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Old 30 November 2017, 00:43   #1
gimbal
cheeky scoundrel
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Spijkenisse/Netherlands
Age: 37
Posts: 3,043
Your beloved pets ;-)

Rest in peace, Kitty

Gut wrenching moment, I don't wish it upon anyone; last Monday I had to make the hard decision and have my cat, Kitty, put to sleep. This is after a hard battle of over a year against diabetes in which the poor cat had four bladder infections, lost most of her body weight, lost a large part of her sight and couldn't really do much anymore other than eat, sleep, potty... and be as loving as she could be, regardless of her condition.

You might wonder: diabetes is treatable. Normally yes and very well indeed, but Kitty was an adopted street cat with feral tendencies. To us after several years of coaching she was a normal house cat, up to limits (couldn't ever touch the paws or pick her up, for example). But to anyone that would have to handle her physically like a vet if we could even get her there... she would turn into a triple headed pitbull. I kid you not, this cat would fight tooth and nail to get away from her "attacker" and was ready to kill if necessary. Treatment of any kind was absolutely impossible, the simplest of examinations ended in bad scratches and a very stressed cat. Unfortunately diabetes is very treatment heavy, requiring frequent blood checkups and two daily injections. For this cat: not feasible, it would have caused too much stress which is no good at her age.

So we did the only thing we could do; make her life as comfortable as possible for as long as she still had - and a long life she had, we estimate she made it to 17 based on stories of neighbors who had seen her on the streets for many years already before we moved in. She lived in a wooden house in our front yard, so we basically got her with the house. I can't imagine what happened to her before we invited her into our home when she must have been around 10; all I can say is that she had almost pure hate for people or other cats, except for us - eventually.

The best memory I have of her is the moment she decided she was no longer a street cat. We kept the front door open for long periods of time (at risk of burglary) so she could decide on her own where she wanted to go. Slowly but surely she would start to explore more in the house, but always ready to race outside again. And then one day not long before the first frost of the year I saw her hesitating in the hallway before bedtime - shall I go outside, or do I stay inside? With conviction she turned around and stayed. I closed and locked the door, she went to her toilet, she hopped into her sleeping basket, and we went to bed. It took a good two more years for her to trust us enough to really act like a house cat, but I don't regret a second of the time we spent together. We cracked her icy exterior and taught her how to play, communicate and be social. That is a rare story when it comes to feral street cats, clearly she was once a house cat and had turned feral because she was dumped.

But that last year. It is killing to have to watch a cat slowly fade away because it is ill, every day wondering: is this the day? Yet that day did not come, this cat was the strongest creature on earth and she kept on trucking, never showing a sign of distress, always running with the tail up and mewing in her friendly yet demanding way. But when her fourth bladder infection set in last week and I had to catch her to put her into a cage for transport to the vet (you don't get antibiotics without a mandatory checkup unfortunately)... I felt nothing but bone and a heart that was racing faster than it should. I knew it was the time and my heart sank. But she was still so sweet and loving even if she must have been in pain, I figured that the cat wasn't giving up just yet so neither was I.

Except while we were waiting at the vet to discuss any options left she gave me the signs. Through the bars of the cage for the first time ever she gave me kitty kisses; very calmly she blinked her eyes at me and she responded to mine every time. I was amazed and surprised because we had never been able to get her to do that - not a single time, despite what must be hundreds of attempts. On the table the vet carefully opened the transport box and we expected a wild tiger to jump out... and she just laid down, calmly and waiting. We could all touch her, no stress, no anger, no fighting, not even a hiss - nothing. She was just waiting for us to proceed, her fur really soft which only happened when she was relaxed. And my heart sank again.

I knew that this was it and my girlfriend and I gave the vet the okay to give her the eternal rest that she deserved and clearly was waiting for. No more fading body that can crash at any moment, no more aching joints, no more hunger with a body that will not absorb the food well and just consumes itself. Rest in peace, Kitty.

In the end I don't know what is the actual truth. Were we waiting for her to give us a sign that she was ready, or was she waiting for us to be ready?

---

These moments in your life change you. I've been an emotional wreck for the past two days and did more crying than I've done in my entire life. It was not only the loss of a beloved friend but basically repressed anxiety, helplessness and sorrow of the last year that came out. I came to realize that for a long time now I've basically shut myself off from the outside world, always saying "no" to events and parties and just wanting to go home as soon as possible - to be with Kitty. Didn't take any trips, because Kitty needed our care and company and basically nobody else could do it. I loved that cat more than anything but it does take it's toll to be a cat guardian rather than a cat owner. I have no regrets, except that now I really cannot allow myself to adopt another cat or two for the foreseeable future, even if deep down I would really want to. Right now, it is our time. I cannot ignore the fact that my relationship with my girlfriend has also suffered because of this.

But now that I've had my time to mourn and set my mind in order, I feel so much better and actually start to look forward to doing things again. I feel like I need to end this year on a high note rather than a somber one, send it off with a blast. Don't know how yet, but by golly it is going to happen. And a trip to Paris next May is already almost booked. I'm friggin' 36 and have never set foot in Paris. How crazy is that?

Up yours 2017, you took too much from me. But in the end, I'm a transformed Gimby which is something I have 2017 to thank for. I feel better, more open, more outgoing. So even after this sad story, let me be the first to wish you all a tremendous incoming 2018. I'm definitely going to give it my best to do everything right for a change!
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Last edited by gimbal; 02 December 2017 at 19:04. Reason: Restored Title.
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