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Just a note on Smudge

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm by flerly.

So, as may or may not be apparent now, Smudge’s sudden potbelly was not afterall the result of nearly a week unattended at the auto-feeder as we had initially thought. It was confusing at first because he seemed fine, just fat, as in he was his usual self, playful, sweet, wanting to be around/on you all the time, tormenting Kitty, so we didn’t worry. Then nearly overnight he seemed to stop eating and just wanted to sleep all the time. Of course, about this time we got company, so we weren’t sure if he was just being his usual shy self around people so we still didn’t really worry. Then as company was leaving and I was trying to carry Smudge around a little just so he could be seen, he really started to groan a lot at being held, which was very unlike him. Then we noticed he wasn’t just fidgety, that he seemed to only want to lay down when he could be propped up instead of lying flat, as if his pot-belly was uncomfortable. He still didn’t really fuss or groan if you touched his belly, but it was more than enough to cause us to want him checked.

As it happens, the vet told us he had FIP, Feline Infetious Peritonitis, which he very likely had since we got him, since he’s always been “running hot” aka a little feverish. Cats can carry the virus for months or years without symptons, but his pot-belly was a sign that it was finally kicking in for him.  It was fluid buildup in his abdomen, which was actually fortunate as the least instantly deadly symptom to develop. If it had been his chest or brain, in all likelyhood we would have come home last weekend to find him dead instead of just fat. Unfortunately, the buildup of fluid at all was a sign that the virus had kicked in and he was terminal, as it would soon progress to his chest or brain.

I guess we were as fortunate as we could be to have a sweet new kitten for the 3 months we had him. It’s still hard to believe it was only 3 months, since he was just so social and inserted himself into our lives so completely. We were also fortunate that he was still alive with the least afflicting sympton, still loving and playful and in very little pain, right up until he was diagnosed. The vet told us that Smudge wouldn’t last more than a few days more and would only be in more and more discomfort, brought us piles of booklets on the illness so we could see the studies showing there has of yet been no successful treatment of the illness, and urged us to put him out of his misery. We certainly didn’t get up Saturday morning thinking we would be making this kind of decision, and even in the face of all the facts and Smudge’s obviously worsening pain it was still such a difficult one. It seemed like forever that we just stared dumbfounded at each other hoping one would pinch the other to wake them up. How do you even say your goodbyes to a pet? I decided to stay with him while it was done, though they wouldn’t let me hold him, and we considered ourselves fortunate again to be homeowners, to have land, so we could take his body home and bury him. We both had the same spot in mind. It’s a nice spot, that I can see from the deck as I write this. Part of me just finds it absurd that one could be so upset over the loss of a pet, and want to have a nice grave and a nice marker and plant something pretty over it, maybe even put a little solar light out so you know right where to look in the evening, but I don’t think we could have done it any other way. I only hope we made his short life a happy one. I think we did. Last night sleeping without him curled up between us was pretty strange, though I know when Kitty finishes checking the house for him she’ll make her way back up to sleep with us. I’ve said it a million times, that I’d never seen a cat so happy to just see you get home that he would start purring loudly just at the sight of you. He was just so loving, so happy to be around us. He is sorely missed already.



  1. Nila has made a Comment

    I am so sorry for your loss. You know I know exactly how you feel. Just try to focus on the time you had with Smudge and how fortunate he was also, to have you and James for his “Mom” and “Dad”. And remember, memories are forever!

    June 29, 2009 @ 4:43 am

  2. April has made a Comment

    Again, I’m sooo sorry about Smudge. I’ve read everything you wrote about him with tears in my eyes. It sounds like he made a grand impression on your home. I’m sure he’s in Kitty Heaven doing what he loves to do.

    June 29, 2009 @ 5:01 am

  3. Heather has made a Comment

    I am so sorry to hear about Smudge. I loved him so much when he lived with us and knew you would be great caretakers. It was hard to give him up and I am saddened to hear that he is no longer around.

    If there is anything I can do, please let me know.

    June 29, 2009 @ 9:13 am

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