Sunday, June 26, 2011

Charlie, Cissy & Cagney……and HAIR

I finally decided it was time to let Charlie go.  I took him to my vet on Monday, June 13th and put him down.  He and I had struggled off and on since May, 2010 with his drastic weight loss.  All of the recriminations were and are there.  It’s tough, but rarely have I lost one of my critters and not questioned myself and what I could have done better.  Losing them brings me face to face with the fact that I do not have all of the answers, I do not have super powers and DEATH is a fact of life.  Death is too powerful an adversary for any of us.  We may win some victories, but we can’t win in the end.  Even though it is inevitable that Death always has the final victory, I will continue to fight for as much time as I can salvage.  I did that with Cissy.  I took her to the vet on Tuesday, June 14th and again on Thursday, June 16th, prepared to put her down.  My guilty conscience over not giving her as much attention as I should have while treating Charlie overruled all else.  I tried treating her chronic renal failure and for a few days, she responded, but by Friday,  June 24th it was obvious she was not going to make it.  I had her put down Friday morning. 

In between this, on Wednesday morning, June 22nd, Cagney the new kitten, wasn’t able to walk on her left front leg.  She was lethargic and not eating.  She was very hot to the touch, so I knew she had a fever.  I took her to the vet early Wednesday morning and her temp was nearly 105 degrees.  Normal for a cat is between 101 & 102.  Although she had her first vaccine about 2 ½ weeks earlier, I felt certain she had limping kitten syndrome from calicivirus.  Calici is hard to eradicate in a multi-cat household.  It first appeared here in 1999 after bringing kittens home from surgery at animal services.  One kitten, Chaz, presented with symptoms.  He didn’t get sick with it, but Clark, Charlise and Catherine got deathly ill from it.  My vet pulled them through, but the ramifications from this disease caused a plague of plasma cell stomatitis to hit my cats, who included Chase, Carly, Bob, Charlie, Chaz, Colt and Courtney.  All of them had most or all of their teeth removed.  Of those cats only Bob, Colt and Courtney are still with me.  I have also lost Clark and Catherine in the past few years.  Needless to say, I was seriously concerned about little Cagney. 

Limping kitten syndrome was seen several years ago and was attributed to vaccinations.  Most kittens showed symptoms within 48 – 72 hours following their vaccination.  They limped, had inflamed joints and fevers.  In many cases, the symptoms went away within a few days.  Since Cagney’s vaccination was over 2 weeks earlier, my fear was she had contracted calici from a carrier in the house and her recovery wouldn’t take the normal route.  With some fluids, to reduce her fever, and force feeding she started showing improvement within a few days and by yesterday she was more active and walking and eating normally.   I can only hope this incident won’t have long term ramifications for Cagney.  It’s to be expected to lose older cats, but it’s devastating for me to lose a kitten.  So much potential never realized. 

The one bright spot this past week was seeing the road company of HAIR at the Bob Carr.  OMGoddess!  This show has been such a big part of my life since college.  I played and played and played the soundtrack to the Broadway play in my dorm room.  I saw the road show at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in 1970.  Yes, I tend to be “a bit” obsessive and HAIR has been an ongoing obsession.  And, if you aren’t familiar with it or haven’t seen it, please DO NOT see the movie.  It’s a complete bastardization of the original play.  If the road show is coming to a town near you, run – do not walk – and buy a ticket.  You won’t regret it.  Most of the road show company has been a part of this play since its revival on Broadway a few years ago and the London company following its run on Broadway.  Although the play dates back to 1967 and is about the Viet Nam war, it is still relevant today.  Some things stay the same:  calls for peace, freedom & clean air. 


  1. RIP Charlie and Cissy. I hope Cagney makes it. You've had a lot of losses lately. I hope you are ok. HAIR sounds like a great getaway. How many times have you seen it?

  2. I'm hanging in. At least my recovery from my surgeries is almost complete.

    I've only seen HAIR twice. I'd love to see it at least once a year. It helps me remember when I once thought the world could be changed for the better and to appreciate even the little things each of us can giving a single cat a chance at a better life.

    Cagney seems to be doing good. Not the total bundle of energy she was, but much, much better.

  3. I'm so so sorry about Charlie and Cissy. It's never easy to lose them, but two so close together must be just heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you. I'm so glad Cagney is doing better. Vaccines scare the crap out of me,and I don't even want to think about calcivirus.

    I actually performed in an um... interesting version of the musical HAIR when I was living in Norway 25 years ago. Now I'll be humming it all evening long. I met a boy called Frank Mills...

  4. There are some REALLY high notes in that song. I hurt myself trying to come close to hitting them. I sang along to the entire soundtrack, under my breath, throughout the show. I couldn't help myself. Love-love-love that music.