Autism And My Pet Losses
Obviously the title says it all! In this blog I am going to talk about how the loss of my two cats Angel and Simon have affected me. Angel died first but I'm going to start with Simon because he was the most recent cat to go to the Rainbow Bridge. I won't give every single detail of what happened but I'll discuss a little. At the top of this blog is the link to a You Tube video I made. I wrote a song called "When A Rainbow Appears In Skies" which can apply to any pet including my Angel puss at the Rainbow Bridge. In this song I included some of my last words to Simon as lyrics. I'll talk more about this lovely song later.
Simon came to my back door meowing away in 2002. I opened the door thinking it might have been an abandoned human baby!! When I opened the door here was this beautiful black cat!! He was all "purry" and LOVED food!! A few months later I took him in! Somebody must have abandoned him as he was already neutered. Had the vet look for I.D. that might have been on him and they didn't find anything. He was officially mine!! He gave me ten years of GOOD luck!! Now I'll talk about when he got sick.
Simon started getting sick in early 2013. Usually he "wolfed" down his food!! He was always obsessed with food. Also he would purr while he ate!! I am NOT kidding! Never have I met a cat who purred while eating. Simon would often give head butts too. Simon was very talkative as well. These behaviors told me he was healthy until that one day in 2013 when everything seemed to change.
When I fed Simon he didn't seem to want to eat. In addition he seemed grouchy. Normally he was everyone's friend. Simon purred very little or none at all. This saddened me. When I took him to the vet, he (the vet) was baffled and couldn't figure out what on earth was going on!! Everything seemed fine physically. All his blood panels were normal too. I noticed also that he had trouble defecating and seemed to be straining. He was treated for gut motility (food stayed in the system for too long) but there was more. I'm not going to bore you with all the details. If you wish to hear a video of my talking about Simon it is on my You Tube. I have two videos. One is called "Autism and My Emotional Support Animals (When They're Sick)" and the other is the follow up called "In Memory Of Simon." My You Tube name is Dee73kz if you wish to see those videos. :)
There are a few things that I do have to mention but not to worry it won't take too long. One day in June, 2013 I saw him circling counter-clockwise non- stop! Never had I seen a cat do that!!! I couldn't even distract him. He had been pacing constantly before this....I describe that pacing as walking like a caged tiger...like you might see in a zoo. In my own opinion I think his aggressiveness got worse over time and sadly I got bitten, hissed, spat at, etc. This was very difficult for me. Simon would often sit and stare at the wall with a blank stare and would be in what I perceived to be a "hunched" position. It's almost like part of his spirit had already gone. :( Also he was VERY quiet and not talkative like he used to be.
Now I'll get to the absolute worst day of this "roller coaster" ride. One night he walked with his head hung so low. Then he started looking for places to hide in my basement. Finally he wasn't able to stand let alone walk. I knew what I had to do the next day...it was the wee hours of the morning and to make matters worse it was a Sunday. I made a pillow bed in my room for him and tried to make him as comfortable as I could. His head just flopped...he couldn't even hold his head up. Before I took him to the emergency vet I noticed he had a profound head tilt to the left and would no doubt fall to the left. This made me very sad. :( I told him to please "wait for me" at the Rainbow Bridge and that just as I gave him his medication because I loved him so too was I doing this final act of kindness because I loved him. At an earlier time I told him to have a safe journey to the "Bridge."
I spent a little private time with him at the vet before he made his way to Rainbow Bridge. I couldn't bear to stay in the room while the euthanasia was being administered but I knew he was in good hands. Before the vet euthanized him a physical exam was performed. He had uneven pupils. Really I think all these symptoms add to what I dreaded the most....a BRAIN TUMOR!!!! I shuddered at that thought!!! Another shuddering theory I wonder about is is it possible that cancer started in his gut and spread (metastasized) to his brain?! Oh how I hate cancer with a passion!!!!
It had been raining that June 23rd, 2013 the day when he was euthanized. This gave me an idea for a song I'd later write!! I will now talk about how I came up with that song.
I decided the title of my song would be "When A Rainbow Appears In Skies" because a number of days before Simon was euthanized I saw a rainbow in the sky. I was enjoying a smoothie in Tim Horton's and looked out the window. Simon was at home VERY sick and I had to think about this awful "decision." Soon as I saw that rainbow I thought of Simon being all healthy once again and hopefully meeting up with another cat whom I lost four years ago named Angel. The tears likely flowed down my cheeks. I sure hope nobody saw me!! Every time I see a rainbow I now think of my Simon puss romping around once again. Other pets too! Because it had been raining the day he was euthanized I thought of the rain as being cleansing and healing. When Simon was healthy he had a "sparkle" in his eye that usually said either "trouble," "mischief," or "feed me!!!" Well when he started getting sick that sparkle left his eye and became nothing but blank stares. I imagined the refreshing rain washing his eyes after going to the Rainbow Bridge. I have a figurine of an angel holding a cat. To me angels holding an animal such as a cat can represent comfort and healing. There are vets right here in the physical. Well I think of an angel holding a cat or other animal as a vet angel or animal carer at the Rainbow Bridge. An angel had healed Simon at the Rainbow Bridge....once again that "sparkle" had returned to his gorgeous yellow eyes! He was a gorgeous black bombay cat with yellow eyes. Excellent ideas for a song I thought!! In this song I take the listener on this emotional roller coaster ride I had to endure for almost SIX months!!!
This is a shortened version of Simon's story. One that probably seems quite unique to many people. I miss my "baby black panther" and black cat who brought me "good luck!"
Here you can see a little "sparkle" in his eyes!! I think he's conveying love with his eyes in this photo but there could be some mischief brewing!!
A memorial picture of my Simon
Angel was the very first cat I ever got! I live with autism and it is very lonely. Often I don't feel I relate well to people. Before I got Angel I was living in a "shell" meaning not getting out very much or interacting with people. Just basically kept to myself. After I had first moved it seemed so weird not having an animal in the house!! I grew up with dogs and we had them all my life so of course all of a sudden not having animal companionship would be foreign to me. Much as I like dogs I actually figured a cat would be a better fit for me. A cat obviously can be litter trained and I'd fall in love with all the purrs I would receive.
Even though I had been around dogs all my life I was exposed to cats. I remember as a little girl going to the babysitter's farm. There were barn cats and barn kittens there!! I believe that is where my love of cats may have started. Plus we did have cats for a little while but it was mostly dogs.
OK. Now it's time for me to tell you Angel's story. Here where I live it gets mighty COLD in January!! My friend had been doing recycling in the town's recycling shed when she heard this cat meowing and crying. It's just as well I wasn't there because I probably would have began to cry big time!! My friend saw this poor kitty under a fire truck all cut up and cold. My friend tried so hard to find out if anyone owned this beauty but it turned out she was indeed a stray. However she wouldn't be a stray much longer!! ;) My friend called me that day and asked if I wanted a cat!!! I of course gave a resounding YES!! I had no problem choosing a name for this cat. Had a very fitting name in mind. I would spend ten wonderful years with "Angel."
I began to interact and go out more. The changes probably were very subtle but Angel was helping me a LOT!!
Things were going well with Angel until one December day in 2008. I noticed Angel falling over when she tried to walk! I of course panicked. To make a long story short, she was put on antibiotics thinking it was an infection of some sort. I had so hoped the medication would help but it didn't. Sadly I had to have her euthanized March 11, 2009. I at one time thought maybe she had a brain tumor but after witnessing Simon's symptoms I think she might have had an abscess that made its way upward. Her eye was swollen shut, there was swelling on her head, but she didn't lose her personality. She just slept all the time. Simon completely lost his personality when he was sick.
There I stood thinking she be getting a routine ear flushing done as I think this infection made its way to her ear. Vet told me she was suffering and that she should be euthanized. My heart sank. I signed the consent form and waited in the waiting room as I was very uncomfortable watching her being euthanized. I cried my eyes out.
Currently while I'm writing this blog I only have my Siamese cat Misty. She means the world to me. Now I have a fear each time I've had a cat for 10 years because that's how long I had Angel and Simon. However I have had Misty for 14 years! So far she is still very healthy! Let's hope it stays that way. I know that when the dreaded day happens I will NOT be "cat-less." I'm sure all my fur babies from the Rainbow Bridge would want me to be happy and who knows....maybe they'll help send me the next bundle of joy! I plan to one day write a blog and a song that goes in to more detail of why it is so important for me to have cat company!! It'll be a song about my living cat!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and listening to "When A Rainbow Appears In Skies."
Angel wearing a birthday hat!! She looks so cute in this photo!!
A memorial picture of Angel.