RIP Little Iggy

Every once in a while I fall in love with a patient at the ASPCA’s hospital where I work. This time it was a tiny kitten named Iggy. He came right to me whenever I visited him and climbed up to my face to look me in the eyes. Then he’d go to sleep in my hands. Yeah, you got me little one. His medical situation was dire however, and so I told everyone who would listen that I would foster him and do whatever it took.

But when radiographs were taken, his doctor explained to me that there was nothing to be done. They thought it was possibly megaesophagus, which I could have worked with him to treat, but there was a constriction of the esophagus just before the stomach, and food was never reaching his stomach. In the radiograph you could see it all piled up before the constriction, maybe an inch away from his stomach. I almost started sobbing right then and there, because as I’d carried Iggy out of the xray room we passed a plate of food and he cried out for it, twisting his body around trying desperately to reach it. Poor little Iggy was starving to death.

The only things to try to help him couldn’t be done at the ASPCA, and I don’t have the money to pay to have them done elsewhere. The decision was made to euthanize him. The necropsy revealed a persistent right aortic arch which was causing the constriction. I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the cardiac surgery to repair that either. It’s breaking my heart. I wanted to save him, but I couldn’t afford to save him. I’m mostly okay with my modest income, but not right now. It was just a matter of money, and he had to die.

The people I work with are so kind. Yessenia, one of my co-workers, called to tell me when they were going to put him down, because I wanted to be there. But I couldn’t get there in time. I wasn’t the only one who loved him so I knew he would not be alone (and he wasn’t). One of the doctors, Dr. Florence Lee, made me paw prints. And now I’m sobbing.

I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you Iggy. I’ll never forget you.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “RIP Little Iggy

  1. I’m sorry! Cats are so brave with their suffering. My cat is laying all over me while I type this! Purring like crazy. He was a rescue. Somehow his tail was broken when a kitten and the shelter vet had to amputate it. Shiloh can’t tell me what it was like, but I know he is grateful to have a home for the last eleven years.

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