I had my Sweet Pea, pictured below, put to sleep this past summer. He’d turned 18 at the beginning of July, but not long past his birthday got super sick and deteriorated quickly. I took some pictures of him in his last days. The one below is not one of those pictures. It’s one I found on my phone the other day and is from a time back when he had a bit of a bag of extra flesh hanging down from his tummy.
Seeing this picture, the contrast between who he’d been, in body, and who he shrunk to was painfully striking. The people at the vets office were so very kind to us both when I brought him in. Though I daresay I think some of the ployees might have been a bit appalled at just how much I let him waste away before finally deciding to let him go. I kept thinking about his quality of life…did he still have some, any? I don’t think he did for what seemed like a long time, though, in fact it was probably just a matter of a couple of weeks. My daughter’s father(husband on paper) felt like he should be allowed to die at home naturally. I tried to let that happen. I wanted that for him. But when it was all said and done, what Sweet Pea probably wanted(my best guess) and what I could give him were two different things. So though I tried, after several days of taking him to his litter box and feeding him first any kind of canned food I could interest him in, then jars of baby food and then, finally, the same thing I’d fed him from a bottle as a 2 1/2 week old unweaned kitten, KMR(kitten milk replacer), I knew it was time.
I guess that’s how I did know because he’d come full circle with his life, from a kitten who’d drunk KMR from a bottle, wrapped in a towel, to a shell of a cat, lapping only tablespoon fulls at a time from a saucer. It was time to help him move on. He’d been an indoor cat his whole life(something I’m not sure I’ll ever do again if I have a cat again) but he’d mostly always had an adventurous spirit(I’ll share a couple of those adventures another time) and liked to go outside. So one nite, a couple of days before I took him to the vet, in the wee small hours of the morning, hoping he’d just lay down in my lap and go to sleep for good, I took him out into the backyard. Even then, as weak and unsteady as he was, he didn’t want to lay in my lap. He wanted to get down and explore a bit. So I allowed him to but watched him closely because I was pretty sure that there were, hiding someplace, possums or raccoons and I didn’t want a confrontation as he surely would not stand any chance at all. So I followed him around and after a few minutes he found his way to a gate that led into another part of the yard where there is a shed, that’s been dug out underneath by animals, with cedar trees surrounding and towering above it. He wanted to go into that area and I suspect it was to find a spot to crawl off into and lay down for good. But somehow I didn’t think it would end up that peacefully, with my suspicion that previously mentioned animals were likely hiding someplace close by. So I eventually took him inside and returned him to the quietest and coolest space he’d been able to locate, my shower.
That was the wee small hours of Sunday morning. Monday I took him to the vet. I honestly think he was just too tired to be stressed by the whole thing and as I mentioned, he’d always been a bit of an adventurer and most certainly a go with the flow kind of kitty…at least that’s what he evolved into over the years. So for his last moments here on earth I held him wrapped in a towel cuddled against me one last time. He went quickly when the injections were given. I guess that if he had to be someplace besides his home he was in a good place…one full of people who really loved animals and knew him by name.
As a wee wee kitten he’d kind of been my dryrun for one day taking care of a baby(my now 14yo) around the clock. He grew into a sweet, beautiful but timid, and eventually, adventurous cat. I miss him.