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Remembering Sheba

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My wonderful 18 year old black smoke long-haired beauty, Sheba, was put to rest one week ago today.

Sheba was diagnosed with chronic renal failure a year and a half ago, which did not slow her down, until she developed congestive heart failure six weeks before her death. She put up a good fight. It was touch and go for the first few weeks once we discovered her heart condition. Her heart was beating way too fast, and she was developing fluid in her lungs and had trouble breathing. She was put on a medication to regulate her heartbeat, and diuretics to control the fluid. Once we got that under control, she did remarkable. She went from a cat who was so weak she could barely stand in the middle of October to rolling around on the bed playing with a catnip mouse in early November. She enjoyed sitting in shoeboxes, and in the stairway window in the sunshine. She actually loved her precription food. She was still tiny and weak, weighing only about six pounds, but she still would bully around her chubby younger sisters. Last Tuesday night, she jumped on my bed, smacked 15 pound 2.5 year old Gracie in the head, and chased her away so she could snuggle me.

She got medication (beta blocker and diuretic for her heart and an appetite stimulant) twice daily, and sub-q fluids every night. She ate, but her food needed to be mixed with pedialyte and warmed in the microwave, many, many times a day. If she was being fussy, I cooked her a chicken nugget. She loved those things! She'd grab them in ther mouth and shake them, like they were prey and she was the mighty hunter.

As prepared as I was for the end, I didn't think it would happen like it did. I work for a vet, so Sheba had been coming with me to work a lot recently. Last Monday, she was having breathing issues, so we increased her diuretic. Tuesday, she was doing a lot better. A little too active for her own good - I was terrified she'd fall down the steps or out fo the window. Wednesday, she was a little more sedate, but nothing too bad. The vet checked her, knowing I was paranoid about the long weekend, and sent me home with extra emergency injections of diuretics, just in case.

Wednesday night, she crashed. Her breathing looked terrible. I gave her one of the injections, and it helped a little. She wasn't heaving as much. She ate a little. She got up to use the litterbox. She came to bed with me and spent some time snuggling. The next morning, her breathing was bad again. Worse than ever. I gave her another extra dose, hoping it would help. She was still eating some and using the litterbox, but soooo weak. Still, I thought there was a chance. Most cats I know on death's doorstep aren't eating and using the box. But I knew there was nothing more I could do for her at home. My husband and I took her to the emergency clinic, knowing either they'd be able to do something minimally invasive to help her breathe, or we'd put her to sleep. They did xrays and bloodwork.

The bloodwork came back great. Way better than I expected. Her kidneys were functioning almost normally.

But the xrays... they were horrible. She had fluid outside her lungs, so much that you couldn't even see her heart on the films. Fluid inside her lungs, which were compressed to just a fraction of their full size. The vet did offer to tap her chest to drain the fluid, but warned that the procedure would be painful and stressful, and likely to kill her. I knew from working in a vet that it would only give her a day or two, at most. I couldn't do that to her. We decided to have her put to sleep. I prefered to have her go peacefully, while I held her, than to suffocate dying "naturally," or die on an operating table with strangers.

As sad as I am, I have no regrets. I did everything I could for her and then some. When she first got sick, I promised to do whatever I could to keep her happy and comfortable, and did a great job at that. When I couldn't do any more, I did the kindest thing I could and kept her from pain and suffering. As much of a shock as it was for me to have a cat purring and giving headbutts on Wednesday, only to die on Thursday, it was the best for her. She didn't suffer, and she's at peace now.

I'll never forget the gawky, scraggly little six month old kitten who was such a ham at the SPCA - climbing her cage, reaching out and grabbing my Big 80s hair - that she made me decide against the tiny kittens in the cage below her, back in March of 1989. I always joked that I didn't pick her, she picked me. And she chose wisely. No one could have loved her more.
post #2 of 15
Play happy now little one!
post #3 of 15
RIP Sheba, enjoy your time at the bridge,

and i agree sometimes it seems they do pick us
post #4 of 15
The poor baby

It's quite obvious how much you were loved Sheba You have a wonderful time over at Rainbow Bridge, and play happily with all your new friends
post #5 of 15
Bless Little Sheba - she had been through a tough time
but you were there, every step of the way to make things as easy as possible for her

RIP little one - you can run & run and play & play
you have a new fur-family over the Bridge and the love from below will make you smile
post #6 of 15
I can see your love for Sheba shining through your post and she carries that love with her to the Rainbow Bridge. RIP Sheba. My heart goes out to you for your loss.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody. *hug*

Here's some of my favorite pictures of my pretty girl...

Halloween 2003. I love how her tongue is sticking out just a little bit.

August of 2004. Fifteen, almost sixteen, years old, and not slowing down. Here she is wapping at baby Gracie.

January of this year. She was still pretty chunky then.

October 15 2006. Sheba's on the middle step. She was doing pretty good when the photo was taken, but we thought she was dying later that night. A week later, she'd bounced back enough to be playful and active again.

And my all-time favorite picture, taken this spring, is Sheba on her favorite Victorian chair. This is going to end up being a portrait someday.

post #8 of 15
I'm sorry for your sad loss.

Rest in peace and play Sheba. You are a beautiful girl.
post #9 of 15
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Your Sheba was absolutely beautiful; you sound like a wonderful cat-Mom, and it's so obvious you did everything you could for your girl. (((Big Hugs)))
post #10 of 15
Rest in Sweet Peace Sheba.... Play at Rainbow Bridge with all of the other kitties and be in no pain
post #11 of 15
Sheba is absolutely beautiful, she's a pretty little angel in Heaven now, and you will be reunited with her someday. Rest in Peace Sweet Girl
post #12 of 15
What a gorgeous girl Play happily over the bridge sweet Sheba.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
I got seriously choked up at work last week when the guy from the cremation service came to pick up the bodies. There were three others in the morgue to go out. I could have had one of the my coworkers go with the guy to get them, but I wanted one last chance to say goodbye to my girl. I loaded her on the truck myself, and told the driver to take extra special care of her.

The first week or so after she died was really difficult. Not only did I miss Sheba, I missed our "routine." I spent so much time caring for her the last few months, that I didn't know what to do with myself. I kept catching myself about to go to check on her, or getting three plates at feeding time instead of two. I still miss her deeply, but it's nice to not have to worry. To be able to go out for a few hours and not wonder if she's ok. I'm finally able to start introducing the dog with the cats. Sheba got sick right after I got Beavis, so I'd been postponing proper introductions for months. I'll be able to visit our friends and family that live out of town. I haven't seen my inlaws since last Christmas. ( I know there's some of you that think "lucky girl!" but I actually like my inlaws. )

I got Sheba's ashes back today. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm ok. I am. The rollercoaster ride is over. There's no more worries and emotional upheaval. Sheba's back home where she belongs. I'm still debating whether or not to buy her a special urn. I found an Egyptian one that's really pretty. But the box she came back in is nice. Cherry wood, with an engraved nameplate. And she did loooove sitting in boxes.
post #14 of 15
Rest in Peace Sheba.

She looks so much like my Alley.

Maybe they are keeping eachother company now, across the bridge.
post #15 of 15
Condolences on your sad loss of Sheba, and bless you for choosing to let her go peacefully, with your love close by to light the pathway to Rainbow Bridge. She is in good company among all our other TCS kitties, and well guarded by Tasha and our other TCS dogs who have gone on too. Sheba, you are always remembered, forever loved
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