Hayden, the tortoiseshell twin sister of Haribo, died on Sunday.
She was a little over two years old.
|Hayden - February 2013|
A few weeks ago one of her eyes clouded over and the third eyelid was clearly visible.
The normally active and, let's face it, still very young adult seemed a little less joyful than usual but was eating well and joining in the regular gymnastics sessions with her sister. Sound carries in the house especially when four kilogrammes of cat - multiplied by two - insists on treating the length and breadth of the upper floor like a Formula 1 circuit.
But something didn't seem quite right to me.
Call it projecting, but Hayden's gaze seemed somehow "vacant" and as it doesn't take much to rouse my concerns, I decided a visit to the vet was in order. It wouldn't do any harm and would set my mind at rest.
He ran a series of simple tests for a number of illnesses - all of which turned out to be negative, but agreed that her eye was most definitely clouded and slightly swollen.
For safety's sake he put her on a week-long course of cortisone and antibiotics with instructions to return 10 days later for a check-up and more tests if necessary.
Hayden responded well during the treatment but as soon as it stopped, she became listless and once again her eyes were clouded - both of them now - and her gaze seemed distant.
I didn't hesitate in returning to the vet before the 10 days were up.
A second series of tests - blood analysis this time, performed at the surgery - revealed an extremely high white blood cell count and anaemia: enough for the vet to become very concerned - and he didn't hide it - advising more substantial laboratory tests.
Hayden had blood samples taken at the beginning of last week and they were sent to Toulouse for analysis.
The results hadn't come back by Friday and in the meantime I could see that Hayden's condition had deteriorated considerably; She was weak, unable to stand and was neither eating nor drinking.
Knowing I would be away over the weekend, and not wanting to leave her in the care of someone else, I took Hayden to the surgery, asked the vet to keep her in for observations and to put pressure on the laboratory to rush the results through.
He did exactly that and on Saturday rang me with confirmation that Hayden had feline leukaemia.
I had done some research of my own on the Net after the vet had told me which illnesses he would be running tests for. I had read how many cats were carriers of feline leukaemia, how it apparently is most dangerous to kittens, that many cats can clear the virus or develop a latent infection and most frighteningly that there was no real cure.
Wary enough of information available on the Net, no matter how well sourced it was, I made an appointment for a proper discussion of what could be done - after all, it wasn't the sort of the sort of thing to be dealt with over the 'phone - for Monday morning
I never had my chance.
The vet rang me on Sunday morning with the bad news.
|Hayden - her first day|
Hayden was the cat who could open doors and drawers. Nobody had taught her. It just came naturally.
During the night I would sometimes hear her scratching at the chest of drawers in the bedroom. If that happened, then in the the morning I would more likely than not discover a trail of underwear and socks throughout the house (read this blog).
Hayden was also the kind of cat who wanted to get involved in whatever I was doing. And if that meant walking across the keyboard while I was working...then so be it.
She had an enormous purr - the first thing that had attracted her to me when I went to the SPA looking for a kitten (of course I came back with two).
Hayden was the snuggler and - surprisingly for a tortoiseshell - the more friendly-natured of the two. While Haribo let out blood-curdling screams during annual vaccinations (which left one vet near white with shock), Hayden seemed unconcerned, purring throughout and showing what a cool cat she really was.
Together with her twin partner in crime she would clear my desk of important papers, shredding them in her role as first office assistant (read this blog).
If I had been careful enough to leave nothing lying around, Hayden took another approach. She would pull open a drawer and rummage through its contents until she found something suitable to ruin.
It had got to the stage where I had to lock my desk drawers in a cupboard.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it nonetheless. I'll miss her.
Sure I have other animals around - but Hayden was...well Hayden.
They're all different aren't they?
And her life was so short.
|Hayden (front) with her sister Haribo|