The next call I make to Felicia's vet will be to schedule the end of her life. In just the last month, she has lost nearly half her body weight. I had been giving her buprenorphine for her pain every 12 hours, but I realized yesterday that I have to increase the frequency as it's become heartbreakingly obvious when it starts to wear off. The kind of cancer she has isn't the growing mass kind, rather the opposite. It has rapidly eaten away at the teeth and upper jaw on the right side of her face, as well as the bone around her eye. It has wiped out a tear duct, so she is constantly weeping out of that eye. There is a large artery nearby, so what I'm most worried about now is for the cancer to eat at that artery, causing her to bleed to death if I'm not here to take her to the emergency room. This cancer is advancing at a rapid rate, so much so that the oncology specialist that saw her yesterday was alarmed at her condition in comparison to the x-rays that were taken just 7 days ago.
Felicia has always been my world. If you know me, you know that. She was part of a pair of kittens that an ex-boyfriend adopted at 10 weeks of age from the Humane Society in St. Paul. Two weeks later, he surrendered to the reality that he was violently allergic to the little furballs, and I took them in. Felicia's brother, Fatboy, disappeared from my front lawn when they were less than a year old. I searched for him for months, checking Minneapolis Animal Control and the nearby shelters every two days, but I never found him. Felicia took the news well, and she and I have been the best of friends ever since. She is a beautiful and intelligent cat with the ability to make me laugh with a look. Over the last 13-plus years, we have lived in countless domiciles and she always adapted wonderfully every time we moved into a new place. She’s never been a furniture scratcher (unless she wants your attention) she’s never jumped on counters (unless there’s heavy cream involved), she’s never bitten anyone (unless you count the vet tech who assisted with her spay) and she’s never been anything less than perfect in my eyes.
There are so many things I will miss about Felicia. Her soft black fur, which I’m stroking now as she sleeps next to me. Her freakishly long whiskers, her bright and shiny green eyes, her purr, the crooked tip of her tail. The way she hates being brushed. The way she patiently stalks the mouse living behind the stove. The way she batted the other mouse that lived behind the stove around this apartment for two hours last Wednesday before it finally died. The way she stared at it incredulously once it went limp. The way she lays on my belly every night until I’m asleep, then moves to her side of the bed.
I’m trying to think of a list of things I want to do with her before I have to make the phone call, but all I want to do is hold her. She stopped playing for the most part about two weeks ago, but I managed to rouse some interest with a cough drop wrapper the other day. She’s always played with her mouth, chomping down on tiny plush toys, sparkle balls and feather sticks (but mostly the stick and not so much the feather). She can’t do that now without pain so I guess I don’t blame her for not having much interest in something she can only paw at. So I will be with her, holding her, every moment that I can, until she lets me know that it’s time to make that call. Taking off of work this weekend is impossible—thanks Red Bull—but I will be home with Felicia whenever I’m not working. My hope is that I have another week with her.