figuring she would just come in on her own. About 1pm, I finally turned to Chris and said "I haven't seen Rosie today. Let's go look for her." We found her on the side of the house, and she was just laying there. She didn't get up or meow. I pet on her and she didn't move. She could look at me, but that was about it. I carefully picked her up, and checked her out. She was like a rag doll. No broken bones or bleeding, but she was just so out of it, and she was drooling. I knew right away she needed to see a vet ASAP. I knew that there's an emergency vet at Airport and Academy, so I carefully put Rosie in her carrier, and sat with her in the backseat while Chris drove. When we got to the vet's office, they took one look at her and immediately took her back to the vet, and ushered us into a separate room while they checked her out. I asked the vet tech if it looked like heat exhaustion to her, and she said no, that it looked like she had ingested something toxic. Shortly thereafter, they came in and asked if they could test her to see if she had eaten some anti-freeze. We immediately told them to do it. The test takes 45 minutes. FINALLY the doctor came in and said that it wasn't anti-freeze. They really thought that it looked like she had eaten SOMETHING bad, so they wanted to do more tests. Whatever it was, they knew for certain she would need to spend the night with oxygen and an IV hooked up to her so they let us say goodbye to her and sent us home. She was looking a little better...she was starting to hiss and spit, which is MUCH more like her at the vet which was a welcome sight. The vet just called, and told us that they finally found what it was...mouse poison. Apparently the standard mouse poison that people put out is palatable to dogs and cats in addition to mice. She has eaten a highly toxic dose of it. It also looks like there is possible low grade hemorrhaging in her lungs as well. It is treatable. They give high doses of vitamin K and will keep her on the IV and oxygen. The next 24 to 48 hours will be critical. In the morning, we will pick her up and take her to her regular vet, and they will continue on with the treatment and hopefully she will pull out of this. The question is, what do we do next? She is HORRIBLE to live with as an inside cat, but what if she does this again? I guess we will cross that bridge later. We don't know when she ate the poison, therefore how long it has been in her system, and if/how well the vitamin K treatment will work.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I got up early this morning to pick her up and take her to her regular vet. The emergency vet is only open when the regular vets are closed (nights and weekends) so in order for her to continue on with treatment today, she needed to go to our regular vet (and THANK GOD I researched that earlier in the summer and found a new vet that I love). She is getting feistier which is a good sign. You can look in her eyes and see that she "is there." She is pretty miserable. The issue now is that she is unable to stand on her own for more than about a second. She is just so wobbly. This is making the doctors think that there may be some neurological damage. Only time will tell. She has suffered some major trauma, so this could just take a while. They are going to continue on with the vitamin K treatment and keep her on the IV and call me this afternoon to let me know if she has made any progress. If she makes it through all of this, she will need to stay on a constant daily dose of vitamin K for a long time, and it may be helpful to adjust her diet because her kidneys have taken quite a beating trying to process the poison. But...if she can't get her strength back enough to get up, we may have to make a tough decision. Chris and I are going to make fliers to pass around the neighborhood. Almost everyone has pets, so in a non-accusing way, just try to let people know that mouse poison tastes good to dogs and cats in addition to mice, so please consider using other means to get rid of mice. We have to at least try. Rosie is who she is, and if we get her back and if she is ever the same old cat again, she HAS to be able to go outside. I am just scared because she now knows what mouse poison looks like and that it tastes good. Who's to say this won't happen again?

They think they might try to send her home tonight. Usually they like to wait to see that a cat starts eating a little again, but because this is Rosie we're talking about, I don't think she will let them feed her. The only way to see if she is doing better is if she is in her home environment. If she does poorly, then we will take her back to the vet tomorrow morning. Pray we don’t end up back at the emergency vet tonight! They are GOOD doctors, and they did exactly the right things for her and took such great care of her, but crap, are they expensive!

That Evening:
We brought Rosie home and I am really freaked out because she can’t walk very well. It is like she is half paralyzed in her back legs. What are we going to do? They said that there could be some neurological damage, and what if this is the result of it? Chris says I just need to hang out and see what happens. She won’t eat. If she doesn’t eat, she’ll have to go back to the vet tomorrow. Even her wet food doesn’t look good to her.

Later that evening:

I...LOVE...MARY!!! (A good friend of mine.)

Mary has been a real source of support through this. I called her yesterday while I waited for the vet to call with the test results (on a cell phone so I wouldn't miss the call). She went through something almost exactly similar with her cat Sage. A few years ago Sage had gotten into a box of rum-filled chocolates and had eaten a toxic dose when Mary found her. Sage spent a few days at the animal hospital, and after lots of TLC, she is a normal, healthy cat.

Anyways, tonight, Mary had called to check in, and had mentioned that she knew a fool proof way to get your cat to eat after they have been sick...sardines. I just sent Chris out to go get some. I told Mary about how Rosie looks to be half paralyzed and how scared I was, and she was like "wait a minute...Rosie has been on an IV for a couple of days right?" I said yes, and then she said "So, is she walking like her front half works, but her back half keeps slumping over on it's side?" Again, I said yes. She explained that Sage was the same way when coming off of the IV. EXACTLY the same. No idea why that happens, but she said to give it a few days and it should eventually go away. She also said that Rosie may not eat for a few days either, so not to be surprised by that. It took Sage 3 days. We are going to try the sardines and see how that works. She said to (even though it is really gross) dab your finger on it and stick it in front of Rosie's nose. If she licks it, then great. If not, dab it on her nose, so it will bug her and she will have no choice but to lick it off. Do that a few times until you can get her to eat. Keep you fingers crossed that that works. If it does, she doesn't have to go back to the vet.

She has been resting under Chris's desk. She just wants to feel hidden. She is so glad to be home though, and will crawl out to me every once in a while to be loved on. I think she really missed us.

Later that night:

I tried the sardines. and she definitely showed more interest in them than she has anything else. I rubbed the goo on her lips and she licked it off, and then ended up licking the fish for a minute or so before she gave up. A small step. After several hours at home, she hasn't eaten or drunk anything, so I guess she will go back to the vet tomorrow. Maybe that's for the best, although I am eager for her to not be acting so weird and it sounds like that won't happen until she gets the IV stuff out of her system. Anyhoo, Mary, thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try it again tomorrow...