Monday, August 25, 2008

It's too quiet without the Jabbersquawky.

Today is not about Machinima. It is not about WoW. It is about Jabbersquawky.


About 5 years ago, after buying our own house, we made our way to a local SPCA. We decided to get two cats, and as we made our way into the shelter, my choice on cat was immediately clear... but that's a different story, not the story of the Jabbersquawky.

There were lots of other cats there; ages, sizes, colors, but my husband knew exactly what kind of cat he wanted. Whipping out a fishing for cats toy, he proceeded to dance back and forth across the hallway, a trail of cats in tow. Slowly, some became disinterested and one cat stood out. A small, 8lb tabby who knew the way to my husband's heart was through attention. Finding her cage and looking at her information, she was listed as a 5 yr old cat who was brought in with a number of other animals from someone who had abandoned them. Her name was Sheebee and when we decided to take her, the shelter workers were surprised, but happy. So many people bee-line for the kittens, that finding homes for older cats can be difficult.

Taking her to the vet the next week, we took her to the vet allied with that particular SPCA. The other cat we adopted, a 2 yr old tuxedo needed to be spayed, and Sheebee needed a checkup and her shots. Examining Sheebee, the vet found a few things... first, she wasn't 5 years old, but was at least 10, and second, she had a rare version of the corona virus known to mutate to FIP. This vet, credentials on the wall, tells us that our cat will die in a few months from FIP and should be put down now before she kills the other cat we adopted. We were heartbroken, and took her home to decide what to do.

Once home we started reading up on this disease on our own, and the difference between carrying the virus linked to FIP and the actual disease... we decided to get a second opinion. We took Sheebee to a cat only clinic, where the vet, after examining her, was shocked to hear this other vet told us to put her to sleep. Sheebee had no signs at all of FIP, she simply tested positive for the virus that can carry it. She was, though, hyperthyroid and needed medication every day and thyroid tests twice a year. Sheebee never developed FIP or anything related to it.

After the initial "she'll kill your other cat!" scare, things settled into to normal in Sheebee's new household (for it very much was Sheebee's household.) She wasn't nearly as athletic as she pretended to be at the shelter. We often thought she sized us up, and said "this is my ticket out of hell" and we got good laughs out of that.

The Tale of the Jabbersquawky

I remember one time early when I yelled at her to get off the couch, she curled her head back and cringed as if expecting to be hit. We knew how she had been treated for the first 10 years of her life, and she was never yelled at to get off the couch again. I remember the first time I ever called her a good girl. It must have been something she knew from her previous home, and rarely got praised with, because she lit up immediately and purred so loud.

When we started raiding in WoW, Sheebee became an unofficial mascot for us. I'd be chatting on vent and she'd start squawking into the mic; we called it blessing the raid. A year ago, I made a video of the squawking, when Sheebee interrupted me while testing my microphone.

Four years passed, and the Sheebee, while increasingly less active as she grew older, was still the same very prideful cat she had always been. You know those cats that are very much about hiding their flaws, and never seeming anything but perfect and refined, that was our Sheebee.

This past year, the Jabbersquawky slowly lost a lot of her squawk. Her normally loud voice often coming out silent even when she tried to make them. Her eyesight deteriorated as well as her hearing, and she struggled with both. She stopped cleaning anything but her front legs and face. Her arthritis in her front and back legs made her struggle to walk sometimes, but still the old Sheebee pushed on. All through that, she never lost that dignity that was her pride.

She lost a lot of weight, eventually ending about 4.5 lbs. She was at the vet about a month or so ago, and I think the vet knew. She said to give her anything she wanted to eat that she would enjoy and to make her as comfortable as possible.

Only two months ago, there was a mouse in my house. Sheebee was the only cat in the house who was a real cat. With her arthritic body she stalked that thing all day, before pridefully laying her catch at my feet.

And then came the past couple weeks. She wouldn't quite make it to the litterbox, then would stare at the stairs back up as if she were looking at a mountain. Her lack of hygiene started to take it's toll, resulting in two very unhappy baths, for the both of us. The second one, she laid still after for 10 minutes, unable to get herself up after panicking about the water. It took her all night to be able to walk again.

After that, we didn't bathe her again, opting for wet paper towels multiple times a day to keep her clean. The past two days when she lost complete control of her bowel movements, we confined her to our bathroom where we could easily clean the tile, and where she could have her box closer without having to struggle up and down the stairs.

This morning, when my husband got up for work, she would pop her head up and he would pet her while getting ready. He left around 730am. When I awoke around 1030, I saw her sleeping so peacefully and I tiptoed around her so as not to wake her up. An hour later I went to check on her, only to find her in the same position, and I only realized then she wasn't sleeping at all.

My Nora knew, the tuxedo cat we got at the same time we adopted Sheebee. She cried for a half hour at my bedroom door last night, before I let her in. She mewed alot, which isn't abnormal, then jumped down wanting to be let out again. Nora has never wanted to leave the bedroom when she gets the opportunity to sleep with us. She wanted to tell me that Sheebee was dying.

Our Sheebee was with us for 5 years. She was at least 15 years old, maybe more, and I like to think you had a happy 5 years, Poofers. This past week was so hard on you. I would give anything not to have seen that look you gave me that said, "I dont' understand, why are you doing this to me?" when we bathed you and had to confine you to the bathroom. I would have given a year of my life just to have been there petting you when you passed... and another one for you to have never lost her dignity these past couple weeks and to have left this life the way you always were. Strong, proud, and squawking.

I love you Jabbersquawky. I miss you.


WrittenOnMyVeins said...

<3 for the Jabbersquawky.

Rostaak said...

<3 Sheebee.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your loss, Sel. I can tell you love him very much, I completely understand what you're going through. Much love to Jabbersquawky. <3 *hugs*