Friday, July 07, 2006

That *Other* Decision

So many people, commenters and emailers and neighbors and friends, have been telling me about losing their own loved pets. The more I learn, the more I realize what good luck we've had. One lady had to put down an animal a year for five years. Another recently lost two, and her remaining two are both elderly. All four were with her for a long, long time.

With remarkable good luck, I got out of that "other" decision. For both my cats. And I am so glad of it. I know that luck was all it was. I almost took Babycat in to be put down on Monday morning - but the vet wasn't in. This way, I had three more precious days with my cat, and also one last try to keep him with me.

I grieve for all of you. Especially, my heart goes out to you who've had to put a loved animal down. What terrible strength that must take, how very, very hard an act of love that is to do.

I have to say this truth: I'm not sure how peaceful it was for him. I'm not positive he fell asleep because I know I fell asleep first. I'm wrestling with that. I want it to be what happened, but I'm not positive and I never will be. I was so exhausted, watching over him for two days, and not being able to sleep much during that time, of course not, who could?

I do know for sure that the hard part wasn't nearly as bad or as long for him as it could have been. Around a couple of hours total were hard, and even then, he wasn't struggling except for a few minutes toward the very end. That's when I stopped everything else and just sang to him and talked to him, and he quieted down and pushed his head into my side. And, I hope, he slept.

You see, he comforted me.

He comforted me, and that's when I could finally sleep.

And I do know, absolutely, that snuggling next to me was the only way he would ever have wanted it, given a choice. He lived for that. We would fall asleep holding hands almost every night and sometimes for two or three naps a day. He was a very, very sweet and loving cat. What a great blessing in our lives.

Babycat slept right next to me, stretched out on a heating pad, with a little pillow for his head. He had prehensile toes and would curl them around my finger with that surprising strong grip of a human baby. Sometimes he'd pull my hand to his head, Pet me! time to pet me now! When he wanted to hear his songs or stories, he'd pet my mouth to tell me so. Mama, make your mouth move. Sing to me! talk to me!

Reading in bed next to him was a great treat for us both. I'd read and pet him, and he'd catnap and purr. After I turned out the light and lay my hand out toward him, he'd put his little paw in my hand. Or sometimes he'd push his head into my palm.

He always waited for me to fall asleep first. Walter and visitors tell me he'd carefully stand up then, very gently so he wouldn't wake me, and gaze long at my face, studying, to be sure I was asleep. Then he'd jump down for a quick drink and nibble of food, and come back and stretch out beside me and nod off.

So I know he'd want to be with me at the end, in bed. He paid a price for it that last couple of hours. I can't know how high that price was for him. But I am so sure that he would not have chosen that other alternative, that I think I can get through that part okay.


Livey said...

I'm sure he went peacefully, after all he was in his favorite place, with the person he loved the most! Hugs honey, Love ya

k said...

oh, Livey, thank you. Thank you.

I just now buried him.