Saturday, September 15, 2012

A long goodbye

See that super-cute little feline in the sidebar on the right? Wearing the snarky expression and the rugby-stripes on her front legs? If you've been reading this blog, you know that's Mitzie, my constant companion. I've been lucky enough to be her owner for almost 15 years, though I spent about 4 months trying to figure out how to get her. She belonged to a coworker and he needed to give her up, yet no one would take her. So, when things got down to the wire for him, I made it work. I totally imposed on my roommates, ruining a perfectly good papasan chair in the process. And although she hid under my bed for a month, and in my room for two, she eventually came out of her shell in a huge way, becoming the most gregarious, but not obsequious cat. I dare say she's as well liked as any human I know.

Sadly, for the past year, she's been on a worrisome decline. And for the past three years, she's been losing weight after bouts of illness. But until this past April, she always bounced back, not as strong as before, but not too bad, either. Starting from 12+ pounds gave us a lot to work with.

In July, though, she fell off a cliff and never really recovered. The niggling liver enzymes had mushroomed, and she was vomiting so much bile I couldn't understand how her now-shrunken frame could hold so much liquid. We've been touch and go ever since.I feel somewhat responsible, since I had just uprooted her from my place in East Sac for a midtown cottage/bungalow thing. I was excited to have a place where she could sit in the windows more.  It feels like such a sad thing that she never really got to enjoy them. I put her bench under the window and her blanket on top for cushioning, and, since her stability has been waning, created a path over some furniture so she could go to and fro. This seemed to please her for a while, but she really hasn't been herself since we moved.

This week she had more troubles, and stopped getting onto her bench, instead opting for the space under the couch. Hiding under furniture is never a good sign with a cat, so I called the vet this morning, hoping some fluids, another round of antibiotics and some prednisone would fix her up. Maybe we could get a few pounds back on her, stop the vomiting. But I wasn't really surprised to hear the vet suggest that it was time to say goodbye, that not even palliative care would make much of a difference to her at this point.

I'm very sad about having to make this decision, but even more I am just uncertain. Her giant eyes are so expressive and I don't see any indication that she's done with this life. I know her quality of life isn't what it was, but I really did think I would know in my heart and in my gut, not just in my head, when it was time to let her go.


John said...

Dogs have owners; cats have staff. And as we all know, finding a caring staff is always the challenge.

I think you are correct: You will know in your heart and your gut when it is time to let her go.

I've had to have several cats put to sleep. It is as painless a process as possible for the cat; never painless for the staff.

If your cat doesn't like traveling in the car or is anxious when she goes to the vet, there are vets who will make house calls. I had to do that with my dog.

Moxie said...

Thanks John. I really don't want her to suffer. It seems like she might have lymphoma or something, and her heart has a new murmur, apparently, but she still wants her treats and enjoys being petted, which is more than I can say for her back in July. I thought then that it was definitely time to say goodbye.