to all of you who responded to yesterday's blog about the difficulty we face when we need to decide what to do when our pets' quality of life deteriorates. You touched my heart and made an emotional time more bearable. I will thank you individually as soon as I can but please know that your comments blessed me and supported me as I made this tough decision today.
* * *
It was an early February evening a number of years ago when I stepped outside for a bit of fresh air before going to bed
. It was cold and quiet, except for a pitiful meowing coming from under my car. That's when I first met Kitty. I put out food and water and watched her eat and drink but when I tried to pick her up the claws came out and she resisted. I put a folded blanket under the car hoping she would use it to lie on for warmth.
The next morning she was still there so replenished her food and water and this time, as she ate, I was allowed to pet her very lightly along her back and to scratch the top of her head, but she still wouldn't let me hold her. That night we repeated the ritual and I again rubbed her back and scratched her head.
The following morning, after she ate, she purred and rubbed herself alongside my legs. I reached for her and was able to hold her to me. I carried her inside and made one of the back rooms hers with a bed of warm blankets, her own litter box and food and water bowls. After two days there she scratched the door to get out. As she emerged from the bedroom my two dogs
and two other cats
(all strays also) took one look and went on their way. From that day on they all got along famously together and she never cried to go back outside.
With strays, we never know how they became a stray or whether they came from around the corner or from miles away. I knew, though, that my pet family had grown to five.
Last night about 11:00 Kitty became restless and agitated. I stretched out on the bed and held her. She looked around with wide open eyes as if she was seeing the room for the first, or maybe for the last, time. She nudged my chin a couple of times with her head as I talked to her and the other pets looked on. Finally, she stretched out and tucked her head into my shoulder and we fell into a troubled sleep about 4:30.
This morning she went into the kitchen and then into the back bedroom which I thought was a good sign. But she still wasn't eating or drinking and I became at peace with the idea that today had to be the day.
We went to the vet's
at 10:30 and I had a long talk with the doctor. I became more convinced that I was holding out hope for Kitty to recover, a hope that could never be fulfilled
. An I.V. of "happy medicine" was put into one of Kitty's legs and then, when I was ready, the doctor injected two syringes into the I.V. port. As I held my pet I saw her eyes very slowly close and a few seconds later she went peacefully to join the other pets that I have loved over the years.
Now, even though four pet babies remain, the house seems quieter and the tears are still flowing
but my heart is comforted knowing Kitty is no longer suffering and because of the prayers
and positive thoughts all of you offered.
I regret that the most adorable picture of this orange ball of love was too dark to print but here is my baby Kitty as we waited in the vet's office.
Please hug your pets extra tight tonight
. Theirs is a special unconditional love we should never take for granted. I know I may have to make this decision four more times in the future, but I take solace knowing that you understand when I say Kitty was not just a cat but a blessed gift
that was offered to me that saved her from a life alone on the streets and gave me years of unselfish love and companionship.