The Three Amigos
Smokey, Buff Ruff & Boots
Sorry I have been AWOL for awhile. One of our older cats, Smokey, developed symptoms a few months ago when one of our foster kittens, Blackberry, was diagnosed with calici virus. Because it is a virus, pretty much all you can do is manage the symptoms. Blackberry recovered very quickly but Smokey developed anorexia, which is a common side effect because one of the symptoms of calici virus is mouth sores. By the time Smokey finally decided to start eating again he had lost quite a bit of weight and muscle tone. For weeks I was enticing him with every soft food I could think of: meat baby food, canned cat food, yogurt, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, canned salmon, canned chicken, canned white albacore tuna (less mercury than most), etc. I put fresh food out for him every couple of hours all day long and he was finally eagerly eating every time I put food out for him. I had to stand there to be sure he ate it and not the other cats and the dogs. But I believe Smokey's liver was already damaged and starting to fail. He seemed to be gaining weight. He is a former feral cat that doesn't allow you to pick him up or put two hands on him so I wasn't able to get him onto the scale to weigh him but just looking at him and putting hands on him when I could, I felt that he was gaining weight, albeit slowly.
We debated euthanizing Smokey but he had such a strong will to live that I couldn't bring myself to do it. I figured if the time came where he told us he was no longer willing to fight, we would help him cross over.
Last Thursday Smokey did not meet me in the kitchen eagerly awaiting his breakfast. I found him curled up in a patch of sunlight near the wood stove. He showed no interest in food all day long. He seemed to be a bit constipated and had what we call "poodle butt" - where they get poop crusted on their bum. He would not allow me to gently wipe him clean. When I tried to help him by pressing paper towels soaked in warm water on his bum, he hissed, yowled, bit and scratched me. Finally Thursday evening we put him in the kitchen sink and hubby held him with leather gloves on while I gently sprayed his bum with warm water until he was completely clean. I put Smokey in the bathroom on a kennel heater with a soft fluffy towel, fresh litter box, fresh water and a small plate of canned cat food. He licked at the cat food and curled up on the kennel heater. When I went in Friday morning to check on him, he had just passed away. His body could no longer keep up with his incredibly strong spirit.
We buried him Friday afternoon on a south facing slope in the adult male llamas' pasture, facing south towards the lake. RIP Smokey.
Because Smokey was a feral cat, I know that the 10.5 years he spent with us as an indoor cat were far better than he would have had as a feral cat, especially as an outdoor cat. And I know he lived much longer than most ferals ever do. I'm just glad we were able to provide him with a loving, supportive home as long as we did.
Here is Smokey snuggling with Blackberry and Blueberry last September