“I’m sorry,” the lady veterinarian said as she handed me the package that contained the remains of Katie, my 3-year-old black cat. On my way back home, I tried my best to refrain from crying. My cat is noticeably absent in the background as my aunt opened the gate for me. After all, Katie is in the basket I was carrying. Normally, I’d find her either staying near our door or walking toward me, meowing endlessly once I return home from work or school.
It happened last Sunday, April 29. My aunt woke me up to inform me that Katie’s blood is everywhere outside our house – in the garage, below the stairs leading to the terrace, and in the backyard. She also mistakenly told me that she is already dead. I went outside and saw red stains all over, as if someone’s been stabbed. Later, the husband of my cousin told me that our cat is in the backyard and is still alive. I went to see Katie and what I saw broke my heart.
I called her attention, and she promptly responded with a pained meow. You can sense from her voice how continuous bleeding has weakened her. She’s too weak to look straight at me, much less rub her body affectionally against my legs as she usually does. I kept on asking her: “Ano’ng nangyari sayo?” (“What happened to you?”), as if somehow she’d be able to answer me. I went back to my room, and for the first time that day, I cried.
Our initial hitch is that someone must have wounded Katie, and this is why she’s bleeding. Incidentally, a few weeks ago, I read an online article saying that dying cats usually go to places where they can’t be easily reached, even by their owners. Instinct dictates them to hide so that their enemies and predators will not be able to take advantage of their weakened state.
I decided to call a nearby veterinary clinic, and good thing there’s one just twenty minutes away from where I live. While I am thinking how to bring Katie to the vet, I suddenly heard her meowing as she walked from the backyard all the way to the garage. Since I’ve seen earlier how weak she is, I told myself that maybe, she is getting better. I also took it as a cue to bring her to the vet (I placed her in a basket). Thanks to a cab driver living near our house, I was able to do that.
On the way to the clinic, I realized how my mom must have felt every time she and my sister had to rush me to a hospital because of stomach pains. To her credit, Katie behaved well during the journey. I kept on telling her “malapit na” (we’re already near) whenever she appeared to be getting impatient.
When we arrived at the clinic, the veterinarian and her aides covered Katie’s mouth and put her on a collar for safety reasons. They cleaned the blood in her body, and they discovered that she does not have any wound. The blood came from her sex organ, and since Katie is pregnant (despite giving birth just last February), they concluded that she had a miscarriage. Worsening the situation is Katie’s inability to eject her stillborn litter out of her body. The vets gave her two shots of vitamins, but not without resistance from her.
The clinic does not have the facilities to accommodate sick animals overnight, which meant that I have to take her home on dextrose. However inconvenient that may seem, I am willing to do it, even if the doctors reminded me that her chances for survival is slim. The vets then prepared their prescription for my cat, and while they are putting her on dextrose, Katie began resisting violently. Then, the lead vet told me that my pet is already convoluting. Katie died moments after, with her green eyes open.
I burst into tears and had to go to the clinic’s washroom to cry some more. For the last time, I caressed her head for the last time and said “Mami-miss kita” (“I’ll miss you”). Since Katie died, the clinic waived the consultation fee and the payment for the dextrose pack. Because my visit to the clinic was a spur of the moment decision, I had little money with me. I went to an adjacent grocery store to withdraw, and I was actually crying on the way there.
Katie’s grandma and her mother used to be my pets, too. I saw her evolve from being a kitten to being a mother herself up close. As I mentioned earlier, coming home will never be the same again without her warm welcome. From the start, I know that my pet’s situation is precarious. I know she’ll most likely die, but seeing her helplessly moaning because of pain is totally unbearable for me. She may have died in the end, but at least, I know I did what I can to try to save her.
Not everyone can understand how painful it is to lose a pet. Many people have never experienced owning a pet, much less be really emotionally attached to it. As website http://www.pet-loss.net says, it is normal and natural to intensely grieve for a pet’s death. “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s silly, crazy, or overly sentimental to grieve,” the website adds. Over the years, Katie has been a constant part of my life, and this is why everything in our house reminds me of her, especially her favorite spots.
I enjoyed reading the poem “Rainbow,” which you can access here. I believe my cat is now in a better place. She has probably regained her good health. I hope by the time we meet again, she still knows me. Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita, baby cat.
Let me end this piece by saying my heartfelt thanks to the staffers of Ronan Veterinary Clinic in Commonwealth Avenue. I know they did their best to prolong my cat’s life. Being able to express my grief via Facebook also helped me come to terms with her death. I really appreciate fellow animal-loving friends who took the time to send me messages of condolences. Thank you so much.
PS: Regular followers of this blog know how passionate I am regarding the reproductive health debate in the country. I find it ironic that my cat actually died because of pregnancy complications.