Thursday, November 1, 2012

And Then There Were Nine

Zilla \z(il)-la\ as a girl's name is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Zilla is "shadow". Biblical name revived by the Puritans. Rather popular in the 19th century. (

I am no longer a house of 10. Monday, October 29, 2012, I lost my little black cat, Zilla. For years she was my fat kitty kitty, but in January she started losing weight. I'd switched foods in December and didn't think anything of it. She was very overweight for her build, and was still eating normally, so I didn't worry. Also, at the same time, I was back and forth to the vet with Lilly, who was losing weight as well, but NOT eating. Zilla seemed fine.

Sunday night, I picked her up to trim her claws and started the normal routine. I'd gotten two paws done when I felt her breathing hard. I did a third paw and realized her breathing was getting really bad. I sat her up and tried to calm her. Zilla never really shook off her feral beginnings and was never one for being easily handled or pet. After a moment, I put her down and she lay down on the floor just resting and breathing quickly.

This was the last time I got to take a picture of my Zilla. Lilly had a standing appointment with the vet so I took Zilla along. She meowed in the car, but not as much as usual. At the vet she started open-mouthed breathing again, but seemed calm enough. When her turn came and I took her out of the carrier, I saw how bad it was. Her chest was heaving rapidly and she was panting for air. The vet came in and listened to her heart and lungs and did some poking and prodding. As I said, Zilla hates to be touched. Being strangers made it so much worse. Normally she'd have been muzzled, but with her breathing, it wasn't an option. It was decided an xray was needed to see what was going on in her chest. Her lungs were clear, but the vet couldn't even count her heart rate. It was over 300 beats a minute. He was concerned about fluid around it and seemed to think it was cardiomyopathy. Her heart wasn't getting enough oxygen to her blood and she was breathing faster to try to help. This in turn made her heart race even more. A cycle that wouldn't end well.

With Zilla as wild as she was, sedation would be required for the xray. I understood the risk of the medication in the state she was in, but it was the only way to get answers to help treat her. I left her there and came home to wait for the call when the xrays were done.

Less than 30 minutes after I was home, the phone rang. The lady at the desk was very solemn when she told me Dr Wylie wanted to talk to me. I started to panic. I guess the anticipation of the news was what did it, but I literally felt the sharpest pain in my chest, like I'd been stabbed. Dr Wylie told me her heart had stopped and they were trying to get her back. He was going to try for about 5 more minutes and call me back. When Gaia had her surgery, they lost her in recovery and didn't call me until she was resuscitated and recovering. Calling me before anything was known told me how bad it was.

About 10 minutes later, the phone rang. My black baby was gone. I know Dr Wylie did all he could. He knows how much I love my babies. I told him I wanted to see her and would be there. My sister rushed over to take me as I didn't trust myself to drive.

Louie, the vet tech, brought her out to me. He was crying and hugged me. My little girl looked so peaceful laying there, wrapped in a towel. I didn't take the camera because I didn't want a picture of her like that. I talked to her for a bit, pet her, and cut a little bit of fur off her belly to keep. She'd had a bald belly for years due to how fat she was and it had only recently grown back. My sister and nephew got to pet her too, really for the first time.

What happened was explained to me. They'd given her a small dose of sedative and then tried to bring her out for the xray, but she started panicking and her breathing skyrocketed again. Dr Wylie decided to give her a bit more as it was so harmful for her to be in the state she was in. Her heart couldn't take the panic or the second dose. Louie told me her heart stopped about two seconds after the second dose. They put her on oxygen and gave her medicines and did CPR but her little heart was too tired. 11 years, 7 months, 19 days after her birth, 11 years, 1 month, 19 days after moving her attitude into my home and life. My shadow was gone.