Katie was someone else's foster 4 years ago. She didn't show well - every time she was brought to adoption events she would hiss and spit and hide in the back of the cage. She even nipped at one lady. This cute little 8-week old kitten seemed to hate people, even though she'd been in foster care for half of her life. But when I sat next to her cage with my kittens, she would paw out of the cage and try to get my attention, so I'd pet her and she'd purr and bump my hand to pet her more...in a nutshell she adopted me. After 3 weeks of watching her stress out at being there, I adopted her myself and brought her home. She is a groomer...always makes sure my hands and my face are clean and well groomed, then bumps at my hand with her little tiny golf-ball sized head to pet her more. She talks so much we swear she's part Siamese in there somewhere.
She's skittish, sometimes very difficult to catch to get into a carrier for a vet visit, so I'm glad that vet visits and shots are only once a year. When all of our cats got put on a diet, feeding them indoor formula cat food to help reduce all of their overweight bodies, Katie is the only one it seemed to work for. After 2 months on the new food she was looking nice and trim and we were pleased. Then a month later she looked like she'd lost even more, then settled in so we thought she was done losing and since she was active, playful, and as skittish as ever, and chasing her best friend Simon around the house as they'd romp all over each other up the cat trees and slide across the bare floor because they couldn't get any traction. Then about 3 weeks ago she started looking right out skinny, so I watched her more closely and saw that she is eating with everyone else and still active but not quite as talkative. I made her an appointment for a checkup since it's time for her annual shots anyway, and when I picked her up I knew there was a real problem. Light as a feather. Get her to the vet on the scale and she had lost half of her body weight, down to a bit over 6# in a year.
Blood tests revealed she is in the final stages of renal failure, which for a young cat is pretty rare. Vet said it usually indicates antifreeze poisoning, but she's never been outside exposed to antifreeze. So he thinks she was born with a genetic anomoly, possibly missing a kidney or with deformed kidneys, and he gives her a maximum of 3-6 months. I don't think she'll last another month.
She's now living in our bedroom so she doesn't have to compete for food. Now she won't eat, even the wet food she has always loved, so I bought her baby food chicken and that she'll eat. The vet is going to prescribe a medication that will relieve the nausea he says she is feeling so she will feel more like eating. She loves sunning herself in the bedroom window and seems to enjoy the peace and quiet. So as my eyes well up with tears knowing that in a very short period of time that will come far too soon, I'll be holding her as she goes to sleep for the last time.
I've never been through this with one of my own - fosters, yes, it's happened a few times, but never my own. I feel like I'm losing a very significant part of me, but I would never keep one alive for me. Quality of life is more important than quantity, and I trust her to tell me when it's time.