Something is wrong. In my heart I'm hoping it's a cold, just your average cold that every human being on the planet gets several times a year. But as Doug looks at me and says, "Some thing's just not right with Joey," I know what he means. All day yesterday our new sweet Joey has been laying around the house seeming very lethargic, not playing or doing much. Just sleeping a lot. It doesn't diminish his sweetness. He still looks for a warm lap to snuggle up on. He still cries if Hadley holds him too tight. He still allows Delaney to hold him and play with him during her quiet time. Once I look at his food dish and realize that he has ate nothing all day long, I know something bad is about to unfold.
So this morning after I drop off the girls at preschool, I take Joey to his first check-up since adopting him on Friday night. He lays in my lap sleeping soundly while we wait for the doctor to come examine him. I rub his fur and he snuggles closer. Oh I just love kittens. I love how small they are. I love how they can fit in the palm of your hand. I love their little meows. I love when you walk into a room they come flying in behind you at 60 miles per hour.
The doctor comes back into the room after we have agreed to run the kitten parvo test "just to be safe." The look on her face tells me what I need to know. Joey has feline panleukopenia virus which is a severe intestinal tract disease that destroys the lining in the GI tract allowing bacteria to infect the bloodstream. It is extremely fatal in kittens because of their underdeveloped immune systems. I know I will have to give the doctor the okay to put sweet Joey to sleep. Can I do this? I call Doug at work because I need him to tell me what to do. In my mind I know the answer but I still need Doug to give me the go ahead. After I hang up, I can't help it any longer. The dam of tears that has been threatening to spill over bursts forth and I am full fledged sobbing. Our vet tells me it will be okay. She will stay with Joey so he won't be alone. She tells me to get my girls another kitten. She tells me it's just bad luck this time. What if it happens again I think? I have to tell Delaney still. What will this do to her? She loves Joey so much, even if it has only been 5 days. He is her baby. She wanted this kitten so badly. She even picked him out herself. Oh shit, why did this have to happen to us?
I leave with my empty cat carrier. I go out the side door that I'm sure was designed especially for situations like this. I go home and put away Joey's things. I throw out the cat box & try to disinfect so we can kill the virus that's now living inside our home. I throw toys away because that's what I'm supposed to do.
I have not even pulled out of the school parking lot when Delaney asks, "Can we go get Joey from the doctor's now?" So I try my best to keep it together and tell her the truth. I tell her that Joey was really sick and had to go to heaven. I tell her that I'm sorry she lost her sweet Joey. I hate that I'm having to tell her this from the front seat while driving. It makes the whole thing feel impersonal. She accepts my answers and seems to be okay. We make it home for about maybe 10 minutes when things start to come apart. Delaney wants to know where Joey's things are. After explaining why we have to throw out some things and just wash others, she melts down. She had the same kind of moment I had back at the vet's office. She is openly sobbing. She goes on to tell me how much she loved Joey and how she wants another kitten EXACTLY like him. After about 20 minutes she stops. I'm holding her and rubbing her back. I smooth her hair away from her face and tell her that it's okay to miss Joey. I promise her that when the time is right we will get another kitten. We will try again. Even when it's hard and hurts, you have to try again I tell her. She looks at me with tears all over her face and floors me with what she says next. "I hope that the other kittens who were with Joey don't die too." It's like she knew that this was bigger than just Joey. But I don't have the heart to explain to her that they will probably die too. I just hope for the best. I just know that we will do this again.
RIP Joey....we will miss you so!