We had a death in the family tonight. Her name was Hannah. In the picture, Hannah is being held by my 6 year old, when she was only 4. She was on borrowed time, the way I see it. Let me start at the beginning.....
Over a 2 years ago, my daughter's cat had a litter of kittens (big shocker there). When they were about 3 weeks old, I put a baby gate up to keep her from taking them back to my bedroom (my husband didn't care to wake up with baby kitties dangling from his toes). She, being determined to take them back there anyway, tried to carry them over. One tiny tabby didn't make it and was dropped on her head, from about 3 feet up. Needless to say, she suffered severe head trauma. Nature should have been kind and taken her then, or perhaps I should have NOT intervened. As it was, I couldn't stand by and do NOTHING, so I kept her warm in a heating pad, bottle fed her kitty formula, etc.
At first she was paralyzed. After a day or so, she regained use of her front legs. Another day, her back legs. That's when we realized she was blind. At about 6 weeks, I took her to the vet, who confirmed that her skull had been crushed, but she was mending. She was however, blind and deaf. Of course we had to keep her, who would want a special needs kitty?
After more weeks, she did regain some of her sight, and some hearing. She had ZERO depth perception though, which made for seriously amusing antics. She ran into things ALL the time, while playing with my small poodles. She would also jump for the bar stool, miss it by a foot, promptly hitting the wall and sliding down, much like a cartoon character.
It was NOT all fun and games with Hannah, though. She had serious litter box issues...The last straw for me was when she peed on my kitchen counter. I COULD NO LONGER TURN A BLIND EYE TO HER DISGUSTING HABITS!
Hence, I put her outside. Before anyone starts to think badly of me, we have a fenced in yard, and she never left it. She actually seemed happy. We would laugh at her trying to chase a bird that was flying over, even though she had no hope whatsoever in catching it.
Then it happened.....
She climbed over the fence. Just in time for a big black chow and his demon spawn buddy to come along and get her. She didn't even know to run, she just rolled over to let them play with her, only they didn't want to play. They wanted to KILL her. My 7 year old was out there, and watched the whole thing, she ran in to get us, and the dogs were chased off. At first we thought she was okay...must have been the adrenaline that made her look unhurt.
We brought her in. She was clearly messed up. We watched her helplessly as she struggled to stand, then as she struggled to walk. We put her into the carrier, so we could take her to the vet in the morning. My 6 year old came home from Grandma's, and stuck her finger into the carrier, unaware she was hurt. Hannah, the sweetest cat I've ever known, was in so much pain, she bit all the way through her finger. She died less than an hour later.
I do feel guilty. She should never have been outside, but a part of me feels relieved that she is gone, and I feel even worse about that. Maybe I shouldn't say that, but it's true. I only hope that she is now in kitty heaven, unperturbed by her sight or hearing loss, or her mental deficiency.
Rest well sweet Hannah.