I feel like I've failed as a cat owner because I couldn't make my girl happy in our home. She had multiple issues, including a tendency to get stress-related UTIs when babies were around. Which she told us about by peeing in the wrong places. She grew more tolerant of Violet as she got older, but my kitty still didn't like being around her. And the sound of a baby crying visibly irks her. Since Gator's arrival, my kitty did a big backslide and has not been a happy girl.
When Violet was little, kitty started having bladder issues. It turned out she had a bladder full of stones, possibly from repeated UTIs that weren't bad enough for her to tell us about. Hubby wanted to put her to sleep rather than treat her, but I couldn't bear to do that to an otherwise fairly healthy cat with many years ahead of her. It didn't help that I too have stone issues. And trouble dealing with the stresses of children. Putting her to sleep would have sent my post-partum depression into a deeper state, and we ended up paying for her surgery. It took her longer than we'd thought to completely recover from a deep-seated infection and she continued to get some UTIs and be unhappy about having a child around. She was a big girl and kept slowly gaining weight despite having her on a diet on special food. Because of her bulk, she couldn't jump over a baby gate. The logistics of having a small child and having a cat who needs access to her basement litterbox meant she was on one side the gate and we were usually on the other, and she was understandably lonely.
I had false hope when she was accepting Violet more. Then Gator was born and things weren't good again. There was an irksome toddler AND a baby with a cry that really annoyed her. My husband has been less than supportive and kept saying to just put her to sleep. When she got her first UTI after the baby was born, I knew it wasn't good. We treated it and I tried to make time to spend with her without a child with me (and I don't have a lot of time like that). Then she let me know there was a problem again, and we knew we couldn't keep doing this. And it looked like there might be a stone in her urine. Sometimes it's hard to tell when you're cleaning up a kitchen floor that needs swept.
My husband and I had agreed when we did the surgery before that if there were any more problems with stones, we couldn't do the surgery again. Finding out if there were indeed stones, or treating another UTI, kept adding to the cost of her care and funds are very tight at the moment. I wanted to give her every chance I could, but we couldn't keep doing this. And she was so stressed with our current living situation. I would have loved to find a home where there were no small children and someone could work with her special care needs. Life with small children often stresses me out, too, and I wish she could be as happy as she was when it was just two adults and two cats.
The sad reality is that there are so many sweet and caring animals out there who needs homes, and not enough homes for them. Shelters have to make very difficult decisions. Our adoption contract with the SPCA said we'd return our cat to them if we couldn't keep her, and she needed a home where she'd be happier. But the chances of her being adoptable were so slim, especially with her stress reacts to car rides, new situations, etc. I could have returned her to the SPCA and told myself they found her a happy home and let them make the difficult decisions. And put her through a ton of stress in her final days, with lots of car rides, strange people, strange places, and a living situation that is even more stressful than life with small children.
Instead, she got a special treat of canned food that would be awful for her diet, and lots of extra chin scratching and affection every chance I could give it to her. She cried on the way to the vet today, as did I. She hated be there, as usual. I stayed with her as the medication made her drop her agitated stance, relax, and go to sleep. And leave this world.
Rest in peace, my dear, sweet girl. I'm so sorry we couldn't make it work out better for you.