Cybelle's Saga

Ms. Cybelle
Seal Point Siamese

Age unknown
Rescued March 1, 2002
Died September 26, 2002

Survived by 5-month old kittens, Duke and Maka. And people who cared.

We didn't see this coming. On the contrary, everything seemed to be going so well for a change. Cybelle had survived a feline catastrophe, lived to be rescued and deliver her kittens, and now she had a dream home. We kept one of her two surviving kittens, and Duke is turning into a very handsome young cat. We were looking forward to a story book ending for Cybelle's saga.

We were all trying hard, and she was making progress. She had gotten past her initial infection, tested negative for deadly infectious diseases, and appeared to have a normal pregnancy. After delivering her kittens, she went back into heat far sooner than we expected, was spayed in mid-July and bounced right back from the surgery.

During August, Cybelle romped like a kitten, teaching Duke the various ways of the cat world. They raced through the house, fought endless mock battles, and cautiously explored the outdoor world. She taught him to hunt, although she was more familiar with roaches than other prey. When they slowed down, and the mood was right, Duke might even get to nurse for a while, although it seemed to be mostly for psychological rather than physical nourishment. Duke kept growing and Cybelle, it seemed, was finding herself.

But looking back from our current vantage point, we can see that her activity level dropped. She started slowing down, sleeping more. She threw up several times. Nothing major, perhaps a hairball, we thought. Her appetite remained good, always a key indicator, and it gave us confidence.

But in the middle of September, she developed a little sneeze, and Duke also seemed "down". It still didn't seem like a big thing, though, and I scheduled a trip to the vet for the following weekend. As a precaution, I started both Duke and Cybelle on antibiotics, using leftovers from an earlier round of medical care.

Duke bounced right back. She didn't.

Our Sunday visit to the vet finally arrived, but didn't yield any clues to her condition. They sent a blood sample off for testing, and we came home with more antibiotics.

But poor Cybelle was sinking rapidly. I should have taken her back the next day, but it seemed reasonable to wait for the blood test results. In the meantime, though, her appetite evaporated, and she only managed to eat a few bites.

On Tuesday morning I wrote: "Ms. Cybelle is not doing well. She hasn't been able to keep much down for the last 24 hours, and I'm having to go back to basics. Nutrical, a high calorie supplement. Water from a can of tuna. A few tuna flakes. Just enough to stimulate her system a bit. She spent much of yesterday under my desk in a dark corner."

We rushed her back for emergency care early Wednesday morning, just about the time the blood test results came back indicating a diagnosis of feline diabetes. It wasn't good news, but at least offered a treatment approach. But she never had a chance. By the time we saw her again late Thursday afternoon, she was unconscious.

Meda and I sat in a small examination room at VCA Kaneohe Animal Hospital and talked to Cybelle at length while holding her wrapped in several towels for warmth. I don't know if she could hear, or was even aware of our presence, but it seemed like the right thing to do. For her, for us, whatever.We talked of her rescue, and her kittens, of being a devoted mother, and the chance for life that she delivered for them. We talked about the brief weeks of freedom she had to explore the outside world, and the lessons she passed on to Duke. We thought of the kitten that had died, and told Cybelle she was waiting.

And, later, we struggled with tears as Dr. Nagata administered a final injection, then we quietly walked into the warm evening air and drove home.

We walked on the beach in Kaaawa at dawn the next morning, as we have almost every day for more than six years.

It was quiet and peaceful, the water reflecting the rich colors of sunrise.

I came back and sought out this verse from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Book III, Song of Myself. First read to us years ago by a friend, William Merwin, following the loss of another feline companion.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd. I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their conditions,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

Please go back to the beginning of Cybelle's Saga and enjoy reading about her brief time with us. Cybelle's gone, but she lives, in her kittens and in us. kittens