I felt a bit guilty yesterday that I wasn’t more upset than I was, but really, I’ve known this was coming for a few months, so I’d already said my goodbyes to Saffy in my head, and yesterday was just the final step of the journey.
She’d lost a lot of weight over the winter (though I didn’t realise just how much until the vet weighed her – the last time he saw her, a few years ago, she was 6kg. Yesterday she was just over 1kg (that’s about 2 pounds, for the benefit of the metrically challenged Americans)), but given her age (about 17), that wasn’t unexpected. Then about a week ago (around the time of Vogue’s passing, actually – I joked with MrPloppy at the time that she was in mourning) she stopped eating. That was a worry, but she was still drinking and going outside to wee, so we decided to hold off the final decision a bit longer. She rallied slightly just before I left for Wellington at the weekend, and started eating a little, but we knew really it wouldn’t be any more than a temporary recovery.
When I got home on Tuesday night she was looking pretty bad. She was even thinner than normal, and her eyes had started getting that sunken look. MrPloppy said she had eaten occasionally over the weekend, but only a few mouthfuls. I had a really busy day scheduled at work on Wednesday, so I suggested we take her to the vet today, before the long weekend. But yesterday morning I woke up to discover MrPloppy wasn’t in bed. I found him asleep on the sofa next to Saffy – he’d got up in the night and she looked so bad (so weak she could hardly walk) that he thought she might die that night, so he’d sat with her for the rest of the night.
I rang work and cancelled my morning’s appointments, then rang the vet. Luckily he was able to see her straight away, so we took her in (and if we hadn’t already realised how ill she was, the taxi trip would have confirmed it – she didn’t make a noise, when normally she would howl continually through any car ride). The vet took one look and said she was massively dehydrated (despite the amount she’d been drinking), and after a quick examination was able to tell us the reason – her kidneys had shrunk to a quarter of their normal size, so she’d gone into renal failure. The vet said the only way she’d survive was with a kidney transplant, and that wasn’t an option (we probably couldn’t afford it even if it was). He said we’d brought her in at the right time – she probably had 48 hours to live, and it wouldn’t have been a pleasant 48 hours for her.
So we said our final goodbyes, signed the release form, and stayed with her while he gave her the injection. She didn’t even struggle when he injected her – she was so weak and tired she just lay there. Afterwards we took her home and buried her in the garden next to Ming.
So George is now an only cat. I don’t think he’s realised it yet (actually, I don’t think we’ve realised it either – we both keep checking the back door to see if she wants to come in (we’ve got a one-way catflap so our cats can go out, but the neighbour’s cats can’t get in)), but he’s destined to be even more spoilt than he is already. A few people have asked if we’ll get another cat, seeing as kitten season is approaching, but I think we’ll stick with being a one-cat family for now (actually, after yesterday MrPloppy said he never wants another pet because he can’t handle having to say goodbye to them).
Thanks everyone for your kind words yesterday. Saffy will be sorely missed, but she had a good long life for a bitsa moggy, and at least we know we did what was best for her in the end.

Saffy in her carrier just before we left for the vet. She didn’t even try to get out of the carrier before we put the lid on it, but just lay there exactly where I’d put her.

In happier times.

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  1. We’ve lost two cats to kidney failure in the last 15 years. The first one we treated very aggressively (and very expensively) and only extended her life by 8 months. The other we took a more laid back approach with just basic dietary changes & occasional fluid therapy and she lived about a year. One was a Persian, the other an exotic (hybrid persian that has short hair) and both of those breeds are known to have kidney problems that usually manifest around 8 years of age.

    It sounds like Saffy lived a long life and I’m sure she was glad to have you as her people.

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