RIP, Flipper

I had to say goodbye to my sweet boy, Flipper, in November. He was FIV positive and his little body could no longer withstand infections. Plus, due to the FIV, which is incurable, he had long-standing stomatitis (infection and inflammation of the mouth), one of the most painful conditions a cat can experience.

 He was probably only about eight years old. He had been with us five years. He just showed up one day, and took up with us.  He would get into fights when he was outside, the skin behind his ears would be sliced open.

Once, he disappeared for a week, and I was beside myself. When  he finally came home, I brought him inside and never let him out again, although he longed to go out and wander. Every so often, he would escape and be gone 24 to 48 hours, but he never again stayed out for a week.

I took him to the vet to be neutered, and that was when we found out he tested positive for FIV. He probably got it from the fighting. Some time later, we found out he had stomatitis, which gradually worsened with time. I would take him to the vet every few months for steroid and antibiotic shots. But those gradually become less effective, and have to be given more often.

The last ones he got lasted two weeks, infection in his mouth returned, eating was too painful for him and he stopped. He lost weight down to six pounds (he had weighed about 11 pounds at one point in our time together) and that was when we took him in to be euthanized. The vet recommended it based on Flipper's quality of life, or lack thereof. He would never get better, nothing could be done to temporarily relieve his pain. He would be in increasing pain as long as he lived.

We were with him, petting and touching him, when the vet gave him the injection that stopped his heart.

It is wrenching to lose a pet. But it is also wrenching to see a pet suffer. And with stomatitis, they suffer.

He was such a good cat, sweet-tempered. Not as cuddly as I would have liked, but never mean, he never bit, never clawed. And the times he deigned to sleep with me, it was a joy to hear him purr beside me.

Goodbye sweet boy. I'm glad your pain has stopped.

* * *  

I was noodling around online recently when I found a marvelous photo of a gray tabby with a clipped ear, a bad eye, and a noble, stoic expression. A street cat, for sure, possibly (but not necessarily) feral. I decided his story needed to be told. So now "My Cat, Farrell" is on my list of WIPs. Not sure when I can get to it, or what the overall story will be about, but my hero or heroine will have similar experiences with Farrell that I had with Flipper.

Here's a working cover.