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20 January 2017 @ 10:50 am
Farewell, Mr. Poo Butt Lincoln...  
I'm not sure how in-depth I'll go with this, because the past month hasn't been very easy, but I also feel I ought to write things down, to perhaps someday have a better idea just what happened. The short: on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, we had to put our silly fluffy cat, Lincoln, to sleep.

The long: about a month ago, Lincoln, who had been spending the entire winter (which was colder than usual) indoors, sleeping, eating, and being his cushy self, despite my efforts. He refused to go outside, even when Ralph, who has a short coat, insisted on going out in the cold. I shoved Lincoln outside a few times, but only for a moment or so, figuring it would do him good to remember what moving around was.

A few weeks ago, Lincoln woke us to his agonizing cries as he vomited around the house, as he often did when he overate. This time, however, he actually felt bloated all over. I did what I could for him, which included giving him a bath when I realized he again had poop crusted to his rear end, keeping anything else from getting out. (Lincoln had many nicknames: Purr Box, Stinkin' Lincoln, The Trundler, but the most accurate was Mr. Poo Butt, because he often had poop stuck on his butt.) He looked like a drowned rat for a while after, but he seemed to perk up once he could poop normally again. In fact, here's a picture from January 3rd of this year:

 photo lincoln_zpsjpmyoltj.jpg

That's the last picture I took of him, as he started to go downhill again not soon after, and I don't know why. He stopped wanting to eat, no matter the beloved treats I gave him, and he started losing weight. I was finally getting a thinner Lincoln, but in all the wrong ways. On Tuesday he was walking around the house, trying to find comfortable places to lie down on the ground, so I even let him hang out in my bathroom, usually a big no-no. I knew we couldn't afford any vet bills, so I did the only thing else I could think of, and that was to pray to know what I needed to do to best help Lincoln. The impression I got was to wait, so I did.

Wednesday morning I found out why. My husband had stayed home sick (which isn't usual for him, he hates missing work), so after I couldn't find Lincoln in any of his usual hiding places, I asked my husband to look under the couch, as I was holding my son, who was freshly awake, and not ready to be put down. That's exactly where Lincoln was, and he was all splayed out. When Robert, my husband, pulled him out, his eyes were dilated way beyond Lincoln's norm, and he looked listless, like he was barely aware we were even there. Robert quickly called the vet, actually being willing to use his credit card to pay for saving Lincoln, which goes way beyond the norm for him, as up until Lincoln adopted my husband as his own, he had never cared about cats.

We wrapped Lincoln in a towel after getting our son and ourselves decent to trek into the outside world, and I held him the entire car ride to the vet. The entire time, Lincoln never made a peep (he would cry the entire time on the way to the vet's office before), and I noticed he kept slipping off of my lap. Once the vet was able to examine him, she let us know up front that, "his prognosis isn't good." She also pointed out that he had no feeling in his hind legs or tail, which explained why he never tried to get up that Wednesday morning. She theorized he must have had an embolism, which is fancy talk for a clot leaving the heart, and clogging vital blood flow to other vital areas of the body, which almost always results in death. His liver was also enlarged.

I had dreaded what would be the end result for Lincoln for at least a week, so I already knew we would not be taking Lincoln home with us, but my husband, who hadn't been home watching Lincoln decline, was taken by surprise. They asked if we wanted to stay or leave when they gave Lincoln a lethal injection to end his pain. When I was nineteen, I had to say goodbye to my beloved childhood pet, Puff, and I wasn't brave enough then to stay with her, and it still haunts me.

We both wanted to stay, and it broke my heart that my son, upon hearing our goodbyes and apologies to Lincoln, eagerly waved and said, "Bye!" to Lincoln as well. I'm not sure how aware Lincoln was though, as he never meowed or even purred, or made any eye contact whatsoever. It was a relief when they told us he was gone.

Lincoln never was a normal cat from the day we found him as a filthy, flea-ridden, parasite-filled kitten back in October 2010. His spine was always arched in an odd way, he never ran normally, and he had an odd trundle to his walk. He never jumped much, either, only discovering he could jump to the back of our couch this past year, which was the highest he had ever jumped. I always suspected he had a lot of wrong things happening internally, but never had the excess cash to have testing done to figure out what. In the end, if his embolism was caused by heart disease, as is apparently common in Maine Coon cats (although we're still not sure of his breeding, other than huge), it wouldn't have mattered, as nothing can be done to prevent it, only delay the inevitable.

Whatever it was, I regret not being able to do more. I miss my chatty Purr Box...even if we was also often a poo butt. Thank you, Lincoln, for teaching us compassion, and giving us your unconditional love, but especially opening up my husband's heart to how wonderful cats can be. Yours is a void that will not soon be filled, if ever. I will continue to be on the lookout for stray cats in need of a good home, especially in your honor.
 
 
Current Mood: draineddrained
 
 
 
cat_summonercat_summoner on January 30th, 2017 10:52 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear this, Diane. Lincoln's touched a lot of lives. I've followed your tales of Lincoln and Ralph since you first shared pictures of them as kittens, and the stories of their antics have brightened many days for not just me, but my roommate and I'm sure many others who read your livejournals. I know the pain that comes from losing a pet, and I'm praying that the Lord will bring you and your family comfort. Is Ralph doing okay? I know it can be hard on a cat when he or she has grown up with another cat always around. I know you and I have had our differences, but if you'd like to talk or share memories of Lincoln, my door is always open, and I'm a good listener. I hope that as each day passes, the pain will ease a little more. Again, I'm really sorry this happened.
Diane: maybe sleepingichiban_victory on January 30th, 2017 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it does mean a lot to know others care. Ralph's been doing really well, actually, as like me, he's been watching Lincoln decline gradually. I'm pretty sure whatever happened to Lincoln to paralyze his back side was also killing him, as he was very out of it when we woke up to find him in his sorry state. I don't know if cats say goodbye to each other, but considering how bonded Lincoln and Ralph were, and also considering Ralph hasn't once gone looking for Lincoln, I like to think they both knew Lincoln had to go. If anything, Ralph has wanted to be closer to me, and even my husband. He cried when we had dinner around our table the other night (not normal behavior for us), so I pulled out a chair so he could sit with us, and he was happy after that. If anything, I feel awful for having to rob Ralph of his big brother, and constant companion, as now Ralph is alone should I happen to leave for a few hours to run errands/visit family. We'll not be adding a new cat to the household though, as Ralph is very much a momma's boy, and stresses easily, and in some ways, he seems happier being an only cat now.

And thanks. I would like to think differences shouldn't matter, especially in times of grief. I'm doing as well as can be expected, Lincoln's not the first cat I've had to say goodbye to before I was ready, but it's causing my husband a lot of unexpected grief, as Lincoln was the first cat he ever bonded with. (He was always a "dog person" before we married and he inherited my two cats.) He's trying to do the strong man thing and not cry, which is making it worse for him, I think. I briefly mentioned almost accidentally filling Lincoln's food bowl last night, and it set him off. I'm encouraging him to just cry, but he has a lifetime of stigma to overcome. He misses his Prince of Fluff more than he'd probably ever admit.

Really, I have Lincoln to thank for softening my husband's heart to cats, and hopefully when the time is right to add a new cat to the house, my husband will be eager to find a new friend to love and cherish.