On December 28 we sadly had to put our cat Charlotte to sleep. We first noticed that she was sick back in August when she stopped eating and getting sick if she did eat anything. It then became very apparent that she had slowly been losing weight for some time and because she had always been a skinny cat we hadn’t really noticed. The initial diagnosis was hyperthyroidism, which she did in fact have and was probably a large contributor to the weight loss, but even after going on medication for that she was still getting sick and not eating. We did a bunch of additional tests, but even after spending all the money on that the vet was never able to come to any conclusion about what was actually wrong with her. They said they could continue to run more tests that would get increasingly more invasive and more expensive without necessarily getting any great feedback. We all decided the best course was to treat her with steroids for lymphoma, which was their best guess about what was wrong and see how she responded.
After going on the steroids she seemed to bounce back. With the help from some appetite stimulants she gained back all her weight and was acting more like herself again. Sadly I think all the help from the extra weight and the steroids just helped her mask the fact that she still wasn’t well. According to the vet cats do everything they can to hide the fact that they are sick, so you often don’t know anything is wrong until they are really bad off. Charlotte seemed perfectly fine when we left for our Christmas trip to Arizona and the friend who was watching her on Christmas sent a photo of her looking all happy that day. Unfortunately a few days later that was not the case. Our friends that were watching her on that Sunday night found her lying on our basement floor not moving and breathing really funny. They called to let us know and tell us they were going to take her to the emergency vet.
The vet called us and let us know that she was showing neurological issues. She wasn’t responsive when they waved a hand in front of her face and her legs were locked, which is a sign of neurological issues. Her lungs were also very bad which they said could be due to issues in the part of the brain that control the lungs or she could have aspirated some of the blood that she was drooling. The whole situation sounded awful. After asking them realistically whether she would really be able to come back from this they said no, so we made the decision to have her put down and not prolong her suffering. At the time I was really sad that we weren’t there in order to say goodbye to her, but in retrospect I’m kind of glad I didn’t have to see her the way they were describing her condition. I get to remember her seemingly happy and healthy as she was when I said goodbye to her on the morning that we left.
We got our Charlotte along with our other cat Scout about 9 and half years ago from the SPCA that is down the street from our house. Although we adopted them at the same time they are not from the same litter. All of the other kittens from their respective litters had been adopted out and there were no two kittens available from the same litter at that time, so we picked out two kittens from different litters. Paul picked out Scout immediately and then was looking at some other kitten who was just sleeping and looked boring to me. I told him I didn’t want the other kitten. Instead I was taken by the kitten that was literally hanging off of her cage door. I thought that looks like an insane, fun little cat. That was my Charlotte.
At the time her name was Precious. There was no way I was going to call a cat Precious, so she got renamed Charlotte after Charlotte’s Web (obviously Scout was named for To Kill a Mockingbird). I would still call her my precious kitty all the time though, especially after The Lord of the Rings when I would say my precious like Smeagol. Paul did not like it when I did that. I had many other names for her as well. I called her gooberhead all the time. She was also known as Meeper because of the cute little barely there meow that she had that was more like a meep than a meow. She also went by Little One in contrast to her fat sister, and as stealth kitty or sneaky cat because she was very good at sneaking past you into rooms she wasn’t supposed to be in without you noticing and then getting locked in there. I called her Crazy Pants because true to how she was acting from the first moment I saw her she was always slightly insane. I also called her Smushface because of her tendency to sit with her face smushed into the corner of the cat tree.
Incidentally she never paid much attention to that cat tree in it’s original location along the wall on the opposite side of the room, but as soon as it was moved across in front of the book shelf in order to make room for the Christmas tree or for the new cat tree we bought to replace this one she loved it.
I lost most of my pictures of the cats from the first few years of their life when the hard drive on one of my old computers fried after Scout chewed through the cord on it. Paul pulled up some of these cute kitten pictures of Charlotte that he had for me.
Charlotte was the sweetest cat I have ever known. Together Scout and Charlotte are the best cats I have ever had by far. They love people, are very mellow, and are not at all biters or scratchers. Most of our friends prefer Scout because she is the more outgoing cat and is the one that will come out during parties and stuff. Don’t tell Scout, but I always had a special place in my heart for my little Charlotte. She wasn’t a fan of commotion, so she would run into the basement when people were in the house and moving around a lot. At the end of parties or when people were over and just chilling on our couches or around the dining room table then she would come out and beg for attention. She loved for people to pet her and would sit next to me on the couch, meow, and head butt me until I would pet her. I once read an article saying that petting cats creates a stress response in them. I said someone should tell Charlotte that because she insists on being petted at all times. I have never had another cat who has begged for attention like she did. She was definitely a lap cat.
Almost every morning before I left for work she would run to the sit on the arm of the couch, which is right next to our front door and beg me to pet her on the way out the door. It was the sweetest thing. She knew my routine and when she would hear me coming back down the stairs after brushing my teeth she would race from the back of the house, around the top of the couches, and onto the arm of the couch. I always wanted to get a video of her doing it, but sadly I never did. I did snap this picture of her waiting for me on the arm of the couch one morning though.
Charlotte also liked nothing better than a precarious position to sleep or sit in. She was constantly amusing me with the places and positions I would find her sleeping and sitting in.
Charlotte also had a weird obsession with tomatoes. You could not leave tomatoes out on the counter or that cat would get into them. The first time she did it as a kitten I thought she was attracted to it because as a red, shiny ball it looked like a fun toy. I was completely wrong. It was definitely something about the smell that attracted her. Even when we brought tomatoes home from the farmers’ market in a completely opaque bag she couldn’t see into she would start stalking around them and jumping up on the counter to try and get into them. She would not just play with them. She would actually eat them. This is what would happen if you left a tomato unattended around Charlotte.
Charlotte and Scout were never super cuddly with each other, but they did like each other and get along. They would play and wrestle with each other and groom each other, which usually devolved into said wrestling matches. They would chase each other around the house and Charlotte was also smart enough to cut Scout off by taking the shorter route behind the TV stand instead of running in front of it. Every once in awhile you would find them cuddled up together though. Scout is definitely missing Charlotte and has been wandering around the house meowing like she has never done before and is super needy with us at the moment. It’s sad because you can’t really explain to a cat what happened to her little buddy.
This is the last picture I have of Charlotte. My friend Kristen took it and texted it to me on Christmas. I miss this little girl so much and I’m so sad that she’s gone, but I’m glad I got to spend 9 and a half years giving love and getting love from this super sweet little cat.