:: Franc Franc and the Meaning of Love ::Franc Franc when he was a little kitten (Oct 2012)
After my incredibly short entry, I felt that I did not do Franc Franc justice by penning down such a short entry. I needed to write about this and journal it down so that it would be something that we could remember in the future, and in the meantime, the entry would be the tiny hope that Franc Franc would have the spirit and courage to overcome this fatal disease.
We noticed that Franc Franc was a sickly Ragdoll kitten even when we visited him when he was still a teeny weeny kitten - in fact, I could fit him into my palm when I first visited him at the breeder. We were conscious of our budget and hence did not mind having the kitten with the broken tail, as long as he was healthy and that we could take good care of him. We ended up naming him Franc Franc. When we first collected Franc Franc.
There were tell-tale signs that Franc Franc had a compromised immunity level even before we collected him. He had a bout of fever which caused a shedding of fur at certain parts of his body. He looked like a giant rat when we first picked him up to bring him home, but we did not mind that.
It was at that point in time that Franc Franc became part of the family. It was our first step in accepting him as a family member, and it was also the point that we knew there was no turning back. Love and commitment towards another life is not the same as love and commitment towards an inanimate object. The bonding began the moment Franc Franc came out of his mobile cage. He would cautiously step out of the cage, and then our home, would be his home, till he breathes his last. That was his commitment to us, and thus, our commitment to him.
And of course, there were moments when he would have his naughty antics. There was this time that he pranced onto the television console and broke the lamp. I mended it. There was another time he literally chewed my mouse cable into bits. I got a new one. Franc Franc was a joy that could not be blamed, for he was our baby. Franc Franc at Kenneth's Place, with his toy gift rat.
Hence, it was painful when we started to realise that he was no longer his active self after another bout of fever. He no longer chased after his toys, and while never being aloof, Franc Franc definitely seemed to keep to himself.
Never did we realise that he was struggling with a terrible illness. Franc Franc done up nicely for the 2013 New Year, thanks to XinLi
The tipping point happened last week. Franc Franc did not eat for two days, and while we thought it was probably constipation, we were worried and brought him to his usual vet. We have noticed that his abdomen had started to swell and realised that it was not normal. The vet did some tests and concluded that it was F.I.P.
F.I.P. or Feline, Infectious Peritonitis, is a usually fatal, incurable disease that affects cats, and is one of the most terrible conditions that can afflict cats. The cat would simply be so ill that it would lose all appetite and become so depressed and weak and die a slow and painful death. One of Franc Franc's many frequent rests. 4-5 April 2013
We were then confronted with the most difficult decision - do we take the brave decision to ease Franc Franc's pain, or do we continue to try to persist? Our friends, who are cat owners, shared that we should take on the perspective of the cat and feel if they are suffering. If they are, then we should just do the right thing and lessen their suffering.
I was personally uncomfortable with one thing. In our interactions with the people involved in this episode, some felt that we could ask for another kitten as a compensation. I am sure they only meant well, but could something like Franc Franc be replaceable? As what I had mentioned earlier, we have already accepted little Franc Franc into our household, and hence, our hearts. How could this be seen as a transaction?
I guess this was a difficult and emotional period for all of us. We saw another two vets to date, and the conclusion was the same. We had to brace ourselves for the final moment. As he was sick, he hid under the bedside table and
in the shadows. 7 April 2013.
I would lie if I write that I did not shed any tears during this trying week. In fact, we all did. As we tried to make Franc Franc's life as comfortable as we could, we were confounded by the issue that Franc Franc was not eating at all. He rejected all kinds of food that we tried to feed him. We boiled a chicken drumstick, tried different canned cat food. I even bought a BBQ chicken wing freshly grilled from the supermarket with the hope that he would be enticed by the delicious aromas from the wing. He did not budge.
And so, he grew weaker and weaker, and started to limp. And while we were already resigned to the inevitable, we continued to read up more on the internet. Wendy suggested Raindrop Therapy to help Franc Franc's frame of mind, which we appreciated, but I supposed we were focused on getting his appetite back for the time being.
It was hence, on Saturday night, that I suddenly decided that if we wanted to increase Franc Franc's survival rate, we would just have to force feed. We held Franc Franc down with a cloth (to prevent him from scratching us), and then with a syringe, started to force feed him. He needed at least 60ml of food in him to keep him going, and after a few trial and errors, we started to use the blender to blend the canned food into a paste which we could slowly propel, albeit a little by little, into his mouth. When we forced fed Franc Franc. He was really sick and malnourished
at this point in time. This was on 8 April 2013.
Of course, Franc Franc would resist, and struggle vehemently. The small syringe that we used could have about 2.5ml filled into it, and in order to force 30ml of food into him we would need at least 15 rounds. Every round would require a few tries (we couldn't choke him so we had to do it a little bit at a time) and hence it would take us at least half an hour in the morning, and then the same is repeated at night.
The strange yet wonderful thing about this was that none complained about having to wake up early, or making the additional trips to the vet. It was a life that we were trying to save, and if this was a race against time, we would have to race to win. Franc Franc managed to jump onto the bed
To bid me farewell before my work trip. 9 April 2013.
And hence, today is Wednesday. It has been over five days since the start of this episode. Franc Franc is still not eating on his own, but he has definitely gained strength, and could at least move around the house and jump onto the bed. And while we have spent considerable time, effort and expenses on Franc Franc, there is no regret in this journey that we are walking with Franc Franc. Photo of Franc Franc taken on 10 April. He has gained back some
strength fortunately, but still have to be force-fed.
For he has reminded us the meaning of love, and that, is priceless.