I look forward to Lavinia and Rick Ross’s monthly update at:
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/ It is a collection of photos and text documenting their progress in their vineyard, flower gardens (some of which are memorial flower beds), and more. One section is a report from their many cats, among them Willow, whose story I will turn over to Lavinia:
As you know, our old calico Willow has been declining the last few years with failing kidneys, and has been on subcutaneous fluids for the last few weeks. Her hind legs have slowly been getting weaker, allowing me to do more for her, but also signalling that the end was nearing.
Willow stopped eating last night, and the feeding stimulant from the vet did not work today. She was pooping in her bed this morning, and lying in it, her hind legs seeming to be weaker than the night before. I cleaned her up in the sink, and she did not fight that so hard today.
It turned out Willow had come from a nearby property where the people had recently moved in. When I found out where she belonged, I attempted to give her back, but the man didn’t want her anymore. He had fallen and broken his leg, had no insurance and no job. She had escaped the first night and they had presumed her dead. So I took her in, fixed her up, and she became companion to Rick’s mother.
Given her extreme age and kidney problems she has been battling for years, the decision was made to let her go and join the Greater Universe as its newest citizen. Rick and I took her in to River’s Edge in late afternoon, and Dr. Hayes assisted her in peacefully passing on while we were there with her. Willow went quickly, and without pain. She was approximately 22 years old by all reckonings.
In Willow’s past life with the neighbor, she had been his sister’s cat. The sister died, then his mother took the cat in. His mother died, and he got the cat along with his father. He didn’t want the cat as she had a history of peeing everywhere, but my guess is that she was probably sick with urinary problems all those years. His father didn’t want to put her down, and they brought the cat to Oregon with them. We’ve battled her urinary problems all this time.
Her vet here in town, who retired two years ago, thought she had a condition where the neck of the bladder did not close completely. That would explain the urine leakage in her sleep. This also make an easy route for infection, and so the cycles of trips to the vet continued. I moved her care to River’s Edge after the Doc retired, as they do emergency care, and Dr. Hayes is an excellent cat vet.
The times between trips to the vet started growing shorter and shorter, and finally ended up with the subcutaneous fluids at home as the urine was pouring out of her and she was dehydrated. I was doing her towel laundry 2 or 3 times a day, and changing her bedding during the night when I woke up.
Due to the winter darkness and rain, Willow will be buried tomorrow morning at sunrise out by the persimmon tree, facing east towards the hazelnut grove. I think she would have liked the view from there. I like to think of her feisty spirit hunting in the tall grass, observing the birds, deer, all the various creatures that have come through the farm at one time or another. Rest in peace, little one.
Old Willow just ran out of road finally, and was not enjoying life. She will be missed.
Lavinia wrote this postlude to Willow’s journey:
I finished her gravesite this afternoon, putting some decorative stonework on it and planting daffodils. The weather was partly cloudy with some strong sun this afternoon. The old calico is enjoying a good run over the Rainbow Bridge.
Longer than my usual post, but I want to share how Lavinia and Rick cared for their beloved Willow though many people would have turned her away years ago because of her age and health issues.
Because they didn’t put her in a shelter, Willow spent the last years of her life enjoying the pleasures of Salmon Brook Farms and the love and care of Lavinia and Rick Ross. I join them in mourning Willow.