My beloved Gigi, the world’s sweetest cat, died this week. Already quite old when I started my last, very stressful job, I told her she couldn’t die before I retired—I knew I’d need her love and comfort to help through the difficult time. Bless her heart, she obliged.
Almost two years ago, she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and we discovered her kidneys had started to fail. Neither condition is unusual for an elderly cat, and she was close to 19 years old. I chose to give her hyperthyroid medicine twice a day rather than the very expensive and permanent radiation treatment. (For some reason, surgery wasn’t an option. Maybe because of her age.) While she didn’t like taking ½ pill twice a day, she didn’t struggle much; and she responded extremely well to the treatment. However, after several months she learned the routine and would run from me when she heard the pill slicer. I stopped for a few days, then started up again, but wasn’t terribly consistent.
Around or after Thanksgiving, she began to show signs of going downhill. Always a thin cat, she’d lost so much weight her hipbones protruded from her back. Although I knew “the time” was coming, I hoped she’d hold on until after Christmas. But late last week she really began to fail. I think her kidneys stopped working. Her eyes were terribly runny, and she would only lay on her stomach. On Saturday, I called the vet to see if he could euthanize her, but was told they were booked up. I made an appointment for Monday, but by Saturday evening I could tell she wasn’t going to make it.
She had a rough night that night. She slept in my closet and barely moved all night. In the morning I called the emergency vet clinic to see if I could bring her in. My friend drove us to the clinic while I carried her in one of her favorite blankets. The event stressed her out quite a bit, and she died just as we arrived at the clinic.
It’s the first time I’ve waited so long to euthanize a pet. In the past, I’ve wondered if I acted too early. Now I’m wondering if I should have done it sooner. I guess when we love someone, it’s never a good time to make that decision.
I still have two cats, but they’re not as loving as Gigi. I know in time the hole in my heart will mend. But for now, I’ll just have to “muddle through somehow.”