Saturday, August 18, 2012
When I was 16, I went with my parents to put our family dog to sleep. It was, until today, the hardest thing I've ever had to do...but she had been sick for years, and unable to walk, and my parents finally knew that she was suffering and keeping her alive was selfish.
I got home at about 3 am Thursday morning, and both cats were fine. They both played, and cuddled, and I gave them lots of love and a couple of treats. There was absolutely no sign that Little Kitty was suffering or getting worse.
But yesterday, I got home from a board meeting to find her completely disoriented and unable to walk. She couldn't get one paw under her at all, and was walking sideways on it. She stumbled and couldn't walk in a straight line...and when she fell over, she peed right there. My roommate said that she had waited for me to come home, and maybe she's right. But after watching my family dog suffer for years, a big part of me was relieved that it had happened so fast. She had just been playing the night before, and then it all caught up to her.
So I knew that if she made it through the night, I was going to have to make a hard decision today. And she did. She curled up on the pillow next to me, and never cried or showed that she was hurting. But she stumbled into me, and luckily too! Because then she just started walking off the side of the bed, not getting ready to jump down, but like she forgot it was there. She vomited more than once, and had a couple of accidents, so I knew that whether she was crying or not, she was not okay anymore.
So this morning, I called the vet. They made an immediate appointment for me, knowing the kitty's history. And I wrapped her in a blanket, put her in my lap, and went to the vets office. They were incredibly nice, and I held her the whole time. She never got scared, her heart rate never went up -- I was holding her, so I could tell!
The vet told me that she was surprised at how long Little Kitty had lasted. After three months, with late stage renal failure and hyperthyroidism and all the other problems, she had thought that the kitty would have been gone much sooner. The vet put in the needle, and hugged me before administering the injection.
I was really worried about having to go to the garden party afterward. But I knew all of the volunteers, they had heard about Little Kitty's troubles, and they were so considerate. They all hugged me. And then I got to focus on feeding people, and talking about the food I had cooked -- black bean burgers and potato salad. And there were dozens of kids there who have a community garden plot, who told me about the veggies they grew and how they had learned to make salsa and pickles out of them. Watching those kids running, and laughing, and having a water balloon fight while running through that garden was truly cathartic. It's almost impossible to mope while kids are laughing, so I'm really glad I went and did it instead of going home and crying.
I'm home now, and Miss Kitty knows what happened. She guarded the little one all last night, and yowled when I took her this morning . And when I got home, she jumped up on me and sniffed, then looked out the door to see if Little Kitty was there. Then she put her head on my shoulder and purred, and let me hold her for almost 15 minutes (this cat does NOT like to be held). So now, we're okay.
I almost always wonder if I'm doing the right thing, but this time, I know I did. Little Kitty went fast, she was happy and playing with me less than 48 hours beforehand...and even though it's hard for me and my roommate now, we can't regret bringing her in and making sure she was well-loved and had a home and a family for her last three months.