We have known it was coming for a few months now. Sometimes your pet is so sick you know there is no returning them to their previous health, and you start the process of making them comfortable and happy for the time you have left with them.
We have never had the luxury of this in the past. Our cats have thankfully always been either healthy right up until the very end and then Wham! or they have had a chronic illness that they bravely fought and in the end they were in the hospital and we were forced to make the call while they were hooked up to tubes and oxygen and so on. Neither way is easier than the other. It is always heartbreaking and it is always so very hard to breathe once you realize they are gone.
With Miss Shaina, we were able to draw the line in the sand. No more invasive tests and procedures. No, we don’t need to know if the cancer is in the spleen or in the pancreas, because the outcome will be the same. Leave our baby alone. So we spent the last six weeks giving her extra love, extra food whenever she would eat it, B12 injections and kitty prozac, steroids to help with inflammation, and we watched her very closely.
See, the thing that no one can tell you is when exactly enough is truly enough. How can you tell for sure that today’s lack of appetite won’t improve tomorrow? How can you tell when the accident outside the litter box is just an accident and not the start of a frustrating pattern of her trying to tell you that she is tired? How can you tell when she is worn out and has had enough? How can you tell when the pain is too difficult for her to bear?
The sad truth is – you can’t. Not really. Not completely.
Cats hide their pain and illness extremely well. By the time they are showing symptoms, it is often pretty far along. And we, in our burning need to keep them with us as long as possible, are very willing to overlook a small sign that something is wrong. This is when you have to sit down and really think about the pet that you have been head over in love with since you first met. Because keeping them longer at that point, is for us. And they love us so much they would do anything to make us happy, even if it is killing them.
We had to make the call again, not even six weeks after losing Lil Scamp. As much as this tore us up, we take solace in the fact that somewhere, Miss Shaina and her boy have been reunited in a sunbeam large enough to accommodate them both. They are snuggled together, purring to beat the band. For now all we can do is lavish her other boy, Shadow, with as much love as he will tolerate (and thankfully, he usually tolerates quite a bit!) We have other kitties to entertain us and hopefully they will keep their big brother Shadow from falling into too deep a funk.
We were blessed the day when Shaina wandered into our yard with her two kittens in tow. We were further blessed when she decided to trust us with her little family and become a part of ours. Because of that, our house has been filled to the rafters with kitten purrs and chortles, napping partners, and happiness. You will never be forgotten.