Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Goodbye, Sötis

Life can be long. Life can be short. Sötis got two months. Two months of play, fun and explorations of a world that was so new and so big to him. Is that not so painfully unfairly short?

Today we went with him to the vet. The verdict was a broken leg and spinal injury (possibly broken). Nothing to do but put him to sleep. Our sweet, sweet Sötis didn't even survive the summer.

We have no idea what happened. When my sis saw him he was fine, sleeping on her bed. Perhpas no more than an hour later I saw him and noticed a limp. It looked like a harmless limp at first, but the leg started to swell and suddenly he collapsed. He could no longer walk, but tried his best to move around using his front paws. My heart sank. At that moment I knew he was dying. Whenever a cat or dog lose the ability to use the hind legs for one reason or another it has always meant that. The last hours. Sometimes because they die themselves or because the only mercyful thing to do is to take that horrible decision. This happened late at night and it felt like nothing could be done until the morning. So we gave him a last night in bed. I fell as sleep asking every power in the universe for "miracle or mercy" -- a miracle recovery or at the very least a painless merciful death.

Woke up early, worried about what Sötis would be like. Very ill? Dead? He was stable. Not happy, but not lethargic or depressed or even in real pain. I gave him water and food and he was sweet as usual. Had an apetite, but he was also suffering from the injury. But seeing how his state hadn't turned to the worse, my hope lit up again. Maybe it was just fatigue that kept his hind legs from working, the swelling pressing on a nerve or something. Maybe he was just tired. Maybe it was just a broken bone that, though painful, is easy to fix. It's 2012. Surely medicine, even vet medicine, can do everything. He had apetite. That's good. The worst sign is a cat without apetite. A cat can starve itself to death if feeling ill or in severe pain. He ate, that's good. Isn't it? Right? Hope gone to hope lit -- to hope so utterly gone again when the vet said those words, gave a verdict that showed no other option but the one every pet owner dread to hear.

He didn't like the car ride -- I hate that part, torturing on the way to the vet. In this can torturing a cat at the very end of his life.

I held his paw while he died. He fell asleep forever and now there will be an eternity without him. Two months he lived. He will be did forever. He will never play with his brother. He will never sleep on my lap. He will never grow up to be a beautiful big cat. He will never chase a butterfly or stalk a bird. Death ends it all so abruptly. A short, short time of life. An eternity of death, of non-existense.

Last photos of Sötis.

Two things makes me feel sorry for myself and find his death especially cruel:

-- To be honest I wasn't happy when the kittens were born. We have so many already and it was an accident that there came more this year. We weren't going to keep them and in order to not get attached we didn't give them names. Sötis died without even a real name. Sötis just means Sweety, a term of endearment. But for different reasons we did keep them. And we did get attached to them. But the fact remains: during his first weeks I looked at him and wondered why he had to be born because he wasn't wanted. Cute, but not wanted in this home. Cute, but not looking very special like his long-haired brother or white-and-black cousin that were part of the 2012 litter. Nothing that would make me fight the rest of the family to keep him. Cruel fate has now taken him from me. I miss him so much.

-- We don't know if both injuries came at once or if his attempt to hop on three legs aggrevated the spinal injury. Perhaps if we could've rushed him to the vet at once when it happened (whenever it happened) he wouldn't have been paralysed and the injury treatable. What if we had rushed him in, ignoring the fact it was already night, pounded on the vet's door demanding she's see us right away, instead of losing hope. What if we would've seen the accident  and been able to fixate the spine to avoid further damage toit at the earliest possible stage. What if we could've prevented the accident. What if...

On the right, Snuttis with mommy Mimi. On the right Ullegull behind Sötis.

Two months also mean not an awful lot of photos. Two months mean he will be remembered as a sweet kitten, but without even knowing his full potential. Two months mean he died defenseless, with no one of the cats or humans he leaned against for help being able to safely carry him back to life. Two months are just too short. Life was just about to begin, he was just about to really discover the world he was born into. He was so innocent.

I've agreed to this sentiment before: "I don't know if heaven exists, but kitty heaven does. It must exist." Sötis deserves a kitty heaven. A paradise full of mice and milk and butterflies -- and lots of other kittens to play with.

The last sunset


  1. Dear Maneki, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your Sötis and that you lost him. RIP little Sötis. And yes, I'm sure that there is Kitty Heaven for all cats and kittens. All my best, Milka

  2. Oh, I am so, so sorry to learn of the loss of your kitten. I can tell from your post and the words from your heart that you loved him very much. I am sure he had a very happy life right up until his injury cut it too short.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

  4. I'm so sorry to read fhe sad news about your kitten. I'm not a vet, but as a physician I know that there was nothing to do to help your kitten. Don't blame yourself. It's easy to tell from your words that you loved him dearly. I guess your feeling of not having been so happy for him at the beginning was a feeling caused by the situation when you accidentally got so many cats, not the kitten himself.

    Your kitten had a short, but happy life. Unfortunately we are not always able to protect our felines from encountering risks and dangers. To be adventurous is a part of their life. Hugs to you.

  5. Thanks for your comments. It feels like everthing happened so fast. One second he was happy and active, the other second he was on the vet's table waiting for that awful injection. Just so unfair, so cruel.

    The fact that the front half was fine (more or less -- you can see in the pics that he wasn't feeling great after the injury) also made it so hard. It was just his bottom half that didn't work. For a moment I felt "ok, can't we just leave his behind and keep the rest, the unharmed, young and strong part of him all alive and well? Why let the hind legs and lower back kill all of him?" Afterwards, images from Animal Planet and those cats and dogs in special "wheelchairs" kept playing in front of my eyes and made me question the decision. Would it not in someway, somehow haven been possible to let him live? Handicapped and in constant need of attention and wheelchair, but perhaps still with a will to live and enjoy life. Another part of me jusified it: there's a difference between paralyzed and paralyzed. The simple cases and the complicated. Could he even control his own bladder anymore? Could he enjoy life confined to a bed or wheely contraption? Could he even move around freely the way we live with little floor space, staircases etc. With the other cats free to do what they want, go were they want when they want, would he not in one way or another suffer? Why question the vet?

    I still think about how the injury happened. We truly have no idea. Fell out the window (under my sister's window there's another slightly open window and it would probably be possible to injury yourself if slamming into it and then tumble down on the ground), but that would mean he had to get back indoors on his own. Jump up through a window several dm off the ground -- the kittens just recently got big enough to manage that jump -- then down on the floor via an old sofa, up a long staircase and into the bedroom. Would a kitten with a broken leg and spinal injury be able to do that? And wouldn't there be at least a minute trace of the fall under one of the three windows? Or did he fall down the stairs? Kittens have done that before, but never broken anything in the fall. Something heavy fell on him indoors? But we haven't really found anything that has been pushed down from the tables or shelves. And what would be so heavy it could cause such horrible injuries?

    We will never know how it happened, but oh how I wish it would've happened when we were there. When we could've had a chance to prevent it. When we could've picked him up saying "be careful there", put him down and he would've continued to play and run around. Not just that day but still today and many days to come. Leaving us thankfully never knowing just how bad it all could've ended if it'd happened when we weren't there.


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