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Wednesday

1081

(AKA Fatty Lump-O-Cat, Kitten-Boo, Baby Kitten)
RIP July 1998 – September 13, 2007

Wednesday’s Photo Gallery

Wednesday-related blog entries

“The mother abandoned them. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

It was the beginning of July in 1998. The note scrawled on a piece of lined paper was taped to the top of a cardboard box that in turn had been left on the back steps of the veterinary clinic Joy and I were working at in Candler. Inside the box were three little day-old kittens, and that is how Wednesday came into our lives. We took turns taking the kittens home for the night to bottle feed and clean. At the time, I didn’t consider myself a “cat person” at all, but I immediately took a shine to the tiny little white ball of fuzz with the orange and blue patches and short bulldog face. By the time they were eating solid food and ready to find homes, I’d named the little calico “Wednesday” and now had my first cat.

Wednesday’s start in life was a bit unusual. Because the kittens had terrible diarrhea through most of their first weeks, and kept trying to nurse off each other’s ears and other body parts, they had to be separated most of the time. At a time when she should have been learning how to be a cat, Wednesday instead had a Pit Bull trying to mother her and a Chihuahua as a playmate.

She and Igor the Chihuahua would spend hours wrestling and inevitably there would be a loud yelp and a Chihuahua blinking one eye. Amazingly Igor made it through Wednesday’s kittenhood with both eyeballs intact… When she was four or five months old, I would bring Wednesday over to Joy’s apartment to play with her cats. She and Olive had a great time together, though, in retrospect, I think there were things she would normally have learned from her mother and siblings that she missed, and she was always a bit rough with the other cats. She spoke ‘dog’ pretty good, but ‘cat’ was a language she never quite mastered.

In May of 1999 we packed up all the critters and moved to Arizona. Wednesday had been spayed shortly before we moved, and for whatever reason, quickly ballooned in size until she resembled a big fuzzy colorful ball. She also became rather timid and reclusive, and less social with the other cats. We’re not sure why… maybe moving to a new house was hard on her, or possibly her unorthodox upbringing just made for a weird adulthood. Whatever the reason, she retreated from contact with the others and no longer came to sit in our laps or played with Igor any more, either.

She did have a few toys she liked, fuzzy sparkle balls and a tiny little tennis ball she liked to clasp between her front paws, flip over on her back, and kick at it with her back feet. As big as she was, she mostly kicked herself in the stomach instead and we referred to this strange game of hers as “fat-kicking.” It was both hilarious and somewhat disturbing to watch.

This was also when she had the first of the many health issues that would plague her for life. One day she ate a bug or spider in the kitchen and vomited violently about 15 or more times, finally stopping just as Joy was about to rush her off to the vet’s. Another time, she was at the vet’s for her routine vaccinations and had a horrible reaction to the then-new Purevax leukemia vaccine (which ironically was supposed to be safer) and had violent vomiting and explosive diarrhea for hours. Poor Wednesday had to stay at the clinic and have subcutaneous fluids and antiemetic drugs to recover from what should have been routine vaccines.

That was the last vaccine other than rabies (which was required by law) we ever knowingly inflicted upon her. I say “knowingly” because after we moved to Texas, Wednesday blocked with calcium oxalate stones and required bladder surgery — twice in less than six months. The surgeries were painful and messy and hard on her, and afterwards she had to periodically go to the vet so that they could get urine samples to check for infection or crystals. After one of these visits she had the same extreme vomiting/explosive diarrhea episodes she’d had after that vaccine and we always suspected there’d been a mixup and she’d received a vaccine. Years later when she developed a fibrosarcoma on her back (all her known vaccines were given on leg sites, per VAFSTF recommendations) we always felt it was the vaccine she never should have received to begin with that caused it.

After the two bladder surgeries there was an almost endless cycle of bladder infections and medications. Most medications gave her diarrhea and over time the bacteria developed a resistance to most commonly used antibiotics. If the bladder infections weren’t bad enough, shortly after we moved back to North Carolina she suddenly developed an entropic eyelid (usually entropion, which is an eyelid that rolls inward, is a congenital issue, not something that develops later on in life) which irritated her eyeball so badly she had to have corrective surgery. Already on the standoffish side before all this, Wednesday unfortunately learned to run from us because we were always having to scoop her up to take to the vet or shoving medicine down her throat. It was a pretty frustrating situation for everyone involved…

…and then we found the lump.

Tiny, it was; about the size of a tapioca bead, but hard and irregular and ominous, on her back just behind her left shoulder blade. It was removed surgically and sent off for biopsy; we hoped for the best but worried it was a fibrosarcoma and the biopsy results confirmed our worst fears. The pathologist suggested a second surgery with wider margins but she took so long to heal from the first surgery and had such a hard time of it we didn’t have the heart to put her through yet another operation, especially such a radical one. Anyway, it seemed pointless; the tumor was so aggressive that had already begun to grow back before the incision was even healed. We decided to focus on keeping her happy and comfortable as long as we could.

In spite of the rapidly growing cancer on her back, Wednesday seemed happier that last year or so, even started seeking out a lap now and then. She especially liked the house on London Road, where there was a basement to explore and she could go outside with us after we got the fence up. She even had one wild moment where she took it into her head to climb halfway up a tree trunk! She also once again took interest in her favorite toys, the little sparkle balls that she’d carry in her mouth, howling her way up and down the hallway.

It was nice to see her enjoying life more, especially knowing that her time was limited. But by the time we made this last move back in September, the cancer was getting the upper hand and we believe she had also formed more stones. It had become progressively more and more difficult to get Wednesday to eat (at her fattest she was about fifteen pounds, and at the very end she had lost at least six pounds) and we could tell she was in constant discomfort. Pain medication helped, but it was very expensive and it seemed to us that if she was only happy when she was half drugged out of her mind, she really didn’t have much of a life any more.

On September 13, 2007, we said goodbye to our “baby kitten”. Our vet made her passing as peaceful and gentle as she could, and she drifted off quietly to whatever awaits on the other side. She’s free now; liberated from a life that held more pain and suffering than seems fair for one cat to have had to endure.