Hamsters, Pet loss, Squatty the stray

A day of endings

Squatty Close UpA few days ago we brought Squatty’s ashes home. They were in a little redwood box that had a slot in front to place a photo. As we returned from the vet’s and drove into the neighborhood, we told Squatty he was home.

Many people in the neighborhood were familiar with Squatty but there was another house with a couple who also had cared for Squatty for several years. They named him Brutus and were as attached to him as we were. We had agreed that if either of us ever knew that something “bad” happened to our shared  kitty, we’d let the other know.  After we had him put to sleep, I let them know what had happened and said that we had him cremated and would be happy to share his remains with them. Of course they were very sad, but they were also relieved to know that we were with him as he left for Spirit World.

Today we buried a portion of Squatty’s ashes in our front yard beneath a tree where he often slept the afternoon away.  I was a bit unsettled dividing Squatty’s ashes, not because it made me squeamish, but because I felt it was disrespectful to divide him into two. I selfishly wanted part of him buried in our yard, but I knew it was right for his other family to have some of his ashes too. So after burying some of his ashes we took the remainder in the redwood box, along with a few photos of him, to his other family. They didn’t have any photos, so there were glad to have those too, and really liked the one shown above. They were glad to have their “Brutus” home and were going to put a photo in the front of his box.

Nutmeg HamsterWe also buried our hamster Nutmeg Strudel tonight. We adopted him from the SPCA about 18 months ago and gave him a fantastic life here in a huge cage. He got to come out for playtime almost every night and had lots of healthy treats like fresh carrot and pine nuts. We knew for a few weeks that his health was declining so we were prepared for his passing. This morning he was very listless, and I held him in my hands so he could feel the warmth and be cozy. I put him in a cozy spot in his cage and he passed away peacefully a few hours later.

I always feel that the process of losing a pet isn’t complete until their remains are home or they are buried. That step brings a finality to their physical presence but continues their everlasting presence in our hearts.

Squatty the stray

Squatty is in Spirit World

Squatty-Love.jpg

First of all, we want to thank all of you for your encouraging words, well-wishes, and purrs on yesterday’s post.

Today is a sad day for us because Squatty had to be euthanized. Mom & Dad came home from work and Squatty was on the porch like he usually is, waiting for dinner. That always makes mom happy but today he didn’t look very good and was getting closer to Mom & Dad and making unusual little meows. Mom doesn’t like to get too mushy about things like this, but it was kind-of like he was asking for help.

Mom’s been trying to get Squatty to go into a carrier by putting his food inside, so she thought she’d try again so that maybe by Monday he’d be comfortable enough to go in and she could take him to my vet. Mom put Squatty’s dinner inside the carrier and he went in to eat it! Mom was able to quietly walk up and close the door on him.  He wasn’t happy, but he settled down right away.

My vet is about 1 hour away in Friday traffic, so we wouldn’t make it there before they closed. Mom found a vet about 25 minutes away who is open late and they could see him tonight.

Mom was excited to be able to catch Squatty and get him to a vet, but the results of the exam weren’t good. He had a serious case of stomatitis and all his gums and even his throat were full of inflammatory lesions. That condition is very painful and it explains why his breath was awful (even from several feet away) and why he had been drooling off & on for several months. It’s probably also why he has been getting thinner and thinner – because it hurt so much to eat. The abscess on his face was serious and the vet wasn’t sure it would heal very well without a lot of care. After a long discussion about his current health issues, his months-long decline in health, and his quality of life, we all agreed that it was best for Squatty to be euthanized.

Squatty was already sedated, so he wasn’t awake, but mom petted his head while the vet administered the euthanasia drugs. It was very sad and bittersweet because that’s the first and only time mom was able to pet Squatty.  We know the last few hours of his life were stressful being trapped and taken to the vet, but once he was sedated we hope he felt calm and safe. There wasn’t much hope that we could get him healthy and keep him healthy for very long and we didn’t want him to suffer.

We had Squatty cremated and we’ll bury his ashes in the front yard where he liked to sleep in the hidden safety of our shrubs and bask in the sun.

We’ll miss you Squatty. You’ll always be our big, brave Squattacus who learned that our yard was a safe place to rest, a place to get yummy canned food, and a place where you were allowed to be the independent kitty that you were.

Squatty close-up.jpg

 

Hamsters, Health, Squatty the stray

We're quiet, but busy

Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately both on our blog and visiting all our anipal friends.

The good news is that I’m doing well. Despite my recent haircut I produced a hairball this morning, but it’s been 7 days since my last one, so that’s an improvement.  My mouth is healing nicely from having my teeth pulled three weeks ago and mom might try to start brushing my teeth….yeah, we’ll see how that goes!

Unfortunately there’s some not-so-good things going on here. Mom is doing “hamster hospice” with Nutmeg. He’s an old hammy and he’s begun his journey to Spirit World. Mom was looking through her records to figure out how old he is, but she seems to have mixed up Portland and Nutmeg, so she’s not sure. Nutmeg has lived with us for quite a while so this is not an unexpected decline in his health. But it’s still a bit hard to watch one of the furries at the end of their life. We just keep him comfortable and know that he’s calm and safe and loved.

Squatty the Stray is also sick. He has a large swelling on his face and mom suspects an abscess in his upper jaw. The vet said they’ll try to do what they can if mom can bring him in, but mom hasn’t had any luck trapping him. Unfortunately, she’s afraid Squatty just isn’t healthy enough for the vet to have many options and since he’s semi-feral, there’s no way to do any post-treatment care even if they can fix whatever is wrong with his mouth. But she keeps trying to lure him into the carrier with roast chicken (his favorite) or get close enough that she might be able to grab him….and that will be an adventure I’m sure! Even though mom & dad have never petted Squatty, they love him and just want to do what’s best for him.

We just wanted to let you know what’s going on here and that we’re trying to visit everyone and keep up well-wishes, Gotcha days, and all the other events in your lives.