Cats


It was a tough month. First, Oliver suffered a crippling blood clot a couple of weeks ago that completely cut off the circulation to his hind legs. He was OK one minute and, according to the doctor, paralyzed the next. He cried like I’d never heard. I don’t know if it was pain or confusion; that’s the frustrating part about having a pet — you think you know them so well, but sometimes you just wish they’d tell you what’s wrong.

I had a cat a long time ago that I let suffer because I really believed he’d get better…but I was wrong. So I decided that rather than put this poor animal through a long, uncomfortable — and most likely unsuccessful — regimen of treatment, I made the decision to ease his suffering.

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It’s not easy, as you might imagine, to not only make a decision to end a life, but the life of a companion who’s been with you for years, everyday.

But I know it was best for him, and it wasn’t about me.

Oliver apparently left behind one last thing which, sadly, led me to the same decision again, tonite: he must have scratched Rocky’s eye when they had what must have been one last fight, because just days after Oliver died Rocky’s eyes started weeping. I’d hoped it was just an irritation so I flushed it with saline. It didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. A trip to the vet proved that he did, in fact, have a scratch that was leaking fluid and required antibiotics and medication. I should mention that Rocky is about 18 (I’ll tell the tale of how he came into my life another time) and I tried to make sure he was always comfortable and healthy and, in his old age, spoiled with good food.

Well, his eye just got worse and, although he seemed lively — even frisky — his one eye looked really bad. I accepted the fact that he would be blind, and kept treating the eye with the creams from the vet. I talked to him more (even though he was deaf, I know he knew I was addressing him) and bought him the best cat food.

Today, though, he was obviously not doing well — he cried a lot, and it wasn’t even a meow. When I got home from work he had trouble standing up and didn’t want to eat (the tuna from this morning was hardly touched) and preferred to just go off by himself. It was time. Goddammit.

The vet told me I made the right choice, whatever that means. According to a little chart his age in human years would have made him about 90 — and what a life he had, through four moves and across two continents, he was my close companion for over 17 years.

Now my friends are gone, but I know their suffering is over. That’s what I’ll tell myself to try and ease my own pain…but my heart is broken, and I miss them.

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