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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Goodbye Mimic

Yesterday afternoon, our cat (or really Brian's cat) Mimic passed away.  We had noticed that he wasn't looking so good over the weekend: he was walking funny, had lost a lot of weight very rapidly, smelled funny, and just didn't look right (though we couldn't exactly pinpoint what was off about him, we just knew he didn't look good).  So we watched him over the weekend and then first thing Monday morning I called the vet and made an appointment for that afternoon.

Mira and I took him in, and Mira was very interested in the whole process.  She knew that there was a doctor for her and a doctor for Mommy, but now she was discovering that there was also a doctor for pets.  On the way to the vet, with Mimic meowing from the carrier in the back, Mira kept saying "key ca" (kitty cat) and "dah ter" (doctor) and "moww" (meow).  And when we got there, she insisted on being held up to the examination table so that she could see what was being done to Mimic and I explained everything as the nurse listened to Mimic's heart with a stethoscope and took his temperature and looked in his mouth.  She was really interested in the whole process.  

Well, anyway,  then the vet came in and asked me to tell her what had been going on to prompt our visit and I tried to explain that Mimic just didn't look right, without really being able to pinpoint what didn't look right about him.  He was still drinking and being affectionate, but he seemed to have lost interest in food, though he did keep approaching the food bowl, he would just sit there next to it instead of actually eating anything.  After she got my version of what was wrong, she said that we were right to bring him in, he's very sick.  She then pointed out what exactly looked wrong with him, which I had been unable to put words to: his eyes were sunken and his skin was pulled in to his bones because of dehydration.  I told her that he has constant access to water and he was still drinking, so I didn't know how he would have become so dehydrated.  She then told me that it could be kidney failure causing the dehydration.

As soon as she mentioned kidney failure I knew...

She felt around on his abdomen and said that she could feel that the kidneys were inflamed.  She then said she'd like to do a quick blood test to confirm her suspicion.  While we were waiting for the blood test results, I called Brian and warned him that it was not looking good.  I asked him if he wanted to be present if it turned out that Mimic needed to be euthanized, and he said yes, so I told him he'd better come on in.  

The test results came back and all confirmed renal failure.  Mimic was rapidly building up toxins in his system as his kidneys shut down and failed to process them out through his urine.  The vet explained that the toxins were probably causing him to feel pain and depression, that there was nothing we could have done to prevent this, and that there was no treatment that would help.  I understood exactly what she was trying to gently get at and let her know that we would like to humanely end his suffering but asked if we could wait till Brian arrived so that he could say goodbye.  They were very accommodating.  

Brian arrived and he had some time with Mimic before he was euthanized.  I thought about taking Mira out to the waiting room, but Brian asked that I stay with him, so Mira just played with the cat carrier in the corner while the procedure was done.  It was very calm and serene.  Brian was petting Mimic as he passed away and Mimic was purring right up to the end, because that's the kind of cat Mimic was.

Well, as we were leaving, Mira noticed that we weren't leaving with a cat.  So she asked "key ca?"  I had been so focused on Brian that I was a little caught off guard by the sudden realization that I now had to explain what was going on to Mira.  As we were getting into the car, I told her, "Mira, the cat was old and sick.  The doctor couldn't help him get better.  He's gone now, he died."  She immediately looked right at me and said, "Dead.  Bye bye."  And it absolutely broke my heart.  That my not-even-two-year-old daughter, who still didn't even get the concept of when to say "me" versus when to say "you", whose spoken vocabulary didn't even yet include words like "fun" and "sing", who seems still so little and vulnerable to me... already she knew all about "dead".  In that moment, I just wanted to hug her close to me and protect her from everything bad that would ever happen to her and never ever let her go.

And I did just that.  For an entire, all-too-brief minute.


Marcy said...

I am so, so sorry to hear about Mimic. That is heartbreaking. =(

laurie said...

What a tremendously touching story, an honor to Mimic and all of you, how you've dealt with his needing to be let go. Really good how little Mira could be there, know enough about death and saying goodbye to say what she did, and be able to be in the presence of such sadness without it frightening or overwhelming her--life lessons too few children get to have this way I think.