Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tragic Comedy

Have you ever felt that life is just random moments of sorrow and hysterical laughter, all connected by long pauses of nothing?

I had to put another cat to sleep yesterday. That makes 4 in about 21 months. My husband once said that he didn't want any more pets after our 6 cats were gone because "pets are just small tragedies, waiting to happen". I had hoped to get a dog once we finally found a larger house, but now I am not so sure.

Four cats gone in less than 2 years. How could this be? I feel like a serial killer, or at least I feel like what a serial killer would feel if they had a conscience. I feel numb, I feel sad. I wish I could have done more for my poor Sophie.

I have to remember that she was 16, and she was diabetic. I guess I knew that she wouldn't last long when I first started giving her insulin shots 5 months ago, but I wasn't expecting her to become so ill in a matter of 2 days.

Ursa gradually lost weight over 6 months, then began to vomit at least twice a day. During her last 2 months we tried our best to figure out what was wrong, we even managed to patch her up a few times with fluids and Procrit after we saw that she was vomiting blood. Our vet said that her red blood cell level and her temperature were so low, she couldn't believe that Ursa was still alive. 2 1/2 weeks after John's dad died, we had to let Ursa go.

Ivan and Seven were my boys. They like to see who could pee the most in one spot, or who could cover the most area in one good spray. They both became blocked at different times, after finding out we were pregnant with Emma. They both developed kidney disease, and the peeing got worse. We put Ivan to sleep first. Seven fell ill a few months later and almost died, but we managed to patch him up twice. Each time the peeing got worse, it was as if he couldn't help himself, he just peed where ever. Again, our vet told us his kidneys were in bad shape and that he would continue to be this way. He could be well for several months but chances were that he would be ill again. So, about 3 months after we put Ivan down, we lost Seven.

John and I wavered between guilt, anger and misery. These were our babies, they were our children when we thought we couldn't have any. We would never put an actual child down for doing these things, so how could we do it to our cats?

Having gone through watching Ursa become very sick over 6 months, I knew just by looking at Sophie yesterday that she was going to die soon. I told the receptionist that instead of bringing Sophie in for fluids for a few days, that I wanted to ask the vet if this was really the best option for her. As I held Sophie while waiting for her appointment, during what would be her last hours, I relived Ursa. Even though Sophie had her eyes open, she wasn't responding to my voice. She didn't even purr when I petted her. She twitched and her pupils would jerk. I wasn't even sure if she knew who I was.

Last night, in the quiet, the guilt came. I didn't even try to patch Sophie up. In my own twisted way, I tried to belay the hurt. My brain fluttered with justifications. She pooped where ever she wanted, no more insulin shots. WHAT? How could my muddled brain think such a thing?

Again with the doubts. John gave me stern talking to last night, just the way a best friend should. We did what was right for her. She was never going to get better, the vet said so. She might be able to be patched up for a few days or a few months, but she would definitely become ill again, either from kidney or liver disease.

He reminded me that she did look just like Ursa did the day we put her down. We did the most humane thing we could, out of love for her, not anger. We let her die with peace and dignity instead of letting her suffer for 2 more days.

In the end I looked my very first baby girl in the eyes and told her how beautiful she was, and for a moment she was actually there with me. She let out a tiny purr and scrunched up her eyes at me, the way she always did when I talked to her. I held her face in my hands as the vet gave her the shot. I told her I loved her and that it was better to go this way, and with in moments she was gone.

I came home to 2 very angry cats. Wolfie yelled at me, just as he did the 3 times before. Each time I tried to pet him, he jumped away. Numa, Sophie's mom, just sat there and glared.

Tonight when we came back from Anna's graduation from preschool, I noticed a familiar smell in my dining room. Ahh, what's this? And in Sophie's favorite pooping spot, under the dining table. Actually, not in one spot at all, but in several in the general vicinity. Yesterday we thought the days of "find the wet, stinky surprise" were over. Looks like two old and pissed off cats had a grudge party while we were gone. I guess the joke is on us.

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