Friday, February 14, 2014

Electra's Last Days?

Electra's been with me a long time.  15 years to be almost exact.  She's been with me through three different rentals, where I've lived, with her, and other cats.  She was my second cat.  I've told the story several times on this blog of how she came to be with me.  I'll tell it briefly once more.

She'd been brought to a Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon clinic in Salem, by a Salem trapper I called Saint Vince, a retired 3 star army colonel who turned to helping cats after leaving a long time military career.

Saint Vince is gone now.

She was in a live trap with a sibling, both just teenagers.  Vince had trapped her in Silverton.  She got away from me, when I was transferring her to another trap, in the bathroom, of the under construction building, where the clinic was being held.  She darted up and behind a board, loosely tacked over a former circuit box for the building.  It was all wires in there.

I turned off the main circuit to the building, plunging everything into darkness, fearful she would bite through a wire, start a fire, burn down the building and electrocute herself.  I then climbed onto a chair and reached into that tangle of wires for her, in the dark.  She bit me, lodging her teeth into my thumb joint.  I held on and pulled her out.

Due to FCCO policies she would now need quarantined for ten days, as a precaution against rabies.  I offered to bring her home to the Corvallis duplex I shared with only one other cat, Hopi.  So that's how Electra got her name and how she came to be with me.  And that's why my right thumb joint often swells, if I use it much.  I will always carry that remembrance of Electra with me.

Electra has been struggling the last month, first with a cold, and when she seemed to overcome that, with mouth breathing and lethargy.  Then two nights ago, she began vomiting.  I was up all night with her.  My vet office was too busy to see her yesterday.  She's been in the bathroom on a heating pad, but not eating much.

Today, despite being booked, my vet's office worked her in.  An Xray, that was unbelievably clear, showed her stomach and intestines full of air, from swallowing air in breathing and her lungs damaged from asthma with a gray area near her spine, although it's hard to know where exactly due to angles and Xrays being 2D.  The vet said it could be pneumonia or even a tumor.

She got a steroid shot and a convenia injection and the vet said if she shows no improvement by Monday, she should be euthanized.  Or to bring her back if she starts raking in the air, gasping, which is my great fear, after watching that poor long hair calico die that way, after damaged by an OD of anesthesia during spay surgery that sent her into a four day coma culminating in total heart failure.  That remains one of my worst memories.  I was told that vet clinic, and the others owned by that vet, where also those female cats I took up were damaged in surgery, has been sold and I'm very relieved to hear that.

So here's to Electra and the good old days, of youth and play and love and friends.  Here's to Saint Vince.  She's had so many friends, such a great life.  If it's about to end, so be it.  We all die in the end.  Her life has been grand.

Not that long, maybe a year, after Electra came to live with me, Vince called me.  He told me the old woman who had fed Electra's colony had moved and left the rest of the cats behind.  Would I help retrap them, he asked.  I never turned Vince's requests down.  Not ever.  So off I went and we trapped all those cats left by that woman, once again, and found homes for them best we could. Vince and I.   Electra's family, all of them looked so much like her.  Electra was safe and sound, with me by then a year, away from that woman, never went back, and I was so glad.

My dear Electra, how good life has been with you and all the others.

Electra is on the upper right, cuddled against Starry, from the N. Albany swamp.  Grumbly Rumba, a rescued Siamese from N. Albany is on the left with Slurpy's head against him.  Grumbly Rumba has long since gone to a home.
Here is Electra with Cattyhop, one of the Slaughterhouse kittens, from just off highway 20.  Cattyhop has passed.  She died unexpectedly of a heart attack.
Electra, on the right, with Shady and Teddy.
Electra, with a scraggly rescued kitten. The kitten attached himself to Electra, to her dismay, she not being a great lover of the rescued kittens I would drag home.  She later was good with it, and took over mothering him.

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