Farewell to My Helper

Pita on the lookout

A few weeks after we moved out to Chicago from Penn State, I decided I wanted to get a kitten because my childhood kitten, no matter how many treats I gave him or how many hours I played with him, really jumped up in my lap or slept next to me by choice. One afternoon, Amy and I stopped off at the pet store and I picked out a super cute greyish kitten. I was very excited to get her out of the pet store and into our loving home. The pet store worker came and got her from the kitten area, went to cut her nails, and before we knew it, escaped and climbed up into the wall that the pet store owner had opened in the back during some construction. The pet store worker told us he would call us when she came down and off Amy and I went to go see the first Star Wars movie (Episode I). A little over a day later, we got a call that she came down and was ready to pick up if we still wanted her. He told us she was a real shy kitten because her and her litter mates were born under a porch and did not have a lot of human exposure.

We went and got her and I was happy as could be. She was cute, and Amy did not really have the same love for cats as I did so I would surely be the cat’s #1 person. When we got her home, she instantly went into the bathroom and wedged herself between our tub and sink and I was forced to try and get her out using a yardstick.

Pita and Amy

Within a few days, she started exploring and got comfortable with me, Amy, and our apartment. Over the next few weeks Pita became completely attached…to Amy. If Amy moved, Pita moved…they were inseparable. Pita remained really shy with other people, but if it was just me and Amy – Pita was always there by her side or on her lap. Pita loved to play with clear bottle caps, and came to her name and to “Helper” – which I am not sure how that got started…I imagine it was because I was lazy or something at some point.

We moved three times with Pita, added in another cat Salsa, a greyhound Triscuit, Triscuit’s brother Colby last year after Triscuit died, and then our son Evan, and throughout all of it, Pita remained shy, but with no questions, the alpha of the pack. She intimidated her animal siblings, put them in their places, and ran the house. When we moved to our most recent house and I started working from home, things changed a bit and Pita stayed in my office under my desk with me every minute of every day that I worked. If I left my office, she would meow non-stop and I always joked about giving her a raise, etc for all the work she did. She did have her moments of eating my contracts, meowing during conference calls, and trying to sit on my Mac Book Pro as I was trying to work, but I loved having her around.

Sleepy Pita

About two weeks ago we noticed she could not jump up on the bed at night and Amy took her to the vet to get checked out. They did X-rays, blood tests, etc looking for either a tumor or something that might be causing her weakness and weightloss. After some shots and fluids, she sent home with some high calorie, mineral/vitamin supplements that should jump start her want to eat/drink. (that was a Saturday). On Sunday she seemed to get worse and as an un-experienced force feeder – I seemed to make her throw up everything I gave to her so I called the Vet first thing on Monday and took her in for three days of intensive care.

I met with the vet last Wednesday with semi-hopeful news. Her levels were not great, but the vet was impressed that she seemed much more perky and she sent her home with me…along with instructions to feed her every hour. I did that Wednesday and Thursday but it was so emotionally draining to see her go down hill every time I entered the room I called the vet Friday morning and asked if I should bring her in for another day of intensive care. The vet told me it would be best to keep her at home and to just keep at the feeding – so I did. The 1:30 feeding was rough – she showed no interest in swallowing and it just killed me. The last thing I did with her was brushed her fur and told her that “every girl, even if they did not feel good should still be able to look pretty”. She purred, I told her I loved her, and then left her alone to rest until the next feeding. When I went back in at 2:30 she had died.

She was an amazing cat who died a few months short of her 11th birthday. I wanted to thank the wonderful doctors and staff at Skycrest Animal Clinic for everything they did for her. I will truly miss her presence and will always remember her as my little helper.