Coco died a week ago today.
She was only 8 months old.
I would like to think I know how she died but, sadly, I do not.
I noticed her itching one day and saw that she had fleas. I bought a flea comb and Hartz Ultraguard for her and the next day I noticed her back paws were twitching like she had tape on them. I looked it up online and the first thing that came up was about the Hartz being poisonous to cats. I watched, in terror, a video that someone posted who's cat was twitching from neurological damage due to the treatment. Needlessly to say, I immediately washed it off her neck and the next day she was fine.
A couple days passed and she was still acting fine so I bought her a Sergeant's flea collar. She had it on for maybe a full day and was constantly scratching her neck from it so I took it off. By this time the fleas were getting bad and she would no longer sleep in her usual spots. She was sleeping on the fridge, top of the bookshelf, or in the bathtub. My husband and I were getting bit on the ankles too.
I told my parents about it and how I wanted to bomb the apartment but they told me that when I was little they got fleas from my grandmother's cat really bad. They said that they bombed the house and not only did it not kill all of the fleas, but they had to wash everything in the house too. My mom told me that how they got rid of them for good was to take a shallow, white bowl and put water and dish soap in it and place a light on it. They kept dumping it and replacing it every day until there were no fleas in the water.
I tried it.
Low and behold we killed at least 80 the first day. The second day, same amount.
The third day, same amount.
The fourth day was worse....for my kitty.
While we were doing this, we combed her out 3 times a day, all 3 days. She would have about 15-20 on her at a time. I was going to take her to the vets Tuesday because both me and my husband got paid that day and could pay for whatever she needed up front. We wanted to get her spayed too since she was old enough. She didn't make it that long.
It was the fourth day. My husband combed her that morning and got the usual amount, then combed her again during the day (he works nights) and got less. I came home from work, combed her, vacuumed the apartment (another thing we did every day), and was about to go visit a friend. I called her first to see if she was home but I got the answering machine. So I stayed home.
I noticed Coco itching so I took the comb to her again and must've combed a place we were missing. I went under her armpit and got about 5 fleas. I felt so bad for her and was wondering what I could do. I was told, and read, that it was fine to wash your cat with Dawn dish soap. That's what I was using to kill the fleas in the bowl, and what I used to wash off the poison (Hartz Ultraguard) from her neck. So I gave her a bath.
She didn't like it much, but I only washed halfway up her back, her hind end, and her tummy. I dried her off, gave her some kitty treats, and then some space. She was licking her paws and I played with her on the couch for a minute before going to the computer.
I was sitting in the computer chair and she walked from the back of the couch to the back of my chair (as she often did) and I picked her up. She them started meowing frantically so I set her down on the floor next to me. I watched as she started crying out, howling, and then fell to her side. She howled a couple times and took a couple shallow breathes and then that was it. She was gone.
I cry now thinking about it. I felt helpless, I knew if I tried to take her to the vets she wouldn't have made it. I even went as far as to do chest compressions on her. I wrapped her in a towel and called my parents. They came and I was outside holding her in my arms bouncing her up and down in them like she were still alive. I was completely devastated and still am. It feels like my hearts been torn apart and put back together only there's pieces missing so it aches. I loved her so much. She meant the world to me. My husband matters, of course, but losing her was like losing a best friend.
I got her because he works nights so I wanted a companion to keep me company. I definitely got more than that.
I know I should have taken her to the vets sooner. I regret not doing that. We just couldn't afford it any sooner.
I don't know what happened for sure. I read that Dawn was ok to use, and even ingested it would've given her an upset tummy. I think maybe the stress from the bath gave her a heart attack or seizure of some kind. I also think that she was becoming anemic from the fleas and maybe mixed with that, that was the cause.
She ate both, Whiskas indoor cat food, and LOVED "The good life recipe" and "temptations" cat treats. She refused to drink out of a water bowl and drank out of the tap (occasionally your water glass if you let her). I always kept it running a little for her and always had a cup filled with water too. I checked her hydration by grabbing the skin on her neck and seeing how fast it pulls back to her body ever since the flea problem started.
I could tell you every mannerism and personality trait my beloved cat had to find the cause, but I'll never know. I'll remember her for the many times she put her head in my hand to wake me up and pet her. Jumping on my stomach in the middle of the night. Meowing at me if I went outside for 5 minutes. Meowing at me for 5 minutes for leaving her for 5 minutes. The look she got in her eyes when her upper lid would scoop down as she were about to pounce on my hand. Knocking EVERYTHING off the coffee table, counter tops, bookshelf, bathtub shelves...etc. Stepping on my laptop keyboard, knowing JUST what keys to push to make my screen flip upside down AND my mouse operate in accordance to the switch.....TWICE. Swatting all of her cat toys under the couch.......ALL of them. Playing "go fetch" with my sock and only my sock. Having a very odd love for raw black beans (I had a huge bowl of them because I used them as a filler for my wedding centerpieces and she dug her face right into them like she were bobbing for cat toys, eating a few while she was doing it).
Most of all I'll miss her love for me and my husband. I guess that goes without saying for any animal companion. They love you and will be there for you no matter what's going on in life.
She didn't care how bad my day was as long as dinner was at 5, snack at 9, and bedtime was at 10:30.
Comments for Coco February 2011 - October 14, 2011