Rest in Peace, Darling Hopscotch
(April 2011 - 3rd August 2011)
Hopscotch came into my life in late May 2011. I named him after the blog title of my dear departed friend, Louis Sellier. I found Hopscotch in the space behind the condenser of one of the air-conditioning units in my office.
He was a sickly kitten, and full of fleas. I had to treat him for the fleas before I could bring him home. He survived the flea bath. I took him to the vet for his first vaccination. He survived the vaccination. He couldn't eliminate waste properly. So back to the vet we went, and after being treated with laxatives and dewormers, he was finally able to use the litter tray. Then other problems flared up. Poor little Hopscotch had such a high worm load that he could hardly eat and digest his food. So I had to administer the highest safe dosage of deworming medicine possible.
Once Hopscotch was clear of worms, I started worrying about his weight. He seemed unable to gain weight or grow, and was rather quiet and pensive for a kitten of his age. Still, he was an affectionate and loving kitten who was content to sleep against my neck or arm all night.
I left him in the good hands of my dear friend, Nicole, when I left for the Asia for Animals Conference in China in June.
Upon return from China, we found that Hopscotch had lost some weight, perhaps due to anxiety in my absence. We tried to make it up to Hopscotch with more cuddles, attention and yummy food.
When Topsy and Turvy, the rescued kittens, succumbed to parvovirus, I wasted no time in getting Hopscotch a full medical checkup and antibiotics to stop the secondary infection, even while I was still grieving for Topsy and Turvy. I was determined that Hopscotch should live, and I was pleased to see how well he socialised with other cats and humans. He was, to me, the ideal kitten.
Hopscotch's condition continued to deteriorate in July and soon he was practically skin and bones. I was horrified and soon vet visits became an almost daily affair. Hopscotch was constantly dehydrated and needed intravenous injections of glucose and fluids to stay alive. With grim determination, I pledged to spend less on my own needs and to direct all my resources towards saving Hopscotch instead.
Hopscotch was hospitalised for the final time last Saturday, 30th July. By then, he was so weak he could hardly meow. His gums were white and his pupils dilated. His body temperature was low. He was severely dehydrated despite all the vitamins, supplements, good food and filtered water that I provided him with. His lymph nodes by then were starting to show signs of enlargement. Amidst fears that he may have feline leukaemia virus, I begged the vet to put Hopscotch back on drips and keep him warm until the good vet was able to draw enough blood to test him for feline leukaemia virus and other retroviruses.
Hopscotch responded to the drips and antibiotics and started eating again in the next few days, but his breathing remain laboured and his kidney function was poor. A blood sample taken from an ear-prick showed that Hopscotch's white blood cells have not mutated, thus reducing the possibility of feline leukaemia virus. However, Hopscotch was so frail and his blood vessels so weak that a better blood sample could not be taken for confirmation. Still, there were enough signs for the vet to give a preliminary diagnosis of congenital polycystic kidney disease. Hopscotch's kidneys were failing in stages, and it really was the drips, medication and our love and care that was keeping him alive.
The vet called me this morning with the unfortunate news that my darling Hopscotch was no more. Never again will he lie on my tummy as I type out my assessments on my netbook. Never again will I get to feel him curl up against my neck as I sleep. Never again will I rush to prepare his wet food in the mornings and evenings and watch with satisfaction as he eats it at his own slow but steady pace.
My little Hopscotch is suffering no more. He is free of pain now, and he probably understands that I did the best I could afford for him, and loved him unconditionally.
Hopscotch, dear, if you ever get reborn as another cat or other animal, I would take you back and care for you all over again, in a heartbeat.
Rest in peace now, my beloved Hopscotch. I will never forget you.