Folds seemed to be doing better immediately after her surgery. But a week or so later she took a turn for the worse. She was lethargic. Then she got more lethargic. She couldn’t make it to the litter box. She didn’t have the strength to eat. She could barely take a drink of water. She was losing weight almost before our eyes.
We took her back to the vet. They gave her fluids intravenously for a couple days but she didn’t really improve much. It seems her kidneys were giving out. I guess this might have been triggered by the surgery. In any event, when I talked to the vet today he made the point that if she was a human being she’d be getting dialysis and would be on the list for a kidney transplant. But since she’s a cat such treatment options don’t exist.
I expressed concern about her suffering and asked if he recommended euthanasia. He said yes.
After I hung up the phone, I thought to myself: This is surely the right thing to do, and I don’t even like this cat, so why am I crying?
So I went there, signed the necessary papers, and then got to hang out with Folds for a while while the doctor treated another patient. She was in a truly pathetic state, skinny as a rail, and unable to stand erect.
I wondered, of course, if I was doing the right thing. I wondered if I should consult with Xy first. She loved Folds more than me. I figured she might appreciate me dealing with this, but then again maybe she’d want to say goodbye? I remembered how she had cradled Folds in her arms for a good hour or more Wednesday night. So I figured she’d said her goodbyes already. Maybe she sensed what was coming.
I stroked Folds’ head. She tried to nuzzle my hand but she hardly had the strength.
When the doctor came in at last he was very apologetic that it had come to this, and he took pains to emphasize that this was the humane course of action, as she wouldn’t have much quality of life going forward.
Then he shaved her foreleg, found her vein which was shrunken due to anemia caused by her kidney failure, and he injected her with a fatal dose of some barbiturate. I thought I might look in her eyes and see if I could tell the moment of her passing, but she turned her head away slightly, and the drug acted so fast she was dead before the doctor withdrew the needle.
So then I gave the doctor a hug, got on my bike, and rode away to pick up my daughter.
Post Script: This makes six cats we’ve lost in nine years. And yet only the third confirmed death. (The other three cats just disappeared. In some ways that’s more difficult.) I believe this is the closest I’ve ever been to any actual death. I mean I’ve swatted bugs but that doesn’t seem the same.