Monday, October 31, 2005

Keisha: 1994-2005

We're not entirely sure when Keisha was born. We got her from the pet rescue lady in July, 1994. It was figured that she was between 4-6 months old then, so I just shared my February birthday with her. She was scruffy and skinny, and had apparently been abused. She was skittish and distrustful of men, especially. She warmed right up to me, though....and was tolerant of the kids. When we got her, Kaitlyn was 3 and the twins were just 3 months old. Keisha would let the kids do pretty much anything to her. We even have a picture of Jenny using her for a pillow, and another where she's curled up against Jenny's side. I think they were taken days after we got Keisha. When they were little, they basically got away with anything...but as they got older, they'd get hissed and batted at...but Keisha kept her claws sheathed unless someone had really pissed her off. LOL
Two weeks after we got her, she got hit by a car right in front of the house. We were all outside enjoying the evening. Keisha wandered out into the middle of the street, and I was going to get her when this car came blaring down the road. I had to flippin near jump out of the way so I didn't get hit myself. I watched in horror as the car ran over the cat. I screamed and turned away as I heard the car hit the brakes with a screech. (To the person's credit, she stopped to see if there was anything she could do). When I turned back, I expected to see a flat cat. Instead, I see an extremely scared and pissed off cat leaping over the fence and go into hiding under the porch. Mick crawled in after her and brought her into the house. She wasn't bleeding or anything, but she couldn't hold her back end up. When we got her into the vet, they couldn't believe how lucky this cat was. She had a fractured hip, but it was what is called a greenstick fracture...meaning that it's akin to breaking an immature twig. It cracks, but everything stays lined up. She healed up just fine in a couple of weeks, with nothing but arthritis in her later years to show for it.

She was the feistiest cat I've ever seen. She once chased Kaitlyn's friend's dog up the street. Dog was so scared that it ran all the way back home....a full 6 blocks. Another time, Mick and I were outside our old house talking to this lady that had a huge dog with her. I think it was a St. Bernard. Keisha comes out of the house, takes one look at this dog and leaps over the fence directly onto this dog's head, hissing and spitting. She wasn't a very happy kitty when we brought Amy the dog home 3 years ago. A couple swipes across the nose encouraged Amy to leave Keisha strictly alone. Amy would go to lay on the couch, see Keisha, and turn tail and slink into a corner. LOL

She was a pretty good hunter until she had a bad experience that I think shook her confidence. Mickey and I were in the basement of our old house doing laundry. He just happened to look out the window and told me to look too. There was Keisha sat on the fence with a bird in her mouth. She jumped down into the yard, looking all proud. She went to set it down, I guess to play with it or eat it or something....and damned if it didn't up and fly away on her! OMG, we laughed our asses off! She was not a happy kitty...she stood there for a minute looking all confused. It was like she was saying, "WTF just happened here?!" After that, she seemed to give up on hunting. When we moved, we had a bit of a mouse problem. There was one under the entertainment centre, but she just laid on the couch and looked at it, totally not interested. Funny, we had 2 cats in the house for a year...but still had mice. We've had a dog for 3 years...and haven't seen a single mouse in that time. LOL

In April of 1998 we got a new kitten named Mittens. She looks a lot like a seal point siamese. When we first brought her home, Keisha hated her. She hissed and spit whenever the new kitty came near her. I was starting to get pretty worried by the time I went to bed that night. I had caught Keisha taking a swipe at Mittens earlier. I didn't sleep very well that night, and ended up getting out of bed at 5 am. I went out to the living room, and there on the couch was Keisha...nursing the baby?! Damned if she didn't start actually producing milk after a week or two as well. She was a total surrogate mother to that kitten. Litter trained her, nursed her, dragged her around by the scruff of the neck...the whole deal. In fact, Keisha nursed Mittens for about 18 months. I tried really hard to wean her off, but they were both pretty insistent. I think Keisha even taught Mittens how to be an aloof little hosebag! We aren't the owners...we're the staff. :~p

We didn't have Keisha spayed until later in life because it seemed that her reproductive organs got damaged in her accident. She did get pregnant once or twice, but nothing came of it. We didn't see the point. Fuck, how I wish I could turn back time and have her spayed shortly after we got her. When I first discovered the lump in her mammaries about 18 months ago, I did some research on the internet, and what I discovered made me want to bitchslap myself. The leading cause of breast cancer in cats and dogs is delayed spaying...allowing them to go into heat repeatedly...that sort of thing. When the tumour was first biopsied, it was benign. We were advised to just leave it. For awhile, it stayed the same...then after about 6 months, it started growing and changing rapidly. Back to the vet. Different vet saw her and explained that it looked very much like a carcinoma. We found out at that point that Keisha also had a heart murmur, so surgery was even more risky. An 11 year old cat with a heart murmur very likely would not survive a mastectomy, and even if she did, chances were excellent that the cancer had already mestastisized somewhere else.....which it had. Her last 5 days or so of life were spent struggling for air. I should've had her put to sleep as soon as I realized last Monday that she was getting winded going from the couch to the basement door....10 ft away. I waited until last Friday because Mickey would be home. He works out of town Mon-Thurs now, and I couldn't face losing Keisha alone. Besides, he loves her too. He'd have understood if I'd done it sooner, but he'd have been devastated just the same. As it happened, I think things were as they should be. It took just over an hour to euthanize my stubborn little Keisha kitty. Her circulation was so bad, it took enough oral anesthetic to knock out a 40 pound dog before she didn't fight the clippers. The lady shaved one of her front paws to give her the injection. It was over before she had barely pressed in the plunger on the syringe. She struggled for air no more. She's buried behind the mini-porch out back where I hang stuff on the clothesline. I made a marker the day before it happened. It says:

Beloved cat/fur-kid of the _____

Grief sucks.

Sigh. I hurt. I've never had to put a pet to sleep before, but on Friday morning, I did just that. My Keisha kitty was nearly 12 years old, and cancer had ravaged her. I fucking hate cancer. She went from 15 pounds to just over 6....and she still ate like a pig - right up until the day before her death. I know she was suffering, but I so miss her. I'm also relieved that her pain and her struggle to breathe is over, but the pain of losing her is crushing. If this is what losing a pet is like, what the hell am I gonna be like when I lose my first person?? I'm one of those lucky few who has never lost anyone close to me, really. I lost one set of grandparents really young, so I didn't know either of them, and as for the other set...I lost my grandma at 13, my grandpa at 21, but didn't see them very often, since they lived clear across the country. Losing them hurt, sure...but it wasn't as bad as it could've been.

On Saturday night I almost asked my nephew for a drag of his smoke....then I caught a whiff of the stupid thing. Ewwwwwww!!!! That right there was enough to change my mind. Good thing too...because I know full well I wouldn't have stopped at one drag. I'd prolly have smoked the entire thing, then asked him for a whole cigarette....and then before I even knew it, I'd have been stopping at the 7-11 on my way home from the party and buying a pack. There's no such thing as "just one".