I wrote a year ago about my cat getting sick and showing signs of liver disease. At that point, she was taking treatments but the constant pills, liquid meds, and bland food were making her an unhappy cat. So, I decided to discontinue treatment and allow her to live well as long as she could. During the summer, my cat was losing weight and despite giving her the highest fat and calorie foods we could find, she wouldn't gain weight. My parents held on to her after we returned from Peru but she declined rapidly over the last few weeks.
I'm very grateful my cat could spend the last weeks of her life in a warm house since my husband wouldn't let her in our house. On Saturday, I decided to have her euthanized. And on Monday, I called and found a vet that did house calls and that made all the difference. Kitty was able to sit on her blanket on my Mom's lap in the same living room she'd grown accustomed to. We were all around her, talking to her when she got her final injection. We then carefully placed her in a box, drove her home, my husband dug a big hole, and we buried her underneath a shade tree. I placed a wood cross as a marker because Kitty's a Christian, I baptized her myself. :)
I was walking down memory lane last night and it's amazing to think about all the experiences I've had, the life I'd lived for thirteen years, she was with me. She gave my life meaning, literally when I lived in Washington DC. When things were bad there, I was so grateful to have a purpose, that I could take care of her. When we lived together, just the two of us, she would lie next to me in the morning and we'd curl up together. Sure, the fur got everywhere but it was worth it.
I don't think caring for a sentient being is much different than caring for a person in that responsibility for life remains the same. I really struggle with the idea that we can decide when an animal and actively make it happen. For the last several days, I felt guilty knowing that I knew when she was going to die and cheating her out of knowing it, too.
But, my husband tried hard yesterday and supported me through the experience. I'm left with wonderful memories. She was a rockin' cat and a lot of people who met her, said so. She wasn't perfect and neither was I, and when we were alone yesterday morning, I apologized to her in failing to do the best I could for her. I'll miss her and always treasure that unique, special relationship.