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Last Night and Today With Giuseppe

black cat with parsley
Giuseppe with parsley, from November 3, 2023

We let Giuseppe go at about 11:30 this morning. It may seem a little abrupt since we were working on new medications and had some hope, but he began circling and head pressing again by last evening and had a seizure at 6:30 a.m., leaving him limp and sometimes unresponsive. Dr. Elgersma came to send him off and we’ve all had our time with him, though never enough. I am in shock, though I knew this was coming, and this whole year of loss is catching up with me.

I took some notes in my loss journal that I’d like to share about his last day and night, and this morning. Above I have a photo from November 3, just before he stopped making eye contact and when he was still walking and being normal, familiar Giuseppe. Below is a photo of him on the cabinet from August, the only one I could find of him alone that was as I remember him, up there every day, getting involved in what I was doing, and talking to me.

black cat in kitchen
Giuseppe on the cabinet, one of my most constant memories of him.

I have so many photos of Giuseppe, and paintings and sketches. I have been trying to find a favorite from all the years actually for weeks, but I still can’t decide. I love the photos from this autumn outside, but most of what I remember of Giuseppe is indoors, in the kitchen especially. I’ll do something more formal soon, but for now I want to share my thoughts over the past 24 hours. I only mention we put him to sleep, and there is one photo of Mr. Sunshine still by his side after that. The rest only mention activity and treatments much as I’ve been writing about for days.

~~~

My notes from very early this morning, December 13, in my handwritten journal where I’ve been keeping notes of my thoughts of caretaking and loss of my cats this year.

On November 3, my previous entry, I’d been running errands and listening to songs that expressed my feelings of losing and loss, and Mewsette and Jelly Bean, then…

five black cats
Five on the cabinet.

And two days after that entry, the last photos I have of Giuseppe on the cabinet. That was when I began to notice he was not making eye contact, not looking upward, pacing around, sort of, the circling the room. A week later, an appointment at Rivers found he’d lost most vision in his right eye and really was circling the room, keeping his left eye, with full vision, on walls and things to keep his bearings.

The pacing and circling escalated and here were are tonight with Giuseppe pressing his head against every wall all day long when he’s not relentlessly pacing. He’s been up in the bathroom since I brought him back from PVSEC on Monday afternoon. A little glimmer of normal as he walked into the kitchen and ate, then ate and drank normally from the fountain in the bathroom. But he slowly returned to the pacing and head pressing, and it hasn’t stopped, even with medication.

Tonight as I prepared dinner for the rest of the household, Giuseppe upstairs in the bathroom, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to bring him downstairs, if I’d be able to keep him safe while watching all the others. I heard a bumping noise upstairs and that’s usually Morty rattling the studio door trying to get my attention because they needed dinner too. Shortly after that, sounds on the roof? The squirrel at night? Or someone on the landing or the steps? All the cats in the room were looking at the ceiling or toward the steps.

I saw a black cat—Mr. Max?—then I realized it was Giuseppe coming down the last of the steps and heading for the closet door on the landing, pressing his head against it, somehow without tumbling.

Did I forget to latch the bathroom door? I always latched it! I was so worried with the steps right there. After I got the water for Mr. Max and Morty? Or did the hook not slide all the way into the eye? I carried Giuseppe back upstairs and set him down in the bathroom. I felt he came down the stairs intentionally, he heard us getting ready for dinner, maybe smelled the food, and of course he wanted to be there, he was always one of the first to arrive for meals. Of course he wanted to be with his family for dinner! So I would serve them dinner, then come back upstairs and carry him down.

So I did, I let him walk a bit but he was walking so low to the floor and walked head into spots I couldn’t reach him. So I picked him up and held him while standing, then kind of awkwardly sat down on the floor and settled in, rubbing the back of his neck, and he relaxed across my lap, looking out at the room and at all the other cats.

I offered him food and he sniffed and sniffed but did not eat.

After some nibbling and a drink at the fountain, Mr. Sunshine came over, walked around a bit, then finally settled on my legs with is head near Giuseppe, purring.

What sweet, quiet moments. I wanted them to last forever because I’d been thinking he couldn’t go on like this, not eating or drinking, not resting and no doubt in pain evidenced by his head pressing.

The medications didn’t have the effect we’d hoped

I had given him the fist dose of prednilosone which was to relieve the inflammation in his skull after the stronger drugs the day before and it had not made a bit of difference in his activities; in fact he had grown worse as the day passed. to where he was as bad as he had been on Sunday night when I’d taken him to emergency. I would talk to Neurology in the morning and make a decision about scheduling euthanasia in the next few days.

This might be the last time we were all together in the kitchen, even if Giuseppe wasn’t really participating, but he was there, willingly, as much as he could be.

But as I sat there with him and Mr. Sunshine I thought there was a chance that the Keppra (seizures) and/or clindamycin (antibiotic for viral infections like toxoplasmosis) I’d pick up in the morning might actually make a difference. I decided I’d give them time to work and then make a decision.

Maybe in the morning we’ll all go outside for a few minutes like we’ve been doing for the past month or so.

Good idea, Giuseppe, I thought. Whether the eye hook didn’t latch or you managed to somehow work it open, there was no mistake here.

With him upstairs pacing and head pressing, there was no room for any hope, but these were his days and he could make the choice about what he wanted with them, I thought as I sat there on the floor, visualizing the three of us outside, maybe carrying Giuseppe, or he might even be able to walk a little.

black cat in autumn
Giuseppe in autumn, from November 11, one of those sweet morning.

A rude awakening

But later he was circling the bathroom again, and got stuck behind the toilet. I freed him and he started circling again. Well, maybe I’d just stay up and get the medication as soon as CVS opened, but I had to lie down.

He woke me with meowing in a seizure at 6:30 a.m. I ran to the bathroom to see him on his side, urine pouring out of him, as he wriggled and meowed. I cleaned him up and put a clean bath mat on his bed, then laid him back on it. Twice he got up and circled the room, stopping to press his head against a wall or wardrobe, but returned to his bed in front of the furnace vent, pressing his forehead against the side of the wardrobe. He was weak and wobbly, his legs rubbery, head almost on the floor when he walked, and lying still as he pressed his head against the wardrobe.

Mr. Sunshine joined us in there at about 7:00 a.m., a little bumping on the outside of the door and he slid it open far enough with his nose to come in. He settled on Giuseppe’s bed right right up against him, shifting over to lie on my legs then back to Giuseppe, and that confirmed my thoughts, that Giuseppe was in the process of dying.

I checked Giuseppe’s vitals and his heart rate and breathing which did not show any outright evidence of pain or suffering, and Mr. Sunshine and I settled in to watch him. Giuseppe didn’t move at all and didn’t always react when I touched or moved him slightly. I messaged Dr. Elgersma to let her know what was happening. He could pass on his own as Mewsette had done, but I asked Dr. Elgersma if she had the time to stop by, I’d feel much better. She could come at 11:00.

So at 9:00 I put on real clothes and went downstairs to make some coffee. Mr. Sunshine was not happy about that and stayed on the landing, but I had planned to carry Giuseppe down and put him in the sweet spot of morning sun on the floor by the back door.

And there he stayed, crawling off his bed a bit a couple of times toward the basement steps, which were blocked, and behind the little cat tree, but not getting much of anywhere. The other cats visited him and I spent more time with him.

We said our goodbyes at about 11:30.

two black cats
Mr. Sunshine, loyal to the end. I’m sure Giuseppe knew he had his brother all the way.

Some thoughts, and going forward

I am so glad I carried him outside into the sun yesterday afternoon, and so glad I listened to him last night and kept him in the kitchen with the others for a couple of hours. It’s been on my mind for weeks, actually, that any day might be his last meal with family/outdoor adventure/greeting a guest, so I marked all the experiences with awareness. He was in the back yard on Saturday, walking fine and out in the yard when Mr. Sunshine and Mimi stayed on the steps, though he was circling and starting head pressing when he was indoors.

I still can’t believe it. I don’t even want to let myself think of the bigger picture, the impact of all the losses, the change in the household, the stress on Mr. Sunshine, who was first to develop a condition but I think stayed strong for all the others. I asked Ingrid to do a reiki session for him and she was able to fit him in.

Brothers, from early August.

But I sensed that this was coming in August, after the work was done and it was quiet. I wasn’t sure which of the boys it would be, but I knew the loss wasn’t over. Giuseppe actually seemed fine and healthy after his blood pressure scare in May, Mr. Sunshine had his spiking fever in June and August and I anticipated that to continue every month or two.

There were changes I noted in Giuseppe after we started to go outdoors, and just noted them. I first saw that he wasn’t always making eye contact at the end of October, and the last photos I have of him on the cabinet, where he spent time every day of his adult life, were November 5.

Do cats like muffins? Yes!

I noted the absent walking in the back yard, and less and less eye contact. Most of this happened in the past month, every week escalated. I don’t know if we would have found anything with a veterinary visit earlier than October, or if I’d been able to get him to neurology earlier, or if I’d been able to pick up his medications on Monday and started them Tuesday instead of having to wait for Wednesday when a check had cleared, if it would have made any difference. It seems the likely tumor behind his right eye was going to grow, and had been growing since before May when he was at MedVet, at which point there were no other neurological symptoms, only high blood pressure, which the veterinarians now feel was actually caused by the tumor.

I’m going to rest, but I’m going to continue posting here, though I may be scarce until the weekend with a big project in here to finish by Friday. But I thank you again for the comments, support and donations. This is going to hurt for a long time, and I’ll still appreciate the support in the coming months.

Thank you for any help…

How about this—the framed original of the sketch of Giuseppe below is still available along with prints. Scroll down and click the image to visit the listing on Portraits of Animals.

I also have a freestanding website for my memorial votives: www.CustomPetMemorialVotives.com .

If you choose, I also have a donation button on this page on this website.

And if you did want to donate another way, my Paypal address is bernadette @ bernadette-k . com or paypal.me/bernadettekazmarski1 if that doesn’t work. My Venmo is @Bernadette-Kazmarski. And thank you for caring, whether you buy something or donate or not.


Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals

~~~

Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!

"Waiting Around the Corner", black and white charcoal and pastel on toned paper, 5" x 8" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Waiting Around the Corner”, black and white charcoal and pastel on toned paper, 5″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The framed original is still available! Read more, and purchase.



Copyright

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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28 thoughts on “Last Night and Today With Giuseppe

  • 15andmeowing

    Such sad news. I am so sorry for the loss of your handsome boy. XO

    Reply
    • Thank you, Ellen. I still avoid admitting the empty space he was in.

      Reply
  • I’m so sorry, Bernadette. So many shared thoughts/experiences of my own creep into my head as you share your poignant journey with Giuseppe. You gave him the best gifts you could. Those precious, precious moments of savored normalcy. A sweet spot in the outdoor sun. A meal with his family members. Time shared on the kitchen floor. My heart goes out to you and I’m here for you if you need a shoulder or an ear. xoxoxoxo – Deb

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Deb, and I know you understand losing siblings. His big personality left a big empty space in the day. And then there’s the loss of Mewsette and Jelly Bean too, the enormity of which I am trying to avoid. I really hoped we could have caught this in him, and though the treatment–surgery–would have been wildly expensive he was in really good physical shape otherwise. But I went through each day with awareness, that he was comfortable and safe, and that his experiences were enjoyable and frequent so he didn’t feel neglected because of his condition and need to stay confined away from the others. If only…

      Reply
  • mcmcneil1

    When my calico Buddy was in the final stages of CKD I asked an animal communicator to talk to her , wondering what I should or could do for her. She told him she was ready to go on to her next adventure. Giuseppe was letting you and his dear brother know he was ready too. Purrayers for them and prayers for you, as the missing them goes on…

    Reply
    • He wasn’t really ready, but he understood it. Like when we lost Mewsette, the collapse was unexpected, but the result inevitable. I didn’t talk with a communicator for Giuseppe, he communicated quite clearly on his own, so I was ready to keep going as long as he was.

      Reply
  • Cindy

    I’m so so sorry!

    Reply
  • smseattle

    I am so sorry, Bernadette. Bless dear Giuseppe’s soul, and bless you and your dear ones on this side. I have been grieving for years. So far, the only good message I’ve received is this — it helps to tell the cats (on both sides) that there are some things, like crying, that humans sometimes just have to do when grieving. So the cats will know that they are not being blamed. It’s one of those YMMV things, too — “your mileage may vary”.

    Reply
    • My cats know me well enough I’m sure they understand my tears, if they understand my happy tears too! Actually, all of them, even Mariposa and Hamlet, have been very understanding and gentle with me, sitting near me and purring or giving me affection as their socialization permits. I’m in this house all the time and they really can’t get away from my energy, I think they are used to me.

      Reply
  • When a soul leaves its mortal body, it is lifted by the wind unseen by adult human eyes, which have been cleared of the ability to experience magic. The soul floats to the nearest river, then rides the current until it enters the River of Life, which gently carries the soul to Rainbow Bridge. The new angel emerges from the water, having discarded all the pain and sorrow of mortal life (often transferred to those mortals nearest to them,). The soul then crosses the River of Life via the Rainbow Bridge and is reunited with their predecessors who loved them while they were mortal; then, a glorious reunion takes place. Their predecessors teach the new angel how to dream visit, to inhibit the bodies of furry and winged creatures so the angel can watch over their loved ones. So, if you see a bird or little animal watching you, or wake up from a dream feeling light of heart, know your angel has been with you. Death is not the end, it’s a temporary separation, and if you never stop loving the angel, you will be together again in a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    Reply
    • theresaanspaugh1

      How beautiful Marsha! Where did you find this explanation? Share if you can.

      Reply
  • Elaine (LannieK)

    No words… only love for the hardest thing ever. Thoughts and prayers, Bernadette. )))hugs(((

    Reply
  • theresaanspaugh1

    I am so sorry. Big hug to you. Giuseppe is at the Rainbow Bridge now a healthy whole cat. You will see him again. Everyone did their best, but God wanted him in heaven.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Theresa. He was here today walking around my feet in the kitchen, I just caught a glimpse in the corner of my eye.

      Reply
  • I’m at a loss for words and I’m so sad for you, Bernadette. Sending love, hugs, and purrs for you and Giuseppe.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Leah, we’ll need those for some time to come here.

      Reply
  • I send a love balloon up to Giuseppe, wet with tears from my heart. And to you, Bernadette, and to all the kits who knew Giuseppe, I send much healing energy for the days to come.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Meg. We are slowly adjusting, but regretting we need to. We will need that healing energy for some days to come.

      Reply
  • Brian's Home Blog

    I am so very, very sorry. Such heartbreaking news in the midst of hope. Love and hugs from all of us. I did send a little something to Paypal.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the love and hugs and the donation. Yes, I was willing to give him whatever care necessary to get to some workable treatment. Finances are always a part of this, and if I’d been financially able to get him seen sooner that may have made a difference, but we’ll never know. At least Mr. Sunshine is feeling good.

      Reply
  • da tabbies o trout towne

    Giuseppe, we know you tried, mom B
    tried and the vets tried. we also know how hard this has been on you,
    and mr.sunshine. we have no words that can truly express how very
    sorry we are, and it’s probably little comfort to mom B, but WE
    truly believe St Francis sees all animals, safely to heaven, and on that
    journey to start your tenth life, you no longer had suffering. rest well
    buddy, we know many greeted you, we know mom B’s heart is
    shattered, beyond belief. we send hugs and loves; always

    dude, boomer, tuna, sauce, daisy, mackerull and laura ❤️

    Reply
    • It is very comforting to me, and thank you so much. Accepting his loss, and the loss of three, it’s going to take a long time.

      Reply
  • Mollie Hunt

    I can’t begin to fathom what you are going through with so much loss so close together. To say I’m sorry, to tell you to take care of yourself, seems simplistic. Sending love.

    Reply
    • I hope you never find out, Mollie. Love is what we really need now, so thank you.

      Reply

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