Gracie was a little stray cat most likely dropped off in the alley behind our house in the Fall 2010. I recall the day she became a member of our family. It was a cool October evening, my Boys had returned home from youth football practice, and there sat a young, little gray kitty on the hood of one of our parked cars. I suppose Gracie was trying to stay warm, and was waiting to meet us, her new family. I was in the house. My daughter was pulling into the driveway at the same time coming home from college for the weekend. I heard a lot of chatter and excitement outside. That is when I heard my Hubby sternly say to the kids: "Whatever you do, don't feed it."
As I walked outside, my kids were excited to see this little gray cat, and immediately wanted to hold her. Gracie jumped off the car, and went into the garage. The next thing I know, my stern Hubby is out in the garage with a can of tuna fish and water. I looked at him and I said: "I thought you said don't feed the cat!" He replied: "Hopefully the cat will be gone in the morning,"
Gracie had different plans. She had decided to keep us as her family. As my kids came in the house that night, she followed along, and came right into the house. I gave her a bath and the rest is history.
We decided to call her Gracie, and give her the middle name of Mae, because when we took her to the Vet, he thought she was 6 months old, which put her birth month as May. She was a wonderful little kitty, full of love and had a friendly personality.
At about one year of age, she started having problems with swallowing. She had to take big gulps to get her food down.
A visit to the vet diagnosed her with an extremely large polyp in her throat, in fact it was the biggest one the vet had ever seen.
The surgery was scheduled and she got through the procedure and the polyp was removed with no issues. She continued to grow and thrive.
Then she got sick again. She was probably 2 years old. She was no where to be found, but we knew she was in the house. I found her under the bed, and she would not come out. I knew something was wrong. Once we got her out from under the bed, she could barely walk. I scooped her up, and back to the vet we went.
They did a big work up, and they did not know what exactly was wrong. They said she may not survive, but they treated her with shots of antibiotics and steroids. She survived! But truthfully, she was never quite the same after that illness. She was petrified to go outdoors, and did not venture outside for over a year after that illness. She didn't purr anymore. She no longer wanted to be pet or held like before, and would hiss if you picked her up. She became a bully to our sweet pet dog and would attack the dog for no reason. But she was still our pet. And I still loved her. She would come sit in the rooms with us, and as long as we did not invade her space, she was happy. At night, she would lay at my feet at the bottom of the bed. My Hubby nicknamed her "Evil"-- but he still loved her, too. And so we lived harmoniously respecting her space for all these years.
Today at lunch break, I came home to find Gracie sitting in the living room. I said to my Son, "I think Gracie is trying to purr!" I saw her belly falling and rising quickly. I put my hand on her and continued to watch her, and then realized she was having an increased respiratory rate. I googled normal respiratory rate for cats, and realized she was breathing at a very rapid rate.
I knew this was bad. I went to the garage and got the crate. I went upstairs, and Gracie did not fight me to go into the crate. That 's how sick she was. She sat in the crate in my lap as my Hubby drove us to the vet. I talked to her and told her I loved her.
Thankfully the Vet saw her as the last patient of the day. The Vet examined her and confirmed she was having significant respiratory difficulty, and got a chest xray. It took quite awhile before we re-joined Gracie and got called to the room where the xray was being looked at by the vet. The vet explained that Gracie had a very significant collapsed lung, and there may be some kind of tumor behind the collapsed lung, but it was difficult to tell for sure. There was no trauma, so the Vet thought this was a spontaneous pneumothorax. Humans can get this condition. In cats, it is a very rare condition. in fact, it was the first one the Vet had seen at their clinic. There were 2 options: surgery which had no guarantee she would survive or euthanize her to stop her suffering. In humans, chest tubes are extremely painful. I knew what I had to do, and I cried, She was so sick. She let us pet her and hug her and kiss her good-bye. R.i.P Miss Gracie Mae, I love you.
With a heavy heart,
Your Friend, Dr, Younger You