Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thelma: the newest Rainbow Bridge resident

I'm getting really drained having to write these sad posts; this is the third one in eight months. Actually four if you count my dad's passing in March.

After having some recent health issues, which were ultimately diagnosed as kidney failure, we made the decision to say goodbye to Thelma, sister and bookend to Louise.

We adopted Thelma, along with her sister Louise, from the Stratford Cat Project in 2011. SCP had rescued the two of them, along with a few others, from a hoarding situation several years prior. They were about six years old when we adopted them.  (I remember feeling like a rock star when we went to the first SCP event after we adopted them; everyone was thrilled.) The two of them were always together and were very bonded. They slept together, groomed each other, and when we pet one, we had to pet the other one, as they typically came over to us as a pair.

Thelma recently had major dental work, as did Louise. Up until that point--maybe it's just a coincidence--the two of them were still very bonded. After that, however, the bond was broken. They no longer slept together or rubbed on each other. And no longer did they both, together, run up to the back of the sofa to greet us. Thelma retreated to the kitchen, usually hanging out on the counter next to the sink. This is where she spent nearly all of her time, even to eat. Pretty much every morning we would walk into the kitchen to find she had peed on the floor. We're not entirely sure if it was related to her dental issues, or if it started back when we moved into the new house, as we had several cats with behavioral issues the last few years. (With multiple cats, it's sometimes very hard to track down the culprit; I've since discovered that a wireless security camera is great for this.)

The dental work led to a diagnosis of Bartonella, which required 21 days of antibiotics, followed by testing six months after the last antibiotic dose. About one week into the antibiotic cycle, Thelma started acting mopey, didn't seem to want to eat, and started losing weight again. I brought her back to the vet, where they gave her subcutaneous fluids to re-hydrate her.  The vet felt that it was likely related to the antibiotics. When she went for her re-check, she again had to be re-hydrated. At that point, the vet thought she may have kidney issues, as her urine was very diluted, but wanted to wait until Thelma was done with the antibiotics before doing further testing. Thelma went home again and started to improve, but then last week she stopped eating, became very skinny, and was very lethargic. We isolated her in an upstairs bedroom, where she hid under the bed most of the time. I noticed, also, that she hadn't used the litter at all during her time in the bedroom. Unfortunately, she was doing her business under the bed. But that's not her fault.

I took her to the vet again and got the call a couple hours later that her kidney panel showed she was in kidney failure; there's no cure for that. I was given the choice to do immediate treatment, followed by lifelong home treatment, or euthanasia. After taking into account her age, anemia, and current condition, as well as all the information and odds provided by the vet, we decided to euthanize her. Not because we didn't want to deal with lifelong home treatment, or the cost, but because the odds were not good that immediate treatment would even help. And if it did, her home treatment would only prolong her life a bit. We didn't want to put her through that.

It was really heartbreaking, as usual. Everyone at the vet's office was great. We took her home with us and she's buried out in the garden next to Thomas. I'm now looking for a nice little cat statue or memorial stone to place on her grave.

Thelma (AKA Daddy's Big Girl) was a wonderful cat. Although she came from a rough background and never warmed up to being held, she was quite the affectionate kitty. And so, so soft! Every time Louise comes over to visit, I keep looking to see where Thelma is, since two used to be inseparable. She will be greatly missed. I'm glad she got a chance at a normal life and I'm glad that life was with us.


  1. You made a decision that I know was very hard for you and Bob, but , because the two of you are such loving people, you chose to make that decision out of love for Thelma and do what was best for her. You gave her a great life with a lot of love and I'm sure she is telling the other cats at Rainbow Bridge how loving and caring you both were. I think there must be a special place at Rainbow Bridge for all the cats that you have loved and lost. That is the spot where all of them will gather and say "We had the best parents and the best life" and they will all be waiting for that day when you will all cross that bridge together. <3 <3

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. :( It is always a hard decision but we know when it is right to make it.