Death and pets

I am waiting for my cat to die. He arrived in our house about a month ago. Prior to that he lived with the father of one of my best friends. Her father died last fall and Elroy (the cat) stayed in the house with one of her sisters until February when the house sold. Then he came to us. On Friday this week, he started to look even thinner (he’d been thin before, but now he was getting positively skeletal). He was not as energetic as he had been, and was not eating as much. I noticed he was breathing more rapidly and heavily as well. We made it through the weekend and this morning I took him to the vet. About five minutes after I dropped him off and left, the vet called me. Apparently his breathing had gotten worse and he was on the edge of dying. She’d brought him back and ran her tests. He has fluid in his chest cavity; the possible result of congestive heart failure or cancer. Later she called to tell me she’d taken 250 ml of fluid out of his chest. Before I picked him up this afternoon, she’d taken another 60 ml. That’s a hella lot of fluid for one small cat.

So, now we’re home. He’s crashed on the sofa and I’m watching him breathe. He’s in the same shape as the late, great Little Bit who died of cancer a couple of years age. I don’t know if he’ll make it through the night. If he does, I will take him back to the vet and my friend and I will make the last decision for him. If he doesn’t, I’ll bury him in the backyard beside the other two who died too young.

Expected or not, long-term family member, or recent arrival, it’s always so difficult to let a pet go. As I sit here watching him, I’d like to think that he’s comfortable (one of my other cats is sleeping next to him; every now and then her paw reaches out to touch him) and not stressed. I want to let him go on his own terms. I am not going to try to forestall the inevitable simply so I can have him around longer. Although he’s only been her for a month, he will be missed.

Here’s to you, Elroy. May you meet up with Henry as soon as you cross the Rainbow Bridge. All of us, human and feline, will miss you.

Please follow and like us: