I adopted Coco Chanel from a friend when she was about 9 weeks old. I had seen pictures of her (the blur of motion) and knew she would be a great addition to my immediate family, consisting of myself, and 10 year old spoiled only cat, George. |
I named her two weeks before her intro into my house, having an uncanny gift for the naming of animals, generally with unexpected results. Coco Chanel is my favorite perfume, and I wanted my kitten to be the epitome of class and sophistication. My friend promised to use her name when calling her, so she would get used to it.
However, my kitten was less "Audrey Hepburn", and more "Coo-coo for Cocopuffs", which was of course what my friend quickly called her the older she got.
I liked singing "Coco, Coco the Kitten" to the tune of CopaCabana- I think she liked it too.
Coco was a constant ball of energy, terrorizing George, curious about everything and usually exhausted herself by the time I was waking up to go to work. She loved playing with George's toys, ignoring her own, her favorite being an indeterminate pink fuzzy thing with legs and a bell attached. She also loved cardboard boxes. She cried to be picked up, and would launch herself across the room at you if you tried to ignore her, if not just run up your pant leg- I often did the dishes and other chores with her hanging out on my shoulder.
What began as a bad kitten cold was diagnosed as FIP, a disease I, as a cat person, had never heard of. The cold gave way to a kidney infection and jaundice, resulting in anemia and no weight gain at a stage where she should have been gaining a pound per month. I struggled with finding food not too high in protein that both cats would eat- at one point they had a different food every day because George is pretty picky, but they didn't understand the concept of different foods; if it was in the bowl it was fair game. My vet aggressively treated her with the t-cell immunmodulator injection, successfully used in F-FIV & FLeuk. cases. The weekly injection to boost her immune system made her sleepy on Tuesdays, more susceptible to George's jealous swats.
I lost her short five weeks after her diagnosis. On Tuesday, her 4th injection, the vet said she had not progressed as much as he hoped she would. Her neurological symptoms began Wednesday night; the seizures scared her, but she still managed to purr when I picked her up, and I know she was with me for the majority of the night Friday. On Saturday morning I couldn't find her for hours, and then suddenly I heard her sneeze- she was in my office, in plain sight. I am not sure where she was the whole morning, and I am not sure how she sneezed- because she wasn't in there anymore. Oh, she was breathing, but that was it. The vet's staff told me to come right in, and they asked the woman in the exam room if she wouldn't mind waiting just a few minutes more- she took her cat to the waiting room, and offered a blessing as we passed. The vet was amazingly gentle, and comforting, and told me Coco was sitting on my shoulder; no one could have done more for a cat than I did, and he was so sorry for my loss. He asked his staff to escort me through the waiting room when I had to leave without Coco.
I had to go home and disinfect the house, destroy & discard her bedding and toys, and pray that George's test in 3 months comes back negative for the same thing. (By the time it progresses to positive FIP, too late for other cats- they will either develop fatal disease or fight it).
The only thing harder than taking her for her last trip was bringing her home again. Until that moment I could almost imagine it had not happened.