I got both my kitties from my sister. I got Belle in early June of 1997, and she will be 5 years old on April 24. About a year later I got Lily, who was born to Belle's sister. Lily would be 4 years old on May 8. (Lily's mother, Mimi, died on Valentine's day of 2001 from CRF. :( )Both of my girls were always extremely healthy 99% indoor kitties. (Lily did go out occasionally to nibble grass, but only for a few minutes at a time, and under strict supervision. I used to take them to my parents' farm sometimes, where they could run and play without fear of any cars, but I don*t do that anymore for Belle.)
The summer of 1999, I had a whirlwind romance with a man that I married quickly - because I thought I really knew him. Turns out I didn't know him at all. He turned out to be a con man. I didn't know that until it was "too late" for Lily. Before my marriage mistake, I had taken a job two hours from home, and couldn't take my kitties with me. My sweet neighbor checked in on the girls, scooped poop, fed, watered, and petted them during the week when I wasn't there. In addition, my parents would stop by to check on them on Wednesdays. I would leave for work on Monday morning (early) and would return on Friday afternoons, so I was only gone (technically) four nights and four and a half days. They were doing fine. No problems at all.
Since I was living two hours away the majority of the time, the guy I married didn't move in. He lived where he was living when I married him - on campus at the alcohol and drug rehabilitation place where he was employed as a rehab counselor. After a few weeks of living apart like this, he offered to check in on the cats, too.
Lily and Belle
On Friday, May 19 2000, my "husband" met me on my way home to go out to eat, and followed me back to my house.When I walked into the door I found Lily practically crawling to meet me. (My parents had just checked in on the kitties on Wednesday night and told me they were fine. My "husband" had checked in on them on Thursday night, and said they were fine too.) Lily was in so much pain that she could hardly walk! I scooped her up as I walked in the door, very concerned about her, and "he" walked in behind me, saying, "Man...Look at the bathroom." I hadn't even noticed the bathroom. (My house is like a small cottage, and when you walk in the front door, you're in the living room, but you can see straight through the house to the bathroom."I carried Lily into the bathroom to see the disaster, and it was truly that. The shower curtain and liner were pulled down. The bathroom reeked of cat urine. The rugs were all over the place. The basket filled with about 20 bottles of lotion and liquid bath soaps was upside down with all the bottles scattered everywhere. The skirt on the sink was ripped down. The trash can was overturned and the contents scattered. There was poop in the shower. I put Lily down on the seat of the toilet, and she immediately urinated all over the place. She seemed very nervous and terrified of something.
I called the emergency number on my vet's answering machine and arranged to take her to the local ER vet, and as I was changing my clothes, my "husband" was in the other room with Lily. I heard her growl and scream out and hiss, and when I rushed into the room, he had a big scratch on his arm. I told him to leave her alone because she seemed to be really upset, and we rushed her to the ER. That ER vet discovered that she had a broken canine, and an eye injury which he called a prolapsed iris. (It turned out not to be entirely prolapsed, but punctured nonetheless.) She was very sore and bruised, and all we could figure was that by the shape of the bathroom, she'd fallen from the top of the shower curtain. Since Lily loved to go up on high places, it made sense to me that she'd tried to jump from the window to the top of the shower curtain and it had fallen with her. Looking back, I now realize that it was my "husband" who had come up with that whole story as an explanation..... He also suggested that Lily may be having seizures.
The next morning she wasn't feeling any better, and so I took her to my vet, who did x-rays and kept her for me for observation. She stayed the weekend there, and my vet called me with results of her bloodwork that indicated a problem with her liver. She was concerned that since we figured she had fallen, and that "husband" thought it might be seizures, there may be some condition of her liver that was making her have seizures, and the bloodwork could support that.
I stayed home from work on Monday and took Lily to the University of Georgia Vet School. They ended up keeping her for three days (I think it was just 3), and found that she had a "luxation of the sacral coxxygeal joint." That explained the major pain she was in, and they told me her tail function may never return to normal. Other than that (and the broken tooth), though, she was going to be ok. Her eye was healing, too.
She was making a good recovery until the day my "husband" finally moved in to my house. I had completed my contract at the job two hours away, and he moved in on a Saturday morning (June 17, 2000). I had to go to a niece's birthday party, and he didn't want to go. I left him with the cats, and when I returned home several hours later, he said he had been taking a nap when he heard the cats
fighting, and when he separated them, Lily was terribly hurt. She would hardly move, and was in very obvious horrible pain. I tried everything to get her to eat, drink, and act alert, but nothing would work. By Sunday afternoon, she wasn't any better, and while I was petting her I noticed that there was a large gap between her lower back and where her tail began. I realized that the tail had been pulled loose. I called the vet school ER, and was told that nothing could be done until Monday morning, so I could bring her in then.
I took her in on Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon I was advised that she would have to have her tail amputated because it was neurologically dead. She made it through the surgery fine, and they then told me that her bladder and colon function was gone because of torn nerves, and I'd have to give her medicine to help her urinate. That was fine with me; I just wanted her to be ok.
Between the time she came home from the tail amputation and July 19, when I kicked the "husband" out of my house, I had to take Lily to the ER several more times, and she had spent several more days at the vet school in the hospital. In between those visits, I'd taken her to my local vet as well. There were constant injuries - another broken tooth, severe bruising on her belly, and just terrible lethargy. I was at my wit's end. They had run every test imaginable on her, and nothing was turning up. The vet school even kept her for several days JUST to observe her for seizures. She was observed for 24 hours a day - for FREE - because they were just as perplexed as I was. What was wrong with Lily?!?!
The "husband" had cited more incidences of cat fights, and I had been keeping the girls in separate rooms, thinking that Belle just must be a monster or something when I wasn't around. Lily was horrified of the "husband," but I thought that she was just afraid of all men because the first ER visit we'd made was with a male vet and male vet tech.
I knew something just wasn't right, though, because other things about the man I'd married were not making sense. Rather than explain them any further, suffice it to say that I was realizing that this man was NOT who he claimed to be.
Whenever I left him alone with Lily, I returned to find her injured. So many vet visits. The bills were mounting like you wouldn't believe, and the vets were beginning to ask me questions that offended me.....in accusing voices, suggesting that someone was injuring my cat. They asked if there were kids in my neighborhood that might have gotten their hands on her. I told them that she was entirely indoors! I didn't appreciate their implications! I was beside myself.
On July 19, 2000, after finally putting some pretty awful pieces to the puzzle together about this man I*d married, I got him out of my house. I had finally realized that the nightmare was even worse than I could ever have thought. Things started to make sense - how that even when I would tell him to stay away from Lily because she was so afraid of him, he would still go in to see her when I wasn't looking. (I'd caught him doing that several times.) I finally realized that Lily was never injured when I was at home and ONLY injured when he was alone with her.....she was terrified of him and no other men..... I still could not believe it...
I then filed charges against him for some of the awful stuff he*d done to me during this time, and also for the animal cruelty. I gathered all my veterinary information, asked my vet and the vet school's chief of staff to review Lily's chart and make a statement. I had to face this awful man in the judge's private courtroom for the animal cruelty charges. He was brought from the jail in handcuffs. It was a horrible event, but the judge was overwhelmingly convinced, especially since I had backing from the UGA Vet School, and I thought this would take care of him for a long while.
Later, he was sentenced for the charges, and given only probation for that!! For all the other horrible things he*d done (too many to mention!), he received a sentence of only 3 years in jail. He will be out sometime in the summer of 2003. He should have been given more time, and even the DA*s office apologized to me for that.
I was granted an annulment based on the fact that he married me with intent to fraud, and all the other horrible things that went on during our "marriage." Technically, I was never married to this man. I only wish I could wipe him out of my memories! I am working on that.
Oh - and part of his "probation" sentence here included that he was ordered to pay my vet bills. I provide copies of the bills to the probation office here.
I am doing well, and have recovered from the emotional side of the ordeal. Even though it has been almost two years, I am still trying to recover from the financial stress he put me under.
Lily thrived in his absence. She did not experience one single trauma after he left. She had to take medication so that her bladder would function, and she had to take daily antibiotics because she was so prone to bladder infections, as is the case with cats who can't empty their bladders.
For months, my house was covered by layers of plastic which were draped with sheets and towels so that Lily could have full run of the house. For a while, I had made her stay on the enclosed back porch at night so that she wouldn't urinate on the bed when she tried to sleep with me, but I decided that her emotional health was more important to me. I draped the bed with plastic and towels, and she would sleep with me. (It is my house, my life, and I love my kitty cats, so I didn*t mind that she
slept with me - pee or no pee! I never even ONCE complained about having to clean up after Lily - either the pee or the poop. I didn*t see it like some folks would. She was my baby. I saw it as a daily routine. Get up in the morning; collect the wet towels, and start a load of clothes. Put out new towels; get ready for work. Come home from work and dry clothes from the washer. Collect wet towels; start another load. Repeat again if necessary. Give Lily her Acidophilus. Give Lily her phenoxybenzamine for bladder function. A couple of hours later, give Lily her ampicillin. That's life. She was such a precious baby. I miss her more than I could ever say.
When all this began, before I knew what had really happened, I swore I'd never get another cat. Over time, I realized that I had too much love to give, and that I wanted another. I guess one wasn*t enough: in early June, 2001, I adopted kitten sisters, "Scarlett Azalea" and "Daisy Rose" - precious little girls who have brightened every day of my life since they came to live with me!
Sweet Pea, a sweet little stray that had been coming to visit for about three years, came to stay in April of 2001, making my little house REALLY full!
I wish my Lily story had a happy ending. My precious angel Lily Prissy died in my arms on August 27, 2001. She had been doing well on her routine of medicines and was a happy kitty until she began a rapid decline one evening. She spent several days in ICU, completely stumping the vets as to the cause of her decline and onset of constant seizures. When it was clear that nothing they did could stop the seizures, and there was no explanation for them, I decided that I could not bear to watch my best friend suffer any longer. I made the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, and although I still cry frequently - missing her cuddly little body, the softest fur I*ve ever felt in my life, her purring, and her headbutts, I know I made the right decision. My daddy buried her at the edge of the garden, and I visit her grave each time I visit my parents. The vet school later told me that they*d identified no physical cause for her seizures, and could only assume it was related to her former abuse.
I hope my story will inspire people to keep their eyes open for abuse. I would have never imagined all this happening. Lily would be alive and perfectly whole right now if not for my terrible lapse in judgment. I am blessed with my houseful of precious girl-kitties whom I absolutely love with all of my heart, but there is a void that can never be filled. There has never been a more precious kitty on the face of the earth as precious as Lily, and there will never be another Lily. Every day I miss her terribly.
Fortunately, God is good, and He saw fit to bring a wonderful man into my life last summer. Rob loves my kitties, and they love him. He is not a liar, nor would he ever even imagine harming my babies. He knows how important they are to me, and he respects that. I trust him 100% with my girls. I never thought I*d be able to trust anyone with my babies again.
The best thing you can do is to hug your kitties and be thankful that they're healthy if they are, and if they aren't, know that you're NOT crazy for spending lots of money to get them well. There is at least one person on earth who understands that level of love, and knows that money really isn't an object when it comes to helping something or someone you love.
In Loving and Precious Memory of
~ LILY ~
ęCopyright 2002 by Susan