Sad departures

On the morning of Sunday, October 12th, we had to say goodbye to the beloved kitty matriarch of our family, Dee Dee, and help her "graduate" from this life to the next. She had battled valiantly with thyroid disease and advanced arthritis for years. But it was a nasty virus that had afflicted all the cats in the house that attacked her compromised body and brought us to the hard decision was had to make. Although she was under the watchful care of the vet as soon as she showed signs of being sick, in less than a week Dee Dee turned from being our smart and affectionate little ginger into a shell of her former self. She couldn't fight anymore. It was time to say goodbye. Her best friend, Thomasina, and her twin brother, Dexter, got an opportunity to say goodbye before Hubby took Dee Dee to the emergency vet while I stayed home with the other sick kitties.

We thought that trip to the vet would be the only one that day, and we went about the business of trying to get the other kitties well.

But, only 13 hours after we said goodbye to Dee Dee...

... we had to say goodbye to her noble twin brother, Dexter, and help him "graduate" from this life to the next too.

Dexter was the first to get the same nasty virus that Dee Dee got. He had shown symptoms of some strange illness on the evening of Sunday, October 5th, and Hubby had him in to the vet first thing Monday morning. Dexter spent that day at the vet in in-patient care, and went in again on Wednesday for a full day of in-patient care (Dee Dee got the same all-day in-patient care too on Tuesday and Friday). We were told they had the equivalent of the "kitty flu", and because they were both having cortisone injections for arthritis, their immune systems were compromised so the virus was hitting them harder than it was our younger cats that don't get injections. We were told that the most important thing was to keep everyone hydrated until the symptoms went away. By Friday evening, we were hydrating Dee Dee with water-filled or pedialyte-filled syringes. Dexter was getting water and pedialyte from a bowl because he could lap water unassisted.

By Saturday, Dexter had moved through the virus and was beginning to get well from the symptoms. He was eating tuna heartily and drinking water. But he appeared wobbly on his feet. We assumed it was just from being weak from the virus.

But by Sunday evening, Dexter was staggering around so badly he couldn't walk to get water or food. Hubby rushed him to the emergency vet while I stayed home with the other sick kitties. Tests at the emergency vet revealed that Dexter's kidneys were failing. The virus had pushed Dexter's kidneys to their limit. His is sodium levels to toxic quantities causing his neurological system to shut down.  We didn't know his kidneys were compromised. He had lost a significant amount of weight in the last two months, but we hadn't discovered what was causing the weight loss before he got sick. Like Dee Dee, Dexter had turned into a shell of his former self in only a week. I could barely recognize my sweet, benevolent prince of a cat. It was time to help him "graduate" with the dignity he deserved.

In Memory of "The Originals"

Dexter was my loyal, noble and ever-present companion for 14 wonderful years. He supervised everything I did from laundry to vacuuming to home improvement projects (he wasn't afraid of power tools). He was gentle and kind with new visitors, children, infants and even my mom's little chihuahua that was smaller than he was. He sweetly accepted the other kitties that we took into our home and put up with all of their nonsense with grace (even when they were mean to him). I always would whisper into his ear, "Dexter, I loved you first... and I love you best" and he would purr.

Dee Dee was the quintessential queen of our little cat colony. She ruled with grace, love and matriarchal dignity. She adored Hubby with a passion and wanted nothing more than to be picked up and carried around on his arm while she licked him after running to greet him at the door when he came home from work or when he first awoke and arose from the bed in the morning. She particularly enjoyed playing hostess to visitors and would greet everyone that came through the front door with curiosity and kind affection. Her fascination and adoration of children and babies was so precious to watch. An extremely intelligent ginger tabby, Dee Dee always had a lot to say about everything and would negotiate with me constantly to get her way (just like a 2 year old toddler).

We were privileged to meet them when Dexter and Dee Dee were only 10 days old. We've known them ever since.

The two kitties were miracles to us. Before getting them 14 years ago, Hubby was highly allergic to cats and couldn't be in the same room with a cat without getting asthmatic. But with faith and prayer, that changed (now he's allergic to dogs... go figure). They came into our lives when we were rebuilding our home... and I was rebuilding myself. Two little furry kitties did so much in healing us both. We've never known life living here at Rosehaven Cottage without them. Our home feels hollow and empty without them here.

Interestingly, Dexter and Dee Dee have never had to know any existence without each other... even now.

We know without a shadow of a doubt that Dexter and Dee Dee are now running and playing like they did when they were young (before the arthritis). They were greeted on the other side by our beloved kitties that had passed on before them—Lydia (2002-2012), Tom Tom (who left us a few months ago in May), Suzette (who left us at the end of this summer) and the garden kitty, Oreo (who left us in September). We are certain all of them are having wonderful times together frolicking about, watching "kitty-vision" and exploring lush patches of grass to nibble on.

I miss Dexter and Dee Dee terribly. My chest aches every day with an ache that is so profound I can't describe it. I weep every day wishing I could see their beautiful furry little faces. But I know I will see them both again someday... and we will all play together like we always did.

Dexter and Dee Dee, you are mine forever and ever.

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