A Death in the Family
Not a happy tale today…. Yesterday, one of our older cats had to be assisted in shuffling off this mortal coil. That’s a difficult thing at the best of times but, it was probably made a little easier in this case because it was something we had actually been expecting for quite a while.
When my wife and I bought our farm in New Brunswick back in the late 90’s we inherited two cats who were abandoned there by the previous owners. These two cats were very much ‘barn cats’ and, although we left food out for them (to supplement their diet of mice) they didn’t come into the house very much at first and, accordingly, we simply named them ‘Barn Kitty 1’ and ‘Barn Kitty 2’.
Gradually though, the pair began to sleep inside the house and thereafter continued to hunt for amusement rather than sustenance. Over time, ‘BK1’ was transmogrified into ‘Big Fat Kitty’ as her girth increased with the soft life, while ‘BK2’, now immortalized in the above picture’ had her name changed to ‘Fluffy’. When we sold our farm in 2000 and moved north, the two old cats moved with us, and our family eventually included 5 cats in all… until yesterday, of course.
We have no idea how old Fluffy was as she was clearly a fully grown adult when we inherited her. She was with us for about 16 years and was, at our best guess, well over twenty. About two years ago, it became apparent that she was almost totally deaf and her eyesight was obviously beginning to fail as well. She was never a big solid cat like BFK, quite skinny in fact, but over the last year or so she became scrawnier and scrawnier and we got used to the fact that she probably wouldn’t be with us much longer.
At the end, Fluffy’s final decline was very rapid. A few days earlier, she began walking very awkwardly and it was obvious that, if she could see anything at all, her eyesight was just about gone. She was reluctant to lie down and would half stand, half crouch with her head almost resting on the floor, sometime panting, sometimes deathly still. It was, I recall thinking, disturbingly like the last days of Elizabeth I, who reputedly refused to take to her bed and remained on her feet for hours upon hours before finally giving out. It was obvious the poor cat was not having a happy time and thus we knew we had to make ‘the call’ to the vet.
Anyway, no moralizing or philosophical musings on euthanasia here… I just would like to say that we were very, very glad to be able to see our pet off more easily than she would have gone otherwise…