Today was one of the most difficult days I have had in a long time: I put my cat of 10 1/2 years to sleep, never to awaken again.
He’s been with me through thick and thin, and while the dogs went with my ex when we split, he was always my pet, with my mellow personality, and he was always wandering around looking for me. In the six years I’ve lived solo, he’s been a great companion, helping fill the void when the kids weren’t with me. And today his ailments just combined to make him uncureable, even though he was relatively young for an indoor-only cat.
By the time we reached this decision, he’d manage to be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, a possible lymphoma, a raging kidney infection, an aggressive respiratory ailment and an injured eye. And taken together, the treatment for one cancelled out the treatment for the other. We tried a variety of drug cocktails and I even got him some acupuncture treatments, all to no avail.
A month after the first issues surfaced (weight loss) he continued to get worse, and after two weeks of hospitalization the five vets on the case (yes, five, at two different facilities) and I agreed that there was no glimmer of light, no promising developments. Just a cat that gave up eating and drinking weeks ago.
I have been very open with the children as this has proceeded too: no secrets. In fact, A-, my 16yo, has listened to all the voice mail messages from the various vets and hospital facilities, and after a tear-filled discussion where I made it very clear with the children I wanted their opinions, but that it was going to be my decision, not theirs, to say “stop”, we have come to this juncture.
And so I headed into the vet’s office this morning, returned a few extra cans of cat food they’d given me back when we were optimistic about him eating, and was led into a room where they had a heart-shaped piece of clay for a paw print. Which I did, and wrote “Newton” along the top and added a heart on the bottom. We’ll hang it on the wall along with a photo of Newton.
They brought Newton in and he was a limp dishrag. Whether it was the ailments, the drugs he was on, or just him being done with this go-round on Earth, it was heartbreaking. And I said goodbye.
Goodbye, sweet Newton. You were an awesome cat. We’ll all miss you.