Thursday, March 15, 2007


I've put off writing this post because I know it's going to be a downer in a lot of ways. I know also that many people won't want to read through this when they realize where it's headed. Feel free to slip away without commenting or don't even finish reading if you choose. Many people just can't relate to this subject. The one I'm about to actually write about, that is.

Now that I've made this seem all mysterious and secretive...

I'll just write from my heart and lay it all out.

I'm sad. Heartbroken. My sister Cecil mentioned on her last post that one of the newborn kittens that I've been bottle feeding and raising had died. He died Monday morning in the wee hours. He was fine, seemingly perfectly healthy, and then an hour later he was dead. And he suffered awfully, in such pain. His cries, with each breath, broke my heart and the memories are making me tear up even now. There was no time to get him to a vet.

He was only a week old. His eyes and ears never opened. He was so tiny and so loving. He recognized my voice and would crawl towards me.

I was devastated. You might not think you could get so attached to an animal in only a week, but I do. Call me softhearted. I am. Call me silly. I don't think so. Call me compassionate. I am.

I buried him in my front flowerbed, not too far from my dear 17-year old cat who died in 2004, and Cecil's beloved cat who died several years ago.

I've mentioned several times that Cecil and Ducky, two of my sisters, have worked for over 20 years for a veterinarian who is a family friend. A niece and great-niece also work there, and Jessica worked there during her last two years of high school. I have more than a passing knowledge of animal health and have bottle fed and fostered more than a handful of kittens.

We all discussed the kitten's symptoms and were mystified by his sudden crash and death after seeming so healthy and robust.

All during this time, the other kitten, a tiny female, seemed to be doing fine. This morning, she was listless and wouldn't take formula from her bottle. She didn't respond to my voice and my caresses as she had been and seemed to be in pain. She was manifesting the same symptoms her brother exhibited about an hour before he died.

Long story short, Jason took the kitten to the vet clinic and my sisters and all the staff worked on the little girl kitten, doing what they could for her. Nothing obvious stood out in her appearance and symptoms, and after a while she seemed to be doing better. Jason brought her back to me. But as soon as I took her in my hands I knew she was dying, just like her brother. In less than an hour, she was gone, suffering horribly just like her brother before her.

By now we were all upset and totally mystified as to what had made two seemingly healthy and vigorous kittens crash and die in an hour's time, 3 days apart. Jessica came and got the girl kitten's body and took it back to the clinic, where the vet did an autopsy.

The poor baby's kidneys were deformed and enlarged several times their normal size. Apparently they had some kidney function, but as they grew their damaged kidneys couldn't handle the load, and when they reached the critical point, they crashed and died.

There would have been nothing the vet could do, even if they had operated. The poor babies were doomed from birth. It makes me wonder if their mother somehow sensed their internal defects and abandoned them because of it.

Now, some of you might be wondering if this experience will make me hesitate before accepting more kittens, puppies, or whatever kind of babies to raise next time the situation arises. You might also be surprised by my answer.

Right now, at this very minute, if some babies needed mothering, I'd take them in a heartbeat. Yes, I am so sad that those poor dear babies had to die, but for the ones that thrive and make it, the rewards more than offset the grieving for the few that don't make it.

Nature can seem cruel, with her checks and balances, but isn't it the same with all of life? Like it or not, death is the close companion of life.

Tonight I am sad but at peace, knowing I did the best I could for my little feline babies. And the next time the phone rings and some babies need mothering, my heart will give a little leap of joy, no matter if it's human babies or animal babies. All of God's babies need a Mama. I can do that.

In a day or so, I'll be back to my usual self, but for now, I need this time to be sad and to deal with the loss of my babies. I just wanted to check in and let everyone know what's going on with me, and why I haven't posted anything in almost a week.

I also want to be real here, and I thank you all for allowing me that privilege.

Love and blessings to all,


RennyBA said...

I do think you have all the right to be sad and to deal with the loss of your babies. It was a said story!
Hope after all you'll have a nice end to your week:-)

Susie said...

Dear Diane,
I do hope you got the ((hug)) I asked Cecil to give you. I completely understand your grief. Your heart is good, kind and tender. Let it heal and know we're here when you're ready!
love and ((hugs))

Linda said...

Oh Diane, I am so sorry. Of course you're sad. Your poured so much love and time and care into those little babies. You are so sweet and tender-hearted. I know you would do it all again - and will do it all again at some point. It's amazing how attached we can get to those little critters.
Take your time. You are such a special lady.

zzop357 said...

You know how I feel....There's one 19 year old baby gonna need her Mama
real soon now.I know you'll be there,and so will I.
I can hardly wait for Little Miss
Emmy. Love you Sister

BooMama said...

Love that tender heart of yours...

Morning Glory said...

Compassionate and softhearted are two admirable traits. I'm so sorry about such a sad happening. I hope you feel better soon.

Barb said...

We're all God's creatures, Diane. There's no way to say the loss of any of us is more or less important.

I'm sorry for you because I can tell this broke your heart.

And I understand that. xoxoxo

Big Mama said...

I love your heart. I understand your sadness, we had to put one of our dogs to sleep right after Caroline was born and I cried for days. It's hard to lose something that you've loved and cared for.

I'm sending a big hug your way.

Dawn said...

I knew something had to be wrong. The university I work with actually has counselors for those in mourning over the death of a pet - we have the top vet school in the country. It must be a very important service. Blessings!

We had to put down two cats within weeks of each other from kidney problems - one had kidney failure and the other kidney stones. My husband still mourns.

Cecil said...

Working for a vet doesn't make it any easier to have to watch something suffering and make the decision to euthanize an animal. We once put a cat to sleep years ago that had been hit by a car.. her back was broken and it could not be repaired.. even with surgery.. she purred the whole time I held her.. even when my boss gave her the shot to end her short life.. she purred the whole time and I cried the whole time.. I've never forgotten that.. I don't care if it's a human or an animal, God created them all and each and everyone deserves to be loved... should you not care about something because it has something wrong with it or you know it may die?? My answer to that is ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I have a job that is not always easy but then neither is life. We sometimes stand by patients at the end of their lives and cry with the owners who consider them.. not pets.. but children and family members. And if another little baby needs love and care, I know just who to call... :) ... No, death is not easy.. in any capacity.. but love is. And I am grateful to have people like Diane around who care enough to take the time to help anytime, anywhere with all life... human and well.. the ones who can't care for themselves. I applaud you, Diane! Keep on keeping on!! Love ya more.. Hope this helps... :)

Sister said...

Dear Diane,
There is nothing that I wouldn't have done for my "boys". They were so very precious to me and brought us so much love and joy. You need to grieve the loss of your kitties, and never doubt that they knew they were loved.

Andrea said...

I totally understand your soft heart because I have one too. Take your time processing and feeling everything...we'll be here when you get back. :)

Greeneyes said...

I am so sorry to hear this , it is so sad , I cried reading it , and wish I could give you a big hug ,and help in some way .
your heart is so wonderful , I knew I liked you from the first time we met, your softheartedness and compassion are some of the reasons you are loved . You should take some comfort in knowing that these two babies had the comfort and love from you till the end , you did everything you could and more .
If you need or want to chat , I am here and I hope your heart stays just like it is , Beautiful.

HUGS of the Big and Squishy KIND
your friend ,
miss G

Lyndy said...

Oh Diane what a wonderful heart you have. I would feel exactly the same way. I am a huge animal lover and my 14 year old black Persian is never far from my side.

Sending you big hugs.

Kristen said...

Oh I am so sad for you and it is completely natural to mourn the loss of pets. Especially ones that you have been nurturing. I could hardly read this because it made me want to cry. :-(

I am so sorry about your sweet kitties. Hugs from me.

Tammy said...

I'm so glad your loving touch was the last they felt!!
(((huge hugs))) to you my friend!!

momteacherfriend said...

You poured your heart into those little babes. God bless!

Jen said...

Ohhh im sori Diane
Big Hugs
We use to have rabbits and for some reason the little babies kept dieing eventually it was too sad and we gave the rabbits away
You are a lovely caring compassionate lady and I am blessed to call you a bloggie friend
Praying for u

Mountain Mama said...

You have a true mother's heart Diane. I'm so sorry you lost the kittens. We all know how hard you tried to save them and the time and heart you put into it too. It's an awful blow and I just wish I could give you a big hug make it all ok.
God bless and comfort you dear.

Clemntine said...

We hand-raised baby cottontails every spring when Mr. Clem would mow our little acreage for the first time. Half of them died, the other half became happy inhabitants of our "farmlet". I'd do it again tomorrow.

BTW, when things have settled on your end, I have a pretty pressing cat question for you. No hurry.

Granny said...

Of course you're sad. I've been through it many times and it's always so hard.

We lost our youngest kitten last week. Healthy one day, gone the next. I think I know how you feel.

I believe compassion to be the finest of the virtues with empaty running a close second.

Take care and hugs

Brenda said...

Bless your tender, selfless, giving heart. Love you!

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

I'm right there with Boomama - love your tender heart.

Lisa said...

Oh heartbreaking. I am so sorry, and admire you so much for doing all that you have for them.

Alex said...

this is a big hug just for you

Meow said...

Oh Diane, I have tears streaming down my face as I type this. It must have been awful for you, to see those little babies suffer and die like that. Poor babies. At least they received lots of love from you in their short lives ... I'm sure they loved you ... you were their mum. You are a remarkable woman, so loving and compassionate. Don't ever feel weird about feeling such love for the four-legged people in our world ... I know exactly where you are coming from. I would have been devastated had I been in your position. Big hugs and luv from me to you.
Take care, Meow xx

Nashe* said...

That SO did not happen.

Judith said...

I am so sorry you're feeling so sad. You're always so loving and caring and helpful. I hope it helps at least a little, knowing you are loved.