Wednesday, June 08, 2005

that's it, then

Rosie's first day home, September 1993

I have been avoiding thinking about the cat situation while my scan and treatment were pending. After all, I told myself, if I needed surgery and was going to be home all summer, then I wouldn't have to do anything about the cat.

Now I've had my scan, and I had my radiation treatment, and we're only going to be home for 18 more days. DH will be a sorta-bachelor until late July, when he comes out for the last 2 weeks of our vacation. That means almost 4 entire weeks of empty house, all day long, with no one to let Rosie in and out. Nobody to keep her company.

No one to keep her from becoming completely psychotic.

Why are you looking at me like that?

She already spends every night in the laundry room, and every night fails to use the box. I mean, the laundry room is not big by anyone's standards, and she could easily use the box if she wanted to. You'd think she would rather use the box than sleep next to her... deposits. Any sane cat would use the box. But she's not sane.

So. I called the vet and asked about euthanizing her. (It took me some time to screw up the courage to type that sentence. It took me even longer to screw up the courage to make the call.) I explained the situation to the receptionist, and she said the vet would call me back to discuss the situation.

The vet called just after 7PM, which was very nice of her. I went over the entire 2-year history of treatments and medications and tests, but the bottom line is, no matter what we try, and whether or not it ameliorates her diarrhea, Rosie still does her business wherever she pleases, and if she is annoyed about something, she lets us know it in most unpleasant ways.

Last year we kenneled her for the last 2 weeks of our vacation when DH joined us. By the time we went to pick her up, she was ferocious, lunging and growling low in her throat at everyone who approached. But last year she was at least using the box reliably. I can't imagine kenneling her this year, they'd have to hose out the kennel every morning. And I can't imagine leaving her home all day by herself while DH is at work, either. We'd have to rip up every carpet in the house. (We probably should rip up every carpet in the house, anyway.)

The vet was very kind and listened to all this history (of course she had the chart there to verify what I was describing). She said, "I can see you've thought a lot about this. Under the circumstances, this is the most humane decision you could make."

Then we talked about the options: to be there or not (yes), to get her ashes back or not(no). All I need to do now is schedule the appointment.

I'm bathing, leave me alone.

I know, in my head, this is the right thing to do. She isn't well, she hasn't been well for a long time now, and nothing we've tried has helped. She's had a good life and I don't need to be sad about that. But I am, anyway. She is my first pet, and my only pet except for the kitten Sparky who contracted a fatal case of FIP when he was only about 9 months old. This would be easier if her suffering were more visible, or if she had suddenly become unsociable. But she looks fine, except she doesn't get around as well as she used to. She is arguably more sociable now than ever, as the kids have made an effort to get to know her so they could play with her. But she is not her old self. Some changes are so subtle I don't notice them, but my Mom did -- when she arrived after New Year's, she said immediately, "Rosie's so gray, now." Funny how I hadn't noticed before.

Old, but still flexible.

We have talked to the kids about this decision. DD is very sad, she is perhaps Rosie's dearest friend at the moment. DS2 is very fond of her, but DS1 has never recovered from the terror she instilled in him when he was a toddler. DH has been ready for this decision for many months now, but since she's technically my cat, I had to be the one to decide. I know he will miss her, too. I fell in love with him watching him play with Rosie-kitten, after all, and I've always maintained that while Rosie is my cat, DH is her human. I know that's what she thinks in her little cat-brain: You married him to amuse me; after all, I deserve it.

Of course she did.

Here's the story of her adoption. Here's a piece on taking care of kittens, all of which I learned from her.

It is impossible to quantify everything I learned from her, the joys, comforts, and frustrations she gave me. She was a gift, for a time... there's no stopping time.

1 comment:

ChaiTime said...

Ugh. What a difficult decision. I feel like I'm faced with this nearly every day with my dog. So far things are still doable, but I wonder for how long. I'm sorry it has come to this with your dear cat, but I remember how you struggled with her and her diet and all the messes. It's never easy. Never.