Emma’s Story

I have known Emma since before she was born.

I was worked at my very first veterinary clinic between 1999 and 2001, as a technician, or animal nurse. During that time, a new technician, named Danielle, was hired at the clinic and she had a white kitty that she found in the desert by her house. A few weeks later she found out that the cat was pregnant.

She brought her into the clinic and had an xray done to find out how many kittens to expect and then waited for them to be born.

At the same time I had a young and playful male cat, named Payton. I wasn’t home much, and I thought it was a good idea to get him a playmate.

When the time was right and the baby’s were old enough, I went to Danielle’s house to pick one up.

They, of course, were all really cute. But I fell in love with the little female tortoise-shell colored kitten. She had longer hair and little white toes.

Danielle said she wanted to keep that one, but I persuaded, because she was the cutest, and she let me take the little girl kitten home.

I named her Emma and introduced her to her new brother.

Payton really enjoyed his new friend, they would chase and play kitty games with each other and I was happy Payton had someone to spend his days with.

I quickly found out Emma was an odd sort of kitty, I would come home from work and she would start rubbing her head on my shoes, while they were still on my feet. So I would take my shoes off and she would spend a good 15 minutes rubbing her head and body, aggressively, in and around my shoes. It was the funniest thing to watch.

To be completely honest with you, I had a few bad years in between 2001 and 2004. I don’t really remember too much about my cats during that time.

In 2003, I met a man named Matt. He also worked in the veterinary field and had an extreme love of cats, he had 5 of his own.

We soon moved in together and we tried to intermingle my cats with his. It didn’t work out. My cats were being bullied by his cats and they were miserable. There had to be a compromise. So my 2 cats went to live with my parents. It broke my heart, but at least I knew where they were and could go see them whenever I wanted.

A few years later, Payton died suddenly of a kidney infection. It broke my heart, not to have him with me when he died. I questioned for years, wondering if he did live with me, if I would have been able to find out he was sick and intervened before he died.

But Emma just kept chugging along. My parent’s found out she had an extreme love of chicken and would “sit pretty” for a piece, and my father grew extremely close to her. She would sleep with my dad at night and lay with him when he was watching t.v. My parents would have me shave Emma every summer, because her long, thick fur would get matted. She hated getting shaved and would hiss and growl at me the whole time, but would never hurt me.

Fast forward about 10 years and my mom started having issues with Emma urinating in spots she wasn’t supposed to and she was loosing weight but eating all the time.

I asked my mom to bring her into the clinic I worked at for lab tests. We found out she was hyperthyroid.

Hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland, that make it overactive and boosts the metabolism, so that she could eat all day, but instead of gaining any weight, her body just burns through all the calories, and then some. So no weight is ever gained, only lost. It also speeds up the heart, called tachycardia.

I had my mother start a supplement called methimazole.

Hyperthyroidism is not a serious illness, unless it goes untreated. The treatment is easy but lifelong. They require medication twice a day, every day. There is a radio iodine treatment that can be done so you don’t have to medicate them, but it is very expensive and can cause kidney damage.

My mother and father are both old school when it comes to animals. They don’t understand why someone would go through so much trouble, or money, to care for an animal.

(Though they did travel to Nogales, Arizona, a 2hr drive, when I was a young child to get medication for my dog who had Valley Fever. The did it for me, he was my dog- my baby- at the time).

My mom works crazy hours and Emma would hide behind her bed, so Emma wasn’t getting medicated.

I would visit my parents house, but wouldn’t always see Emma. When I would see her, I saw she was getting thin, but didn’t want to give my mom a hard time about her medication. I had a lot of animals at my house already, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring her to my house.

One day, I saw my cat, who I had abandoned years ago so I could live with my then boyfriend, wasting away. She was so thin and boney, I couldn’t take it anymore. In 2018, I brought Emma home with me…. and my 2 kids, 1 husband, 5 dogs and 2 other cats.

I slowly introduced her to everyone. She hated my other 2 female cats but tolerated my dogs.

Emma would sleep on a small cabinet and a chair I had put next to the cabinet so that she could get on top of it.

I had to move the litter box closer to her because she does not like to travel far and was prone to making anything close her a litter box.

I medicate her twice a day to help control her hyperthyroidism and she quickly started to gain weight.

I soon began to notice a urine smell next to the litter box. It took me a while to realize that she had been urinating on the floor just next to the litter box.

I took her in to work and had the doctor check her out. Everything was fine, blood and urine samples were all normal. So she was just being a jerk…

She’s just old. I think her mind is failing.

When I feed her she will start to eat, get down off her cabinet perch to get a drink, the get on her chair and fall asleep. I would return, show her the food, and she would act surprised and start eating again, like she didn’t even know I had even given her food.

I had to place urine pads, or dog potty training pads, down on the spot where she was peeing on the floor right next to the litter box. I couldn’t get her to stop going there.

I got a large tuperware container and made it into a giant litter box, which helped for a little while. But then she started to pee next to the litter box again.

Not that long ago, I witnessed her make a change.

She walked into my kids bathroom, opened the cabinet door, and laid down to take a nap. She stayed there, inside the bathroom cabinet, never to return to her cabinet perch or chair again.

I noticed she stopped urinating on the pads next to the litter box, but there was now pee and poop in my kids bathtub. Emma had moved her living space and her bathroom.

I also started to smell urine under the cabinet.

So I made her a bed, covered in urine pads, under the cabinet. I moved her food and water into the bathroom, and put urine pads in the bathtub so she wouldn’t make a huge mess I had to clean up everyday.

And that’s where she is now, happy as a clam, in the bathroom cabinet.

A lot of people would question why I would continue to live like this? My son complains about her and tells me I should just put her down.

But, she is happy. She’s not in any pain. She eats well, she sleeps very well, and she loves to be loved.

I feed her, I medicate her, and I change her pads everyday.

I did her wrong, all those years ago, ignoring her and abandoning her to my family to take care of her. She deserves whatever love I can give her and she deserves to be treated right for the time she has left on this earth.

I owe it to her.

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