Einstein in a Republic of Tea box.

I’ve had a tough few weeks with Einstein. It started about two weeks ago this past Thursday, when I took him in for his leukemia booster shot. He had a fever, so they refused to vaccinate him and told me to bring him in again in a week. I brought him home and over the course of the week noticed his belly grow. When I brought him in again, they said he still had a slight fever and thought he had worms. After administering the dewormer I approved, the tech who’d brought it out showed me how to take his temp under his forelegs and advised me to get a thermometer, and to bring him one week later. I took him home and hit the store for a thermometer that day. Over the course of the next week, his temperature fluctuated, dropping then rising again. And when I got home from my volunteer shift on this past Tuesday I saw how big his belly was. Since I had an appt on Thurs, I’d scheduled his next appt for the Weds before, so I took him in.

The prognosis wasn’t good.

He had Feline Infectious Peritonitis, also called Feline Coronavirus Disease. It had caused fluid to build up in his abdomen, and the vet told me it would move to his chest next. In all but one case of kittens with this illness, she’d seen only one survive, and I thought, One out of how many she’s seen? and made the hard decision. Einstein’s quality of life had already suffered. He spent a lot of time curled up in the Republic of Tea box he’d made into his bed, or tucked up by his food and water dishes. I think it hurt him to hold him because he’d stopped cuddling as much as he used to. I didn’t want to watch him deteriorate or force him to suffer an awful suffocation/drowning death, so I let the vet euthanize him.

Einstein was a happy, active kitten until the disease took him. He loved cuddles. Almost every time I made a cup of coffee or tea, he’d hop up on the table in my kitchen area to watch my process with my Brita pitcher—he tried so hard to understand what happened to all the water. Nearly every morning, he’d serenade me awake at eight o’clock or so, and he’d sometimes join me to lie on my hip or abdomen if I unclipped the hose from my CPAP mask and called his name, and we’d lie there together taking comfort in each other, dozing.

There won’t ever be another cat like him, and I miss him.