Friday, March 2, 2012

Good-bye, Old Friend

I woke this morning to discover that my ancient cat, Stinky, was no longer able to support himself on his back legs. This condition came as no surprise. In fact, I've been expecting it for several months since an x-ray revealed that his hips were overwhelmingly deteriorated by advanced arthritis.
In those months, my husband and I have accommodated Stinky's increasing decrepitude by limiting the scope of his domain. We put his food dish, heated cat bed, and litter box all on the same level of the house where we sleep and where I keep my art studio.
For some time now I've been quietly hoping that my sweet old cat would simply lie down in his heated little bed beneath my studio desk and take a nice long nap into forever. I simply did not want to see him suffer at all and, like most people, I really didn't want to have to make a choice, no matter humane, about ending his life.
Sadly, this morning I had to make that choice.
The hardest part, I think, was waiting two hours for the vet's office to open after I woke up and discovered the poor dear struggling to use his litter box. I helped him as best I could, lifting him into the box, waiting while he urinated, and then lifting him out again when he was done. I was sobbing all the while, I assure you. Then I carried him to bed and curled him up beside me so I could pet him and coo at him and reassure him that I would not allow him to suffer any further indignities. When the clock said it was 8 a.m., I called the vet's office and made an appointment to take him in at 11 a.m.
Three more hours.
Just enough time to make damned sure he was petted and scritched and comforted sufficiently so that I would know that he knew he was loved. After two decades of lap time, nap time and play time, I wanted to make certain he felt all that love before he had to say good-bye.
And now that time has passed. He's out of any pain or discomfort, and I am without a cat for the first time in more than 30 years.
Not today, nor tomorrow, not for a while, but soon enough we will find a shelter cat to bring into our home and into our hearts. Because no matter how awful I feel right now, all those years of soft fur and gentle purring were totally worth it.
Good-bye, old friend. Thank you for giving me all that unconditional love. It really made a difference in my life.


  1. I'm teary. That was a lovely tribute. I was just thinking about Stinky 2 days ago. Will keep sending love to you and D. <3

  2. Two decades of lap time. Oh, woes. Love, so, much love to you both. Brilliant life. You couldn't ask for more.

  3. Oh, that was very touching and made me teary as well. I came here for the Fugelsang article but then read about your lovely is so hard to let them go. Rest in peace, dear Stinky.