What a Long, Strange Trip It Continues to Be, Part I

When Technogeek and I look back on our lives, 2009 will stand out as the year the cats died.  Actually it was the fall of 2008 that Benjamin died.  Clover went last June, and now Sophie, 17 years old and the mother of the others, hovers on the brink.  Sophie’s always tended to the dark side.  She’s spent most of her life outdoors, because her behavioral issues made her unwelcome in the house.  I always thought she’d outlive us all out of sheer orneriness, but the tumor in her abdomen seems certain to get her. 

Last weekend we almost killed her.  Sophie’s whole body heaved with the effort it took to breathe.  She walked weakly and unsteadily for short distances before lying down (in an awkward position due to the pressure of the tumor) to rest.  She gagged on her food.  My husband tearfully placed her in her crate and we drove to the animal emergency room. 

The vet said there wasn’t much to be done.  TGeek decided to let her go.  The vet said, “That’s not a wrong decision,” which I thought was a very odd way to phrase it.  Maybe they are not supposed to express opinions about euthanasia decisions.  We signed papers.  The tech came in and put a port in Sophie’s leg, in preparation for the go-to-sleep medicine.  Then they all left us alone with Sophie for awhile.

Do you know what that cat did?  She got up and started sniffing at the canister of dog biscuits they keep in the exam room.  TGeek took one out and cut a small piece for Sophie.  She ate it up and asked for more.  He chopped it and put it in front of her.  She gobbled up that whole biscuit.  The tech came back to see if we were ready, and we asked for some cat food.  She came back with a dish of tuna, and Sophie ate all of that, too.

We somewhat sheepishly told her we’d changed our minds.  You can’t kill a cat that enjoys a meal like that, can you?  They took the port out and home we went.

Nearly a week later, Sophie’s still hanging in there.  In fact, she’s quite a bit perkier than she was early in the week.  I think she may be stealing the life force from some other neighborhood cat.    

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8 thoughts on “What a Long, Strange Trip It Continues to Be, Part I

  1. Wasn’t it pretty much the same with Benjamin?  They do tend to rally near the end.  Humans do the same thing.  Maybe it’s nature’s way of helping those left behind to say goodbye.

  2. ugh.  this was us a few years ago.  Cat #1 (age 18) died in ’06 and then cat #2 (age 16) died in ’07.  It was the end of an era.  Both were in pretty bad shape by the time we took them to the vet, though, and did not rally for a meal.  Sophie sounds like she still has a spark!   You made a not wrong decision and I’m glad you get to enjoy her a bit longer.  

  3. Well, I’ll be damned!  Hopefully, she’s not in much pain–she must feel a bit better if she’s eating.  Man, amazing how cats (and other animals) can get kick-ass pain medicine, whilst we humans have to make do with crap-ass Tylenol that you can get at Walgreens! (And this was at the hospital!!!) (…Rant over…)I agree with Bad_Dogma–let her have plenty of “last meals” (as much as she can eat, anyway).  She’ll enjoy it, you’ll enjoy the time you’re spending with her, and while it won’t make the inevitable any less painful, you can at least remember the good times.

  4. Awwwww…it’s been more than 5 years since our yorkie had a stroke and they told me he had an inoperable brain tumor and was sure to die within 6 months.  He is still scampering around chasing squirrels like a fifteen year old (grouchy, arthritic) puppy.  I just found the vet bill.  It was sad.  We thought for sure he was gone.

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