Cornflakes (see two posts below) was euthanized in the wee hours of Thursday morning at the emergency clinic on Belmont and Clybourn. In the early night he was coughing up mucus and appeared to be in respiratory distress; by 2:30 a.m.; he was gasping and wheezing and flailing about, unable to walk at all, but desperate to do so. The volunteer who took him to the clinic writes that when she saw him "he was sprawled weakly in a corner looking like he was clinging to a sinking raft, panting and making choking noises." The veterinarian who saw him says he likely had lung cancer and congestive heart failure. He had fluid in and out of his lungs (a pleural effusion) and a heart murmur. They put him on oxygen in a warm soft incubator. They recommended euthanasia once they saw an x-ray.
The vet did say he had a full stomach, and good, happy final week.
They made a clay cast of his paw and we have it here in Hyde Park, where he spent that happy final week, a final week with regular meals of delicious stinky wet food, fabulous snuggly naps in a real bed, and a bevy of cat lovers watching over him from near and far.
Readers, cat rescue is by its nature unpredictable. We know, however, we will have to do things we don't want to do, things that are uncomfortable, sad, scary, disgusting even. Caring for some of our rescued cats is very difficult. Cornflakes is not the first cat we have had to euthanize, but he had a humane end. How thankful I am he died the way he did instead of alone on the street, afraid, cold, hungry. How grateful I am that the people in Hyde Park found him, cared for him, did the right thing by him even when it was unpleasant to do so.
The vet bill for Cornflakes' visit was rather high. As always, we are grateful to our donors who allow our cat-rescue and TNR work to continue. We would be so grateful for any donations to cover such emergencies in the future. Please email me at email@example.com for an address to send checks or use our paypal button. We thank you, donors.
Thanks to everybody who responded to Cornflakes' story. Special thanks, of course, to his foster parents, Dani and her boyfriend whose name I embarrassingly cannot find; and hugs and kisses to Vicky for driving Cornflakes to the emergency vet in the middle of the night by herself and caring for him in his last moments. To Nancy for plucking him off the streets in the first place. To Katherine, Leah, Claire, and Joah for the wet food which Cornflakes relished after a long period of hunger. To Mary Jean, Ainat, and Norah for their donations towards covering Cornflakes' last vet visit.
And to Cornflakes, for opening our hearts with love and compassion and reminding us about being grateful for life's gifts when they come our way. To have the knowledge that an abused and starving cat was cherished and was able to cherish back--after all he'd been through-- this is Cornflakes' gift to us.