Sweetpea had been declining these past few weeks in spite of increasing her sub c fluids to twice a day. Her symptoms indicated either liver issues or lymphoma. Due to her age and frailty, we decided against testing and opted to let her go before she suffered more. We had the vet come to the house yesterday afternoon and her passing was peaceful. I held her in my lap with her head cradled in my hand as she crossed over.
|Recently eating baby food.
This past week we pampered her with fresh salmon, grilled hamburg and other favorite foods which she ate with gusto. She even played with her feather toy if only for a few minutes. She asked to go out on the porch and enjoyed the fresh air. It was as if she was doing everything one last time. She spent a lot of time on our laps even tho she was not much for that normally. We refrained from giving fluids and meds for the last two days - she was resisting them lately and we preferred to not upset her.
|As a kitten
Sweetpea was a feisty girl from the get go as tiny as she was. I noticed her with the feral colony back in the winter of 2000 - a tiny fierce kitten with matted fur and skin issues. She was all black, long haired with a white locket of fur on her chest and long white ear tufts. After a heavy snowfall Sweetpea and the others didn't show up at the feeding station for a few days and I was worried sick about her. I made plans to trap her as soon as she came back.
Sweetpea was the first of this feral group to be brought indoors. She was so wild that the vet who examined her had to sedate her to do it. Still groggy from the sedative, we bathed her at home in the bathroom sink and treated her skin. Sweetpea spent weeks in the bathroom while we worked hard to tame her.
|Kitten Sweetpea in her bathroom
Once she accepted us and life inside, we introduced her to our two cat Chica and Yoko, ages 7 and 6 at that time, respectively. Sweetpea was so in your face with a larger than life personality, she intimidated the two older cats. Eventually they all adjusted.
|Sweetpea on left, Chica and Yoko
Sweetpea was very independent, innovative and self sufficient. Her tiny size was not an obstacle for her. She had minimal jumping skills but she could hook her claws on to something and shimmy up to where she wanted to be. Climbing was her super talent and she used it often. During her first Christmas inside with us, she found a quiet spot to nap in the upper branches of the Christmas tree. I panicked thinking she got out but finally found her there sound asleep, hardly visible being black.
|Her extra long fangs showed
She preferred to be up high and I would find her on the top of bookshelves, cabinets etc. She had a habit of falling asleep sitting up and would fall off her high perch to land safely right side up on the floor wondering how she got there.
|With Chica and Don in 2000
She chose when and where we could pet her. She came to us when she wanted affection. She preferred Don for some reason. I think it was because he ate meat and I didn't. Sweetpea would sit next to him as he ate with her paws on his leg or TV table waiting for a bite.
|A few weeks ago
She was inquisitive and very playful. Everything was a game to her. I caught her once sitting on my dresser puling the clothes out of the partially opened drawer and dropping them on the floor! She loved helping me make the beds, hiding under the sheets or chasing the billowing sheets as I spread them on the bed. Sweetpea played "attack" with the clothes on the drying rack while laying on the floor. She did this with our jackets over the back of the kitchen chair.
|Playing on a chair
|Rearranging my dresser drawers
|Playing with the laundry
In 2016 she was diagnosed with late stage renal disease and severe hyperthyroidism. The vet did not think she had much time left as she could not tolerate the meds for hyperthyroid cats. I found herbal blends to treat both and she did well on them with sub c fluids for two years. Last fall she began losing weight and muscle tone. She stopped grooming and we had monthly appointments to let the vet trim her wonky claws and shave her mats. I knew she was winding down but her indomitable spirit was still in her. I called her my Energizer Bunny as she kept going and going.
|Pensive moment recently
We spoke to an animal communicator this past week and Sweetpea was ready to go to Spirit. She was tired and felt that all I was doing for her was not helping her be comfortable anymore. She asked to pass at home with us and that was how we did it. Sweetpea was the last of my first feral colony. I hope that they were all there to welcome her to the other side. She lives on in both of our hearts until we meet again.
Sweetpea's gift to us was her ability to live in the moment and always find joy each day no matter how sick she was. She loved life and would have liked to stay with us longer but it was not meant to be. She is buried next to Darby above Mamacita in our pet cemetery. Losing three within six weeks has taken a toll on me. Bear with me as I get back to you with thanks for your support and comments during this sad time.