She had been “bulged up” in the middle for the last three weeks…ever since we came home from the Marathon. I signed it off as she over ate while we were gone. Packing in the “extra food” that we had left out for the days we were gone. She had done this before, and it went away within a week.
However, after a week of the bulge remaining, I began to get concerned. She is usually regular as clockwork with her litter box visits, but those had tapered off noticeably. I thought she had the same issue as ZULU ( a previous cat) so we finally took her to the vet for some “expert” diagnosis.
Turns out….she had some type of tumor about the size of a nerf football inside her abdomen. The vets did not know what it was…nor had they ever seen it before. Our options were : Do more tests to try to figure out what it was….Or exploratory surgery….to figure out what it was. Both options were not a cure….and we had been down this road before (with Zulu)…..it is never a pleasant path.
It is very sad to make this decision on an otherwise “healthy” cat. But the vet confirmed that this was a problem that was only going to get worse. As the tumor rapidly grew and continued to crowd out her organs and digestive tract….she would not be “healthy” for very long.
Rasha was a true cat. One of those “independent,” 9 lives types you often read about. She also was one of the longest lived cats in our household. She managed to survive 9 years with us….people who basically suck at having pets. And this brings us to the moment where we have decided to not replace her. After Hiro passes, we will be bowing out of the “Cat Owner’ club. Or any pet, for that matter. No fish, hamsters, dogs, birds, snakes, turtles, or lizards. I know it might sound selfish, and we may change our mind later. But for now, that is the plan. Hiro is still a fairly young cat ( 7 years old in October of this year!), So it is possible we may continued to be cat owners for a while longer.
One day, she slipped outside and disappeared. We thought she abandoned us and went back to her old home. I was a little ticked that a cat would show up, win over our affections, and then run back to her original owner after we had firmly established an attachment to her. There was no of evidence of fowl play. ( hit by car, eaten by wolves, etc. ) Then, she suddenly reappeared….Thin, starving, and voracious as ever. I was so happy to have her back and we immediately tried to fatten her back up. Come to find out, she was trapped in the neighbor’s basement/crawlspace for a full month! She must have survived on mice and condensation until she found a way to escape. I know this is the likely scenario, because she repeated the event, but this time the neighbor witnessed her in their basement window and told me about it. Life #2
Then, the day after Christmas, she contracted pneumonia. Luckily, we acted quick enough to take her to the vet BEFORE she was on death’s doorstep. Even so it was touch and go for a very long time ( about a week) and several times I thought she would not pull through. But she did….Miraculously enough! Life #3
I guess I should add that she survived the trip to Iowa…living in a hotel room for 2 weeks while we searched for apartments here. I’m not sure how stressful that was for her, but it was very stressful for us. And ultimately it was a new life for all of us.
I’m not sure how many other lives she must have spent while out on her own as a stray. ( The best guesstimate is about 6 years before meeting us….putting her at about 15 years old total) My guess is she must have used up the remaining 6 lives; and this was her last life. I will truly miss this cat as she was the “love bug” cuddle type that I liked to have around while scoring or sitting on the couch. We shall see how Hiro reacts with her gone. I was slightly offended that neither Rash nor Hiro even NOTICED that Red was gone. Perhaps they were happy because Red was my favorite cat. Sibling rivalry and all. Well, Hiro now has no competition in that department.