The Long Nap

You can stop here if you don’t wish to read anything sad today. It’s already bad enough with COVID and protests, I know.

We lost our cat Sasha yesterday. We’ve always been more prepared for Maya as she is older and has breathing issues, but c’est la vie in 2020. I know friends and family are wondering what happened so I will briefly explain.

Sasha had a sudden neurological episode about a month or so ago which presented itself as listing heavily to the left; she was almost unable to walk. Her head tilted to the left as well, and I stayed home for days to escort her around to eat and use the litter box. She seemed frightened.

Every test at the vet checked out ok. We discovered only that she had a very prominent case of ventral spondylosis of her last lumbar and sacral vertebrae (extra bone growth that fused two back bones together, which explained why she didn’t jump anymore) and she had too much poo in her colon. She was given lactulose to clear that last up. After about a week, she was back to her old self and I was convinced she had an episode of vestibular disease, which matched the symptoms and clears up on its own a lot of the times.

Then she started sleeping more and eating less again. When her eyes became fully dilated and unable to constrict last week, and her third eyelids popped up nearly constantly, the vet found she did not have high blood pressure or glaucoma. He determined she most likely had a brain tumor, with all the symptoms together. As a last chance, though, it could have been a liver disease that presents in neurological function so we tried the lactulose again as it also pulls toxins out of the body. 

At first, that seemed to work which meant we could treat her and she’d recover. Unfortunately, she deteriorated rapidly instead just over the course of a few days. She could stand and walk on her own, but only for a few steps before she was completely exhausted. I took to waking her every few hours, carrying her to the litter box (where she often tried to sleep instead, and could only pee) and putting food in her mouth. When we took her outside to try to perk her up a little, she was completely unaware; she became nearly unresponsive to all stimuli. That’s when we knew the end was near. 

I believe by the end she was blind, possibly deaf, and without the ability to smell. She stopped walking and scratching at the post (she had been, if I’d set her there). She no longer purred in recognition of us, and she hadn’t tried to vocalize for anything. She truly only slept and with tremors. She was still of healthy weight and not soiling herself, but her left eye seemed to pain her, and her little body began having strong muscle contractions.

We gave her the peaceful Long Nap and she rests now just outside the window of my craft room, where she spent nearly all her time.

Maya does have heightened stress, but we think even she knew, as Sasha had stopped responding to Maya grooming her. I’ll spare us all from lamenting with memories. I’ll only add that I’ve never known a cat as special as Sasha; she was our little buddy.