Grief and other mixed emotions…

Sunday, family day. The day where families come together to celebrate, laugh, cry and arm themselves for the week ahead. Sunday was supposed to be a day for deeper discoveries of the dynamics that is my family, in particular my husband. Unfortunately for one our family has become one smaller. It has been one year 6 days since we laid our Sweet Herbert to rest and yes today we had to add one more. He was our newest member who we loved having around who we will deeply miss so out of respect for the life lost I would like to take today to talk about him. His name was Pugsley and today we helped him over the rainbow bridge…today was the day we helped him find his way back home.
If it is necessary I can give you the exact date but Pugsley came to us about a month ago searching for a place to live out the last of his days (who knew how fast those days would come). He was leaving in a house, well to be exact a room where he never got to leave. When his owners decided to relocate to BC they left their son and cat behind. When the son moved in with his friend they soon discovered the dogs had no desire to let Pugsley into his pack so they would be extra rough and chase him around. Pugsley stayed in a bedroom where he was fed, loved and taken care. He loved to eat and it was reflected by his Garfield like stature. Not being able to leave the room he began to withdraw and that is when they began to look for a different living arrangment for him.
I love animals so much and it was through my volunteering at a local shelter that Pugsley’s parents found me. They asked me if I would be willing to bring Pugsley into my family. I told her that if my husband agreed then we could definetly add him into the mix. We were at 9 cats so what’s another one right. My husband fell instantly in love with Pugsley. Their bromance bloomed that very day. It wasn’t unusual for me to find the both of them spooning (Pugsley always loved to be the little spoon). To be apart of him coming out of his shell was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. He warmed up to our dog and loved looking out our big bay living room window.
When we first got him he used to look longingly at our kitchen greenhouse window. We had a fountain set up there and all the cats loved to drink from it. There was one day I watched Pugsley try and jump on the counter to get to the window and he had winded himself. He was to overweight to do the jump. You know in a few short weeks he had lost enough weight to get up there. I remember walking into the kitchen and watching him saunter away from the fountain. He was proud and so was I. He was doing really good. It was great heaving him out and being an active member of our family. Everything was going great.
On April 30th it had been exactly one year since Herbert passed. He inspired me to do a lot of great things. I started my non profite The Praire Passion for Pets Foundation (check out the Unofficial Passion for Pets on Facebook you can see everything I have done so far on there). I even had my first bake sale on May 4th. Life was good. I was going to help sick animals and I was going to make a difference!
So why on May 5th am I once again watching an animal I love suffer from a condition that he could no longer fight? The Universe likes to remind us that there is alot of stake if we take our mind away from the original goal. I am not saying that I have but at times we need to be reminded to stay humble. So instead of celebrating a weekend of hardwork, I will be reminiscing on a life lost.
One day Pugsley just stopped being around. He had taken refuge downstairs. At the time he was so new to us that we were still trying to get to know him. He kept a watchful eye to make sure that he was being accepted and not being bullied. None of our cats seem to mind him so we just kept an eye one. He was still eating, drinking and using the litter. Chalk this up to just getting to know him.
I can’t tell you the day but I remember him being curled up beside the upstairs toilet. I thought maybe he was trying to get to know me. In my head I also thought that he was staying downstairs because he knew I was jealous of the attention my husband was giving him. He was right I was lol Seeing how ridiculous that was I started to include him alot more. Bringing him to bed, snuggles and pats throughout the day to let him know he was loved. It seemed to work! He was always upstairs now. Moving from my bathroom to my husbands and then to the closet. One day I had noticed a bright yellow spot on my husbands towel. No big deal I thought he was a big guy so maybe it was just a drip.
One day when he was laying in the tub I looked deep into his eyes. You know when you look into somebody’s eye and you can see that sparkle. That sparkle is life and when it goes missing and in its place nothing but a lifeless dull reflection stares back at you…it’s time.
The panic that set in when I knew that we were running out of time to save his life we had no choice but to bring him to the Vet. Getting in contact with his original owners (the ones that he had had since he was a kitten) was the right thing to do when faced with his sharp decline. Pugsley this aternoon was laid to rest in the loving arms of his Dad and his family that he had had for the first 10 years of his life. My husband said the worst feeling in the world is packing up an animal that you know is not coming home. My husband has had to do that twice now in under 401 in days. I ask myself if I can handle all this heart ache on a non stop basis. Being involved with animals you just have to accept this fate. Not all of us can withstand having your heart broken over and over again. And I can totally relate. I know that if I can’t find the strength then these animals may suffer. I owe it to them and every animal that has ever hurt to be their bridge if they need it. I will also always provide a warm loving home to all the furbabies for as long as I can because we all deserve a shot.
Looking back I think I can see the moment that he lost his zest for life. He went from this beautiful, cuddly, happy guy to this lifeless shell. Still not wanting to fully believe that he had lost his will I checked on him every 1 or 2. I thought maybe it was depression or anxiety or a mixture of both. He was just abandon by his family maybe the reality set in that they were never coming back. Was this a cat with a broken heart? Give him extra love. We tried, we watched, we catered. We became invested. When the yellow spots started appearing we tried to still push it out of your mind. We were walking on egg shells waiting for the sign. When it came it was a slap in the face. A hard shake to reality to get your head out of the clouds. This isn’t a fairy tale this is reality and like in most realities hearts get broken. My husband found him covered in his own urine. It was go time! No more procrastinating time to get him to the vet. The vet said he suffered from yellow cat. His livers had shut down. The disease is caused when, usually an obese cat stops eating for a few days. So I googled it and look at what had to say about it:
Causes of fatty liver disease in cats

So, why do cats develop hepatic lipidosis? Unfortunately, as an emergency critical care specialist, the main reasons why I see it in the ER include the following:

Introduction of a new diet without appropriate slow weaning or acclimatization. You should never force your cat to go “cold turkey” and change your cat’s diet acutely. As we all know cats don’t tolerate sudden change well, and diet changes should always be transitioned slowly over several days to weeks. [Editor’s note: Always speak to your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet]
Introduction of a new pet (e.g., dogs or cats) which causes environmental stress and may result in your cat’s sudden loss of appetite
Introduction of two-legged newborns (i.e., human babies) causing environmental stress
Stressful situations (e.g., visiting guests who live in your house for a few days, scaring your cat away)

Looks like moving into my house is ultimately what cause this. I had no idea that this even existed so I sure hope that others are made aware as well. All of these points worked against Pugs: new food, new pets, my 18 month old and lastly a stressful new place.

And the signs to watch out for off of the same website:
Signs of hepatic lipidosis can be really subtle, so it’s important to watch for clinical signs of the following:

Decreased appetite or complete inappetance (i.e., anorexia)
Hiding in unusual places (e.g., closet)
Weakness or lethargy
Icterus/jaundice (a yellow tinged color to the gums or skin, best seen on the ears and eyes)
Drooling (often a sign of nausea)
Small fecal clumps in the litter box (due to lack of eating)
Weight loss
Muscle wasting
A weakened neck (the head hangs down more than usual with a chin tuck)
When untreated or in severe cases — signs of liver failure can include the following:

Black tarry stool
Bruising (abnormal clotting)
Coma (from the liver poisons building up in the body)
Abnormal behavior progressing to seizures

The awful reality is that this could have been prevented. I am now more aware and I am so sorry that his life had amounted to all this. If only I had known what to look for I would have tried to find him a better place. Poor Puglsey after knowing how great of a guy he was I know that he truly wanted to stay with his people and the said reality is he now gets to be. RIP Sweet Puglsey you will be missed.

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