How cruel can one be? Is it cruel to wish one’s cat – a pet with whom you have shared almost the last 18 years – should wander out and.. be knocked down by a car?
Or that he should go to sleep and not wake tomorrow?
Except…that would be kinder than today’s news. He is old. 18 in cat years, I learn, is near as dammit 90 in human ones. That’s a good innings, by any standards.
The last month or two, he’s been losing weight. His breath smells. He dribbles. He is annoying as hell. But I endure that because, in between the bad habits – including his awful propensity for peeing in the garage, or extending an exploratory claw in the direction of my oh-so-sensitive boobs – there is still my old cat: the laidback, black scoundrel who curls up and purrs on my lap, who comes to see me in the morning, or follows me, hopefully, around the kitchen.
(The tears are pouring as I write this).
I know him so well: can still see the scrawny little kitten, who came to me in the spring of 93, in a wicker basket, red ribbon tied around the top. Oh! If he had any hopes for being a big tough butch cat, they must have died at that moment.
Not that he ever showed any signs of embarrassment.
I love him. I shall miss him.
Because the news…today’s news…is that his time is almost up. He is old. Tired. Stick thin, from not eating. Tooth problems. Kidney problems, maybe. Other stuff. A younger cat, they might operate on. This age…the anaesthetic alone might kill him.
And even then, as he recovered, we would not know whether we’d cured the right thing…or whether the next in a long line of conditions would be waiting to get him. He seems happy, for now. Still his cheerful, purry self. But we are nearing a critical line: the point at which keeping him alive would be mere human selfishness.
His time is almost up. This is impossible to write…
So out of kindness…out of concern for the pain he may have to endure, in a week or so…maybe less… I must bring him back to the vet to be killed.
Is there any worse thing than that? Because if he did go under a car, or go to sleep, or die from a dozen other causes…I’d be heartbroken but…it would be sudden. Unpre-meditated. Unexpected.
Not this cold, heartless planning.
This is the second time in three years I’ve faced this. Last time it was a dog for whom I felt affection, but with whom I’d shared barely two years.
My cat…misz: 18 years – or more than a third of my life. I will so miss you.
You have a week now of cream and mashed fish. Treats. Hugs and soft words.