Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Losing Your Pet

My cat is dying. And I am reminded that often, usually, death is not pretty. It sucks. I am sure most others share my wish that all of our people and our animals could pass peacefully in their sleep - happy, with no pain and suffering. Instead too often it occurs with uncomfortable and unfamiliar hospital rooms and poking and prodding and machinery. Watching your loved one rapidly deteriorate in a pool of their own blood, vomit and excrement.

Sorry to be so graphic, but I've just spent the night on a death watch with my cat, after watching his now frail body shake everything out of his body from both ends until he was so exhausted he collapsed in his litter box and stayed. His breathing so tiny that I had to constantly check to make sure he was alive. His eyes, while they were still open, were not his eyes. They were dying eyes. The life gone.

I left him there to rest, expecting to find him dead the next time I checked. But amazingly at 6:30 this morning he moved around a little and drank a lot of water and I've even managed to get him to eat a little, without retching it all up. The best thing of all is that his eyes look so much better  - more like his old self. Better yet - he has been purring. Just lying there, sick and weak, but purring. I feel blessed. Thank you universe for this gift. That is all I wanted -  a little more time to hold him and love him and hear him purr. For any of you who have cats, you know what I mean. The purring is the best thing. Just the best. I wanted him to be in his home and have some level of comfort before he leaves this world - not to pass or have to be put down in the animal hospital. It is a very nice animal hospital with great staff, but still, not as good as being in your home around your people and your familiar surroundings. So I am so grateful that he is here even if it does mean prolonging the stress and pain for myself and my husband.

He is still so weak and I am letting him sleep. Last night I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be taking him to the animal hospital again this morning to put him to sleep - to end his suffering, but this slight improvement changes things, although only slightly. Yes, he is a little better, but I see very clearly the writing on the wall. These are his last hours. Last days if we are lucky. We will be putting him to sleep, it is only a matter of when. I can nurse him now, but only so much. His systems are out of balance and rapidly deteriorating. He is sick, but not in pain. Not yet.

And I am so grateful that today I discovered that my vet will do at home euthanasia. When it is time, we can do it here at home where he is comfortable and relaxed. He can pass on from his home. I can hold him as he passes. This is how I have always wanted it to happen. I just hope I can keep myself together and not be crying hysterically as it is happening, which would not be relaxing for my cat. I think I can do it for him. I can keep myself composed until its done.

So, for now I play nurse. Checking him every half hour or so to see what and how he is doing. I give him a little water and try to get him to eat a little. I pet his head and neck and listen to him purr. I tell him I love him and I thank him for all that he has given me for so long. He and I have been through a lot. I reminisce about him in my life over such a long period of time. All the places we've lived, the things that he has been around for in my life. I cry a little. I try not to think about how my house and my days and my routines will miss him. When you live with someone for 15 years, having them suddenly not there anymore can really rock your world and shake your existence. Even if they are a little animal.

But I accept what I have to do. That it is his time to move on. For me to let him go. It sucks. Doesn't it always? That is the kicker with pets, isn't it? They bring you so much love and fun and joy, but one day they have to leave. I guess you can say that about anyone in your life. We suffer through the loss because the time we have with them is totally worth it. And despite how much everything sucks so much right now, it has been totally worth it.

P.S....I promise happier postings in the future. As you can imagine things are kind of sucky right now and I just need to vent and write about it. I know others out there feel these same things and go through these same things.

Me and Mr. Kitty about a year ago
I will miss him hanging out with me as I work from my home office. 
And I will miss how he would always hang out with me in the bathroom. You could not take a bath without him lounging on the edge of the bathtub.

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