Today I had to say goodbye to my smallest fur baby. Jace was a one in a zillion cat. He had jet black, silky fur, striking green eyes, and the desire for love and affection from all walks of life. He traveled as a kitten from California to Kentucky as a gift to me, and though I hadn't wanted a cat at the time, I wouldn't have traded him for the world.
For a year he lived with me and my dog Buckshot in a vets office. During that year he stole hundreds of hair ties and hid them in his stash under my bed just where I couldn't see them. He would never let me go to the bathroom alone, and he loved walking around the office when I had to check on sick animals.
Buckshot was his big brother, and though he was terrified of him at first, they eventually became cuddle buddies and spent lots of time playing together. People who didn't know any better thought that poor Jace was getting mauled by my 70 lb lab mix, but had they known, Jace was the instigator. He loved to pick on his big brother.
Then we got Ares. Ares had so many problems as a puppy, and Jace absolutely loved him. While Buckshot was his buddy too, Jace much preferred the German Shepherd to him. They would chase each other all over the apartment, and occasionally you would see them laying next to each other (though you never could get the camera out fast enough to capture the moment haha)
Then it was discovered that we were one animal over the amount the apartment would allow us to have (this apartment was after the vets office). My sister stepped up to taking care of him until Jordan and I were moved out on our own, which would be around 6 months. At her house, he had a puppy named Margot and a kitten named Ajani to play with. He adored both of them very much in his time with them.
Once Jordan and I began to move into his parents house was when we brought Jace back there to stay, but we noticed he had lost a lot of weight. Because of all the moving he had done in a 6 month span, I figured he was stressed. On top of being stressed, I worried he may have become a little depressed because he went from a home with two large dogs, to a home with a dog and a cat, to a home with no other animals inside with him (Buck and Ares are outside dogs now with Jordan's dad going through treatments). On top of everything else, Jordan and I were constantly in and out of the house, so I figured he felt very unsettled in the middle of all these things.
On Monday I noticed that he had yellowing of the skin. Though it was very slight, it was enough to scare me into making sure he would get to the vet the next day. I knew he hadn't been eating much, but I hadn't thought it was so bad he would get jaundice.
We took him to the Vet on Tuesday to see what we could do to get him to feeling better. We were willing to do anything and everything. The vet was very impressed with my clinical knowledge of what could possibly be going on with him as well as the steps we would need to take to diagnose him to the best of our ability. During the physical exam, it was discovered that there was a mass in his abdomen. I had noticed it before when picking him up, but I thought he had finally gotten hungry and over ate, so I hadn't thought a whole lot about it. I should have though....Then we started with blood work.
His liver enzymes came back in fairly good order. Surprisingly they weren't out of whack, though all on the low side, so liver disease was right around the corner if we couldn't get it in check soon. The CBC is where things got bad. His white blood count was at 2. It should have been between 5-19. His platelet count? Basically non-existent. Before the vet could even explain those things to Jordan I was in tears. In all my years of working with animals, I hadn't seen levels so low and I knew what it meant.
With the mass being in his lower abdomen, we had first wondered if maybe this was a blockage. He wasn't really eating, he wasn't really doing much of anything, so it seemed logical, the only thing that made both the vet and I concerned was that if it were a blockage, it should have hurt when we were palpating his abdomen and he never seemed to mind that. With the blood work back, we realized very quickly that this probably wasn't a blockage. I opted for x-rays, hoping that maybe a good picture of what we were feeling might explain something more.
Unfortunately the x-rays weren't good. The mass was irregularly shaped and there was a lot of excess fluid in the abdomen that clouded the rest of his intestines. All of this, along with the blood work, was pointing to cancer or FIP...either one was a death sentence. The vet and I talked about all of our options. Sending more blood work to check for FIP, going ahead and trying to do an exploratory surgery even though his blood counts suggested he wouldn't make it out, or going ahead and ending his suffering.
With all the vet bills we had just accumulated in a week's time, and the grim outlook of how a surgery would go, I had to convince Jordan that euthanasia was our best option.
I hated myself. I should have known he was sicker than he was. I should have paid more attention to him and saw the signs he was trying to give me a couple weeks ago. I was too busy trying to move, and then busy with Ares having complications from his own simple surgery that I missed everything. After talking to the vet, he told me that I had made every assumption that anyone with my experience would have made, and that I am not at fault for it. Another vet told me the same thing, so I finally quit blaming myself, but I still feel guilty because had we caught this a few weeks ago...we possibly could have saved my baby.
So today we laid him to rest. We took away all his pain and suffering and allowed him to cross that Rainbow Bridge. My heart hurts, Jordan hurts...this has been such a long year already for us, but at least now I know I won't have to worry about how much pain Jace is in.
I love you, my green eyed love bug. Forever and always...