Artemis and I are both crying for Saffron. Mummy cat is trying to find her, and I’m sobbing because I know she never will.

Yesterday morning we took the kitten down to the Animal Health Trust to determine how much brain damage she suffered at birth. We also wanted to understand the reason for her seizure and find out if she was in any kind of pain. After a thorough examination by a very lovely pet neurologist, Saffron was anaesthetised and placed in an MRI scan. We waited until 5.15 to hear the results.

Saffron has multiple reasons to seizure – the underdeveloped brain we originally suspected, an inflamation of the meninges*, and hydrocephalus**. The MRI showed that both ventricles had swollen to approximately four times their original size and though the excess fluid could possibly be drained, the damage done is irreparable. She would never regain her peripheral vision, making trips out of doors difficult at best, and she would never regain her equilibrium. Likely, she would never learn to use the litter tray – her tiny addled brain unable to make the connection between the smell there and what she’s supposed to do.

Whilst we thought of giving her back to the CPL to let them find someone who would be willing to take her on, warts and all,  we decided that the kindest thing to do would be to have her put to sleep. Giving her anti-seizure medication every day is one thing, but cleaning up the carpet daily is another entirely. On top of that, she really struggled to come round from the anaesthetic after the scan and I’d rather just have done with it than put her through all kinds of operations and have her die anyway.

It’s heartbreaking. And now we have to tell the vets. Or rather S- does. All of my courage seems to desert me whenever I think about speaking to them on the phone and my mouth goes dry. I haven’t a clue, at this point, whether Saffron even survived the night. The logical part of me thinks it would be better if she just passed away in her sleep, but I find myself hoping against hope that the antibiotic drip she’s on has magically cured her. I want S- to tell me that the vet has called to say I can go down and collect my happy kitten, that I’ll bring her home – bouncing and bald – and that she and Artemis will begin their usual play-fighting.

But it’s a fool’s hope. That’s all it ever was. I’m starting to think like my dad on this – why have pets if they ultimately make you so utterly miserable?


* Cat meningitis.

** An excess of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles/cavities of the brain