Thursday, September 06, 2007

Boris: 1993-2007

Boris.JPG, originally uploaded by mnemosyne_la.

Boris died almost three weeks ago, and I can't put off this post any longer. I've been in denial for most of that time, but posting it makes it real, which is why I can barely see my computer screen through the tears.

At first, we thought he just had another cold that he caught from my brother's cat, who we were catsitting for. And he probably did. The problem was, because of his kidney problems, he had no immunity left and his body just shut down.

A few days before he died, I had a very bad feeling about the way he was acting. He was by himself a lot more (which at first we thought was because a strange cat kept hissing at him in his own house) and he wasn't grooming himself or letting Keaton groom him. When I called the vet on Wednesday, they said I couldn't have an appointment until Monday, until I started crying. Then they agreed to put me on a waiting list for a faster appointment. They called the next day with a Saturday slot, and I took it.

When we got there, the vet was shocked at how bad he was. Not only had he dropped a large amount of weight (at least 4 pounds, a big deal for a 10-pound cat), he had developed what we most feared: the mouth sores that indicated that his kidneys had completely shut down. He was a fill-in vet, so he didn't know how long we'd been keeping him going -- I think he though we'd been neglecting him, at least until he read the chart and talked to some of the employees who'd been helping us through this.

I knew -- I knew -- that we were going to have to put him to sleep. I knew it on Friday. I knew it that morning. I didn't want to face it, but it was cruel to try and keep him alive when he could barely walk and couldn't eat. G. didn't realize -- he was in denial, too. But he knew when we put him on the exam table and Boris just lay there, too exhausted to keep going.

They did all of the paperwork beforehand, including the cremation request. I wish they hadn't had to shave his leg -- he always hated loud noises like that. After the shot, it took less than a minute for his heart to stop.

I had Boris for 14 years. I adopted him from the LA County animal shelter when he was a four-month-oid kitten. He was my pal and my companion through a lot of tough times, including some of the worst days of my depression.

I loved him, and he loved me. I wish he could have been saved.