Saturday, February 16, 2008

Farewell, old friend

"I'm afraid she's gone" said the young vet to us, rather woodenly, as she felt old Colacat's heart stop. "I'll leave you with her; take as much time as you need."

Euthanasia is part of her job. It's all new territory for us.

Colacat was 21, ancient in cat years, and plucky till the end. The tumor and infection had distorted her face and made her both uncomfortable and uncharacteristically unwilling to eat. Half her body weight had drifted away over the past few months, and the frail carcass left on the table before us was just a shadow of her vital self.

She had been an intrepid and uncomplaining traveler, a warm purring comfort to anyone who held her, a playful hunter in the house, and a natural born killer outside when given the chance. Pretty much all one could expect from a cat.

Farewell, you plucky old thing. We will weep now, and again when it is time to scatter your ashes in your beloved outdoors. But our tears are a measure of the joy you brought us.

We hope our decision yesterday brought you peace, old trout. It was the hardest thing we have done in a very long time.


JR said...

Sorry for your loss, Halfwise. It's certainly not an easy thing to do. Nice tribute.

Halfwise said...

Thanks JR. The little feline devils sure get into a guy's heart.

Anonymous said...

Our family had to make the same difficult decision last week - 17 years of enjoyment for both the family and the cat (at least I think so, you know how cats are), followed by a rapid decline for a week before the right decision became clear.

Thanks for sharing your experience - it helped me to know that we are not alone in difficult times.

Halfwise said...

The decision and the loss are each hard, aren't they, in their own separate ways. Thanks for taking the time to let us know what happened.

We have another cat, still. Is your house catless? Would you get another right away?

Anonymous said...

We remain catless for now - very strange not leaving the doors open for , no food dishes, etc.

We are planning on waiting for a few months, but some lucky four-legged creature will hit the jackpot. We always had a dog or cat when I was growing up, and the kids seem to pick up on the concept that looking after something or someone is normal - not a bad lesson in today's world.

Halfwise said...

Well, please remember that there is no such thing as going to the Animal Shelter "just to look".

It has been a long time since we have been without a cat. And if our surviving indoor cat (we sometimes refer to her as the 'small emergency back-up cat') fails to start some morning, I am sure we would put the word out and end up with another one faster than you can say "Do you know anyone who wants a kitten?"