I am about to lose my friend of 11 years.
She’s been a pain in the butt the whole time, hurt me physically on multiple occasions, disrupted my life and schedule, destroyed my property, but she’s also been there for me emotionally. Loving cats is a weird thing.
When I determined she was sick and needed to go to the vet, she spent the night under the blankets with me. She never does that. She usually sleeps on top of the blankets next to my hip. This time, she was stretched against my side between my arm and my torso. I didn’t sleep much that night. I kept waking up because I was worried about her. Worried I’d miss her last breath. I want to be there for her, so she knows I love her. After I took her to the vet, I spent the whole day crying my makeup off at work.
My cat is old. Nothing about this situation is surprising. I had some warning a few months before when she got a UTI and they checked her phosphorous levels etc and discovered they were elevated.
Now, she’s gone into full renal failure. However, it looks like she’s going to bounce back from this at least a bit. The thing is, renal failure can’t be cured, just managed and the doctor is talking months left with her. Saying that this is going to be a yo-yo of health where she gets better and then declines and gets better but not as good as before and declines. This is really just a controlled fall more than improvement. There’s nothing that is going to make her entirely healthy again.
And I feel bad about that but not for the reasons everyone seems to think.
I feel bad about keeping her around. She’s not going to fully recover, so letting her limp along for months seems cruel.
I also feel bad that I want her to go so that I can get to mourning instead of crying every other day over it.
Because I don’t want her to go. I don’t want to lose her.
But I don’t want her to suffer either.
Worse yet, I can’t articulate this to my family. People keep interpreting my feelings as “I don’t wanna put her down” but it is actually the opposite… ish. I want to spare myself the pain of watching her get better-ish, then deteriorate again. I’m stuck between being selfish and selfless. Where’s the middle ground on this?
I’m going to have to choose when to put her down. Her life is in my hands. I’m actually okay with that part. It’s the part about having to wait, to choose WHEN this will happen. Her lifespan is now my decision.
I’d like her to pass on her own, but also the waiting for that to happen is just… agony. And not going to happen, according to the doctor. Kidney failure is long and painful and it isn’t pleasant to die from naturally.
If my kitty could just tell me when she’s ready to go, I’d listen to her. But her brain is the size of a walnut and her capacity to communicate with me consists of walking on my tits in the middle of the night to let me know she’s “low” on kibble. Or sometimes she does it just because SHE’S awake and thus I should be too. “Oh, and refill my water dish while you’re at it.”
She actually hates when I take pictures of her. I took a whole bunch anyway. I only have 1 picture of my previous cat before she went missing, so I made up for that by over-photographing this beast. 90% of the pictures are of her in the same position, from the same angle. Mostly because I was usually stuck under her while she took over my lap.
So there’s that. I have loads of pictures of her at least.
Unfortunately, it looks like this Thanksgiving will be her last weekend. We’ll see…