Cassandra (aka, The Monkey) 1996 - 21 April 2012
The year 2012 is turning out to be a difficult year for The Clan. First, Malcolm was taken from us; then Calvin passed away; and now we've lost The Monkey.
Despite her age, Monkey's passing was a complete shock. She had always been the "iron lady" of the group, never being seriously ill a day in her life. The worst affliction she suffered was a bout of scabies about six years ago. But a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that she had started to lose weight. She was still eating and still active, and - as I was taking Emma in for a check up soon - I figured I would let her tag along and see what was the matter. However, a week ago, the weight loss began getting worse and she began having trouble breathing. She wasn't gasping for breath, but her sides went in and out like a bellows, even when she was sleeping. Monday last (4/16/12), I got her an appointment at the vet (it's one of the things I like about Covina Animal Hospital, there are four doctors there and I can usually get a same-day appointment, even if it's not our "family physician," Dr. Dais).
Dr. Ortemayer did a chest X-ray and discovered that The Monkey's right lung was full of fluid. She managed to extract some of the fluid, and sent it off to be tested. Tuesday, she called to tell me that it looked cancerous. Because of the type of cancer, it wasn't very treatable, even if I had wanted to go that route, and that it was only a matter of time - a short time - before Cassie wouldn't be with us anymore.
I thought about putting her to sleep then and there but she didn't appear to be suffering too much at that point. Her stertorous breathing spells came and went, and most of the time didn't act too affected. Up through Wednesday, she was still wandering around the apartment and even managed to climb up on the kitchen counter and complain about not getting treats a few times. I decided to keep her at home and let her die quietly and with her family. If she had reached a point where she was suffering too much or became too weak, I'd have taken her in.
But she didn't. She did get weaker and weaker as the week progressed. By Saturday, she would plop down somewhere in the apartment for a little while, then stagger up and plop down somewhere else. Her breathing was pretty heavy and it was obvious she was having trouble getting comfortable anywhere. Toward 9:00 pm or so, it was getting very hard for her to move at all and she had begun to gasp for breath. Sometime between 10:00 and 10:30, she staggered toward the bathroom, nosed around the dirty clothes pile, and then moved out into the hallway, where she collapsed. By this point her sides were moving in and out like a bellows and she was gasping for breath. The end was mercifully quick after that, and I'm glad we were together at the end.
The Monkey was a great cat. She couldn't do tricks and her MRRAAOWL'ing could be annoying but she was never in a bad mood and always affectionate. And I loved watching her with her sister, Emma. It's only been a day, and I don't know if Emms realizes her sister's gone but I'll be watching to see if there's any change in her behavior as they were pretty inseperable as this picture shows:
Here's a link to a video I managed to take on The Monkey's last day.