Monday, March 30, 2009

An Ode to Maple

Maple was our spunky, funny, loving, mischievous, sweet, naughty, cuddly kitten. He just turned one on March 9th. He was especially Pepper's cat and she could do anything to him--dress him up, drag him around, follow her everywhere. She loved him and he loved her.

Rose Bud and Banana Boy loved to play with Maple. One of Maple's favorite things to do was to chase a string. RB and BB were especially good at finding strings for Maple to tackle. He would play for 20 minutes with a string.

He has caught 2 mice in his lifetime. He was very proud.

One of his very favorite things to do was to sleep. Anywhere. With anyone. The more interesting place, the better.

His favorite nasty habit was to chew on the foam play mats we kept in our basement. For some reason, he just loved to bite at them. They started out with claw marks, then teeth marks, then he chewed off a corner. Eventually, he pulled the whole edge strip off and he would carry it around the house. He also ate pieces of the mat and it always made him throw up. We were forever finding puddles of cat barf with a piece of mat in the center.

We finally had to put the edges away. Since moving, we've had the mats up in the attic where the cats don't normally go. Three times, Maple has gotten into the attic and each time he attacked his favorite chew mats.

Saturday, he got into the attic. Saturday night he threw up. Sunday morning, cat barf greeted us in the kitchen. We locked him in the basement for the day until he barfed up all the pieces. Sunday afternoon there was one piece. There were also 5 or 6 other puddles. Sunday night he was still barfing, but only bile. We figured he'd get another piece up soon, so he spent the night in the basement (Spider, too, since the litter is down there)

Monday morning I went down to check on him and fed them (usually Pepper's job) Normally, Maple shoves Spider out of the way and eats Spider's food, then eats his own. Today he didn't even go near the food. There was more barf, again, only bile. He even came to me to be petted and I'm not normally his favorite person.

So into the cat crate he went for a trip to the vet for an x-ray. He barfed again at the vet's and they couldn't see any mat in his stomach although there did appear to be something (and there shouldn't have been anything, since he hadn't kept any food down since Sat. night).

One option at that point was to do a barium study and if they found mat, do emergency surgery at a more skilled clinic than our own. $1000-2000. Together, the vet (whom I really like) and I determined that since surgery was not an option for us financially, there was no point in doing the barium.

We did feel that fluids might help, especially if the continued vomiting was due more to dehydration and an upset stomach, and if there WASN'T any mat, this was a smart option. Perhaps getting him hydrated and offering him some bland food would get him back on track.

At closing time, the vet called with an update and felt that he was perking up with the fluids, but then she called back two minutes later to say he had vomited again. She didn't feel like he was in any immanent danger or in pain, so we decided to reassess in the morning.

Still, I began to prepare the kids for the worst.

This morning we stopped in when the clinic opened at 7:15. I was pretty sure what the outcome was going to be and I wanted the kids to have a chance to say goodbye. The receptionist had to clean out his cage first as he had been sick all night. I took Rose Bud and Banana Boy in first and left Sunshine with Daisy. Banana Boy just wanted me to lift him up for a quick look and one pet. Rose Bud stroked him for a little bit. Maple looked pretty good although he was really thin. He had an IV in for fluids so at least he wasn't dehydrated.

Then I had the girls come in. As soon as Pepper said "hi" to him, he began a roaring purr and snuggled up to both of their hands while they petted him behind his ears and under his chin. He closed his eyes in kitty-bliss and felt the love. I lost it.

We spent the morning having coffee with AJ, who gave us Maple in the first place, almost a year ago. The vet was really busy all morning and didn't have time to call with an update, so I stopped in on the way to pick up Sunshine from school to sign the papers. She said at that point, he was projectile vomiting and she was pretty sure there was something in his stomach.

I gave her the go ahead and went back to have lunch with AJ and all the kids. On the way home, we picked up the box with Maple's body in it.

So it's done. Pepper and I had a good cry this afternoon. The rest are still processing.

Most of this post, up until the details of this morning, I wrote last night, which was good because I really don't feel like rehashing the story anymore right now. I'll update tomorrow.

Here is a little tribute I put together. The writings are from the girls' journals.


Alphabet Kid said...

Sandwich - So sorry to hear about Maple! It's so hard to lose a pet. Hope your kids are doing okay.

Recovering Noah said...

What a sweet little kitten. I'm so sorry. :( I know that must be really hard on all of you.

Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear of Maple, I have lost a kitten and it is heart breaking
What a nice tribute

Aunti said...

I'm shocked! I'm so sad, I had tears as I was reading here at work! Give everyone a hug from me (especially Pepper).

gram68 said...

I also was shocked to hear about Maple! At first I thought it was Spider. That was a great tribute to him, kids. I was crying all the time I was reading it. I hope Pepper is feeling a little better. Give hugs to everyone.