About a month ago, despite our increasing concerns about Maddie, our cat Sage lost her battle with brain cancer. I’ve wanted to post about her since then, but it’s coming now since I needed a little distance first.
About a year ago, I witnessed Sage having a seizure (which is a horrible thing to witness). After a trip to the vet, she was given the de facto brain tumor diagnosis. As she was an older cat (13 at the time), we were told such tumors grow slowly in cats, and something else was likely to get her before the tumor, so we decided not to undergo lengthy tests to confirm a tumor that was likely inoperable anyway. We witnessed only that single seizure, and other than minor side effects before her medication was leveled, she seemed perfectly fine for the last year.
Then, on a Friday morning, something seemed wrong to me.
Sage had been very good about taking her medication in a pill pocket treat. That morning, she was fussy about it. While that had happened before, something just seemed… different to me. That evening, I tried the old trick of grinding up her pills and putting it in wet food. Nothing. She walked away from the food and just laid down on the hardwood floor. Sage had always been the feline equivalent of a chow-hound (I keep thinking of having to pull her away from a pile of corn flakes that had been spilled). Her breathing was also getting labored. She just wasn’t right; something was clearly bothering her.
So, given that it was a weekend, we brought her over to the VRC. They put her in the oxygen chamber, which gave me bad flashbacks to our cat Calypso, who we lost early last year. The next day, they did an ultrasound, and discovered her kidneys were severely necrotic. There was no way for her to recover. Saturday afternoon, we went over for a few difficult last moments before having her put to sleep.
Sage was a cat that was just chock-full of personality. She was always getting herself into trouble, frequently a big ol’ pest, but just simply lovable. With a stress on the “simple.” You could kind of tell that—while she may have been the fuzziest cat in the group—she wasn’t the brightest.
She was also just goofy. She was always getting herself into weird positions (which we only assumed she found comfortable) or funny situations. She loved to flop on her back with her paws in the air (though wasn’t fond of the belly rubs that frequently ensued). I ended up with more photos of her on my cell phone just because I kept wanting to capture moments of silliness. Eventually, her nuttiness and fluffiness led to the (I thought) obvious nickname of Fluffernutter.
With her puffball fluffiness, she managed to stand too close to a candle and light herself on fire. Twice. Never burned through the fluff, thankfully, but burning cat hair is not a pleasant smell.
She was always on hand, underfoot, and in your face… she loved and craved attention almost as much as she loved having her head petted. If there was a hand of any sort idle, her head ended up under it (she even had a baby petting her). Just a sweet, simple, loving cat.
Unlike our other cats, she also got along with any human, and any animal. She and Jones would cuddle up to nap, and when Maddie was willing to tolerate her, I’d even see them grooming each other.
Losing Sage was abrupt, but we were happy that there was no question it was her time to go. Things were quick and relatively easy for her. Dealing with Maddie these last couple of months has been anything but. We thought it might be her time to go a couple of weeks ago, as her breathing was worsening, and she was having much difficulty eating. But, some steriods and a feeding tube seem to have taken care of those problems, and she’s leveled off to a reasonable state over the last week. Her grooming has fallen off a bit, but she still noms at the food on her own occasionally to supplement the tube-feeding, and comes to cuddle with us every evening. For now, she continues on, as happy a cat as we can make her.
Sage Szucs Reed