Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jewel's Journey

Jewel laying inside her pink kitty cube while Carmine watches over her from a pile of books beside the cube.It's been nearly a year since Jewel went to the Rainbow Bridge.  I cannot believe it's been nearly a year already.  It feels like yesterday that I lost my precious baby.  

I haven't talked about Jewel's last days with hardly anyone.  It's so painful.  But it's time to share this with all of you.

I apologize if this is difficult to read.  I appreciate your support so much as telling this story is very hard for me.

Some of you might remember Jewel's last vet visit.  While her blood pressure tested as "borderline high," her blood tests showed significant improvement in her BUN and creatinine levels.  In fact, there was so much improvement, I wondered if they had accidentally switched Jewel's sample with another cat's!  Her BUN was 2.9 in April, 2014 and went down to 2.3 in early August.  Her creatinine was 64 in April and went down to 32 in August.

I am holding Jewel in my arms.  Carmine is to my right and Milita is to my left.

Even though her test results were baffling, I had a lot of hope for the first time in months that Jewel would be with us for Christmas.  I was overjoyed that she would be staying around for a while longer so I could continue to spoil and love her.  I desperately wanted to make up for her first 14 years when she was mistreated by her former owner.

Right after that vet visit, though, I began to notice some changes in Jewel's behavior that worried me.  Jewel began to lay down to eat her kibbles instead of sitting or squatting by the bowl.  Additionally, there were some nights she started not begging for human food at dinnertime, which was incredibly unusual for her.  She used to get so excited about dinnertime that she'd sit by the coffee table and demand food from us before it was even on our plates!  Jewel was also defecating outside the litter box.  She always had a habit of doing this occasionally, but she would always make it to the bathroom before she left me a present on the floor.  After her last vet visit though, she began to defecate in the bedroom and living room.

Jewel lays inside her soft kitty cube.
These behaviors definitely concerned me, but I didn't think it was too serious.  I thought maybe my precious baby was still hurting from her severe arthritis and planned to talk with the vet about giving her better pain relief.  Jewel was already on Adequan injections and Cosequin, and that didn't seem to be enough for her.  It made me really sad and upset to think that my baby was still hurting so much.  Being a chronic pain sufferer myself, I knew what she was going through, and I knew I had to find a way to get her more relief.

I hope and pray that nobody judges me for this, but I couldn't afford to take Jewel to the vet for another week and a half.  Of course if she had shown signs that she needed to see a vet right away, I would have done whatever I needed to to get her to the vet.  But the changes I saw just made me think that we needed to rethink our treatment plan for her pain.  I hated seeing her hurting; it broke my heart.  Some nights, I'd just sit and cry because it hurt me so much to see her hurting.  I just hoped and prayed that she could hold on for a few more days so we could get her some relief.

Unfortunately, things went downhill rapidly after that.  Some of you might remember this post from August 26th where I asked for some urgent purrs and prayers for Jewel.  Jewel had stopped eating nearly all together at this point.  Granted, it was always difficult to know what she would eat.  We were forever guessing at what might stimulate her appetite, but we were usually able to find something she would eat.  Not this time.  She turned her nose up at everything.  Her appetite stimulants didn't even get her to eat.

Jewel sits outside her pink kitty cube. There is a bag of treats by her.
What was especially concerning though, was that Jewel even stopped eating treats!  Jewel lived for treats.  She loved treats more than any other cat I've ever met.

Jewel was also spending a lot of time in her soft kitty cubes at this point.  She always loved her cubes, but in the months before her passing, she was usually pretty social.  She'd spend time in her pink bed by the couch, come over and demand treats from me, and spend time with my friend D.

I also noticed that Jewel stopped crying when I stuck her with the needle for her subcutaneous fluid treatments.  Every single time I gave Jewel subcutaneous fluids, I said, "Here's a little poke, Jewel," and then I'd stick her (which I hated doing!) and she'd let out a big, "RAOW!"  I joked that she was cussing me out.  But in her last week or so, she stopped raowing at me when I stuck her.  After her subcutaneous fluid treatments, Jewel always got rewarded with treats.  In her last week, she began refusing treats.  Instead, she'd just walk off after her treatments were over.

I am sitting in a Wendy's booth with Jewel.  Jewel's head is poking out of her soft cat carrier.
I knew the end was nearing when Carmine stopped supervising Jewel's subcutaneous fluid treatments.  From the very beginning, Carmine supervised every single treatment.  He'd sit right by me and watch his dear friend carefully to make sure she was okay.  In her last few days, Carmine didn't bother to stick around to supervise.  While I was very concerned about Jewel before this, Carmine's refusal to supervise the fluid treatments told me loud and clear that Jewel's time was coming.  It was a stab in the heart.

Because Jewel stopped eating all together, I called the vet and asked her what to do.  She agreed to prescribe us some a/d critical care cat food so we could syringe-feed her.  We ran out immediately and picked some up.  We syringe-fed her for a couple of days.  Jewel would swallow the food when it was in her mouth, but she definitely wasn't interested in eating on her own.  I could tell she was losing a lot of weight, and it really scared me.

The day before we helped her to the Rainbow Bridge, my friend D woke me up, and he was crying.  He doesn't cry much, so I knew something was seriously wrong.  He said something about Jewel, and I jumped out of bed and went to her.

I am snuggling Jewel on the couch while I have a nap.

She was laying on the kitchen floor by her fountain.  She looked spent.  She was done.  She made it clear that her body was giving up.  I called a veterinarian's office where a friend of mine is a vet and scheduled an "end of life consultation" for the next day.  I know it was really selfish of me, but I wanted one last night with my baby.  I needed that time to say good-bye to her.

I sat on the floor with my baby and cried.  My heart was breaking, and I couldn't imagine letting her go the next day.  We did our very best to make Jewel comfortable.  I carried her everywhere I went from the time I woke up to the time we helped her to the Bridge.

Next week, I'll tell you about Jewel's final night with us.  I'm sorry if this is hard to read.  Thank you so very much if you've read this.  I appreciate your support and friendship so very much.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful, Sierra. Thank you for sharing these precious moments with your baby and I hope it brings you some comfort and peace to write it all out. Jewel could not have asked for a better Mommy, her couple years with you were most likely the best she had ever had. I was talking with a friend last night and he told me, with regards to animals, that all we can do is our best when it comes to our precious pets. It's so true.

  2. So very hard to loose a loved one, prayers for wooos peace and respects,

    NukNuk & Family

  3. Sierra, thank you for sharing about your last days with Jewel. I know how difficult this must have been for you, and like Melissa, I hope that it has brought you some peace to share about it. Jewel was so blessed to have had you in her life to give her so much love and attention. She couldn't have asked for a better mom! And I know you were blessed to have had her as well. Sending lots of hugs and love your way from the KCC Gang!

  4. It is so hard to bare your heart like this, and we send masny hugs and purrs.
    ((((( ♥ )))))

  5. It's hard to read, but only because I made that journey, myself, with my beloved Indi. We managed with CRF for a year and a half--and at this point of the story, she died in my arms overnight. I know all about the highs and lows of having a cat with CRF, and in the end, though we shed a million tears, it is worth every minute of it. Thank you for sharing your story. Jewel was a lucky cat to have found you.

  6. It's ok to share. Sometimes you need that and everyone here understands. You weren't selfish - how can you be selfish for wanting to love someone as long as possible? Hugs and purrs - Alana and Crepes.

  7. It is hard to read, but this is part of your healing process. I, too, remember that fateful night when Sweet Praline refused to eat treats and I knew the end was near.

  8. I'm so sorry you and Jewel had to go through this. My human knows how tough it is to go through all this - she was dealing with the same thing with Sparkle right about the same time.

  9. It must be incredibly hard for you to share Jewel's last hours with us. I hope that putting it into print and sharing with us, your friends, can bring you some comfort. Jewel was lucky to have you to care for her.

  10. Thank you for sharing, especially as my cat has just turned 17 and is dealing with kidney disease, arthritis, and maybe hyperthyroidism. It helps me know what may lay ahead for us. I understand about not taking Jewel to the vet right away - costs as well as the added stress on our furry friends of going to the vet weigh heavily on many of us. And sometimes it is not clear that it is the right time. I hope that your sharing what happened with Jewel also helps you know that you did the right thing at the right time. Saying goodbye is really hard, but your story shows that you did so with Jewel with her best interests in mind. Take care.

  11. Sierra - thank you for sharing your story. I know how difficult it must have been for you, because I know that sometimes we feel if we perhaps don't talk about losing a pet, that maybe they really didn't go. Having to put it into words is very difficult, but it is also therapeutic and you are definitely not alone in what you had to go through. Bless you for giving Jewel such a loving home - it may not been for as long as you wanted, but for Jewel, it was everything. xoxoxo

  12. Sierra I fully understand. It had taken me two years to be able to share some of what Abby and I went through. There are times when I think others may be tired of hearing me talk and talk and talk about this subject but I feel so much still. I haven't ever talked about the final end and I don't know if I should. I think what you wrote was very heartfelt and trying to speak about what is in your heart is difficult. Both Jewel and Abby knew the unconditional love we have for them and they were both honored and grateful for all we did for them.

  13. This is so very beautiful, Sierra, and thank you so much for sharing it with the world. I am so very sorry you lost your beloved Jewel, but she will live forever in your heart and memories.

  14. Oh yea, we know how tough that was, and we could feel your heart breaking. We remember that hard time and send you love and hugs.

  15. Sierra, having gone through this myself with a CRF kitty, I can so relate to how you felt and what you were going through. I know you did all you could for sweet Jewel. I hope sharing your story with all of us brings you some comfort. (((hugs))) ~Island Cat Mom

  16. I have tears in my eyes after reading this, because so much of it reminded me of Buckley's last few weeks and months. It's heartbreaking to have to go through this, and sharing it brings it all back, but I hope it also brings some healing for you. Jewel was fortunate to have someone love her as much as you did, all the way to the very end.

  17. Oh Sierra, I'm so sorry for all you've gone through. Thank you for sharing your last moments with Jewel. You did all you could and you did it with great compassion and love. I have to believe that she knew that.


  18. This would be hard to read at any time, but especially after losing Cameron in March. Just yesterday I counted cats waiting for their breakfast and realized one was missing. Then I remembered he's been gone for a while. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks Sierra for taking the time to share Jewel's final days... your love for her shows in everything you did for her. Its okay that you had to wait so long to share...

    I know what it's like to agonize over our babies... Got several things going on right now with my rescued kids and having trouble sharing too... Purrz and Prayers, Katie Kat.

  20. Sorry I am a day late, I wanted to read this, but didn't want to be sad. It breaks my heart to hear Jewel had so many years of mistreatment. I am glad she was loved in the end.

  21. Please don't beat yourself up over any of jewel's treatments or lack of. You loved jewel so much and did the best you could for her.

  22. Thank you for sharing. TW still can’t really talk about Nicky’s last day and that was 10 years ago. She did share a lot about it when she tolked with Melissa after Truffles passed. They both died the same way.