I covered Kess with the towel and called my ex-wife, Heather.
After I explained what was going on, and she heard Riley crying in the background, she abandoned her dinner with her boyfriend, Jon and his dad and drove to my house. She arrived and immediately started consoling Riley, and distracted her and the returning Sam on the front porch. I’d already called the animal hospital right after having called Heather, and asked them if they could figure out what had happened, since Kess was only 15 months old.
They would, the young lady assured me, take her remains from me and perform a “gross necropsy” to see if there was anything they could tell from a visual inspection of her tissues and organs. After explaining this to Heather, she left me with the girls to go inside, put Kess and the towel in a garbage bag and then set the stiff little body into the hatch of my focus.
It was as I opened the hatch and watched her set Kess inside that the reality of the loss hit me. Heather actually held me while I sobbed, facing away from the porch so that maybe the girls would think we were just hugging. (yeah, right)
It was good of her to console me, I really needed the adult hug.
And while patting me on the back, saying, “I know, I know,” was a little condescending in retrospect, it was almost exactly what I needed.
I then left her with the girls and drove Kess to the animal hospital.
I paid for a necropsy and animal disposal and was told they’d call me by Monday if they figured out what had happened, as they were closing and wouldn’t be performing the necropsy that night. Instead, they called me about ten minutes after I’d arrived home. I’m not sure what possessed them to do it so soon; maybe my concern about whether or not she was killed by something that might still harm Sisco the Cat (age 6) influenced the doctor.
The prognosis: Her lungs were all jacked up. Pustules, abscesses, liquids…
They said it was either a fast pneumonia or Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
FIP is a virus that is fatal if symptoms develop and there is no treatment once a cat has contracted it
They offered to send samples to be tested for it, at a cost. Since I only wanted to know what I could do to make sure that Sisco was going to be OK, or treat him if he got sick, the information would be useless to me so I declined. If the test came back positive, I’d have to watch Sisco carefully for signs in the next few months, and if he developed symptoms I would have to say goodbye.
If the test came back negative, I’d need to get Sisco tested for pneumonia.
So the test would do nothing for me and, instead, I’m taking Sisco in on Monday to test him for Pneumonia.
If he doesn’t have it, then we watch him for three months and see if he gets sick. If he has pneumonia then we can treat him though pneumonia is really dangerous to cats because they can’t cough. But they can be treated with antibiotics and can get better if it isn’t a resistant strain.
So Kess is gone. But for the 7 or 8 months she lived here she was happy, and as a ten month old in an animal shelter her life here was a better future regardless of how long it was.