Friday, February 13, 2009


Yesterday, I had an appointment to take my cat to the vet. Terrific T. is of the opinion that it might be time to let him go, but I just can't bear it. As much as I know that there is no healing him, no "coming back" from his illness, he is still not all that sick. He runs to me, purrs, and is overall pretty lively. But, I also cannot ignore the fact that he is having various types of trouble, most notably that he isn't eating much (he has some sores in his mouth). I have been slowly resigning myself to the fact that I will likely soon have to make the decision to euthanize him. And honestly, it's completely killing me. I adore him. I don't want him to suffer, though. It's hard to know where that balance is, where his quality of life is still good enough, or when it's poor enough that I need to let him go.

So imagine me, big strong professional woman, in pinstriped suit, at the vet yesterday. . .sobbing. Yes, I was a complete sobbing mess, pretty much the entire time I was there. I promised myself before I went that I wouldn't do that, that I would be a big girl. If anyone from my professional life could have seen me, they never would've believed it. I think my vet's office must think that I am the crazy cat woman. But honestly, I adore the cat, and I've had him for more than a decade, and really, I've had a rotten 18 months, and I just don't need to be here with my beloved cat. But no one is giving me a choice in the matter, so deal with it I must.

The problem is that the vet can't really do anything about the sores in his mouth, because the treatment will likely harm his kidneys, which are already in serious trouble. The "solution" was to add a second antibiotic (he's already on one), and a narcotic painkiller. My vet is lovely and talented and creative, and very kindly told me that we are in uncharted territory at this point, given where he is at, but she still has suggestions. I'm embarassed to admit that my cat is now on two antibiotics, a painkiller, an antacid, and IV fluids once a day. Hence Terrific T.'s suggestion that perhaps we've taken things as far as they should go. I keep telling T. that my efforts with the cat bode well for him when we get old and grey.

I sobbed myself to sleep last night. But, when I got up this morning, I discovered that kitty had eaten the soft food I'd left down for him. He was purring and happy to see me this morning. He still seems full of life, and the painkillers haven't knocked him for a loop the way the vet feared they might. He seems. . .normal. I fear to say it, but there it is. So, this leaves me taking it day by day, still trying to figure out where the line is between not wanting to take his life before it's time, and yet ensuring that he has good quality of life, and not selfishly putting him through too much.

This seems so trivial compared to so many other issues people are dealing with, but it's still incredibly tough for me. I think that for women who want children but don't have them, our pets become important surrogates for us. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I think it's part of what makes this so hard for me. . .my pets have become dear friends, albeit ones who can't talk. If I had a child, I would no doubt be distracted, and maybe this wouldn't be so damn hard.


~Jess said...

It isn't easy. I've had to put down my dog (who was MY dog...she was the awesomest!) and a few summers ago my cat. I hated it both times. I couldn't go with my parents had to. It isn't easy and it entirely sucks. The decision to do so entirely sucks. It's hard to know when is the right time.
Hang in there. *hugS* Hopefully kitty keeps doing well with his repertoire of meds.

Ann said...

Pets are definately a part of the family ... and anyone who ever says "it was just a cat..." or "it was just a dog..." is lying. I can't comprehend not having a bond with our cat, Tristan. He's been with me through thick and thin and is my bestest buddy.

*hugs* Here's hoping for healing.

JamieD said...

No - it's not trivial at all.

I have four cats, but the one that is closest to me has cancer. We started chemo treatments after we first got the diagnosis but we quit after I saw how hard they were on him. So I decided to make whatever time he had left count.

Now, I know we are getting close but like you said, he still seems so full of life. He is still bright eyed, follows me around, sleeps with me. I am just waiting for him to tell me that he is tired and that he's done but he hasn't done it yet.

I know how hard this is. I'm thinking of you and Kitty.