Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Work is not on my mind right now.

The cat is old.

Really, really, old, and recently she’s begun to act her age.

Most of what she does these days is sleep, and she very rarely ventures away from her perch on the bed. I think it’s been six months since she’s done anything other than walk to the food bowl and then walk back to the bed.

She doesn’t look out the window, she doesn’t come and sit with me if I’m watching  TV, she doesn’t come yell at me to hurry up and get out of the shower.

She’s not even showing interest in her beloved Cat Track.

Her muscles are atrophying because of the inactivity, making it harder for her to move around.

She just sleeps. She doesn’t even wash her face these days – I’ve been having to scrub the food crust off of her nose for her.

I know the end is coming, but right now what I’m really struggling with is when.

I’m not going to let her slide and slide and become really miserable before dying naturally.

I’ve done that because I was too much of a coward to go to the vet. The suffering that animal had to endure because of my lack of action is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

But it’s not that simple.

If I do it too soon, she loses time (or maybe it doesn’t matter to her and I’m the one losing the time. Who knows).

If I do it too late, she’ll suffer.

Where’s the line?

I’ve had her for so long that I can’t imagine life without her, so I wonder if that clouds my judgement.

The vet is spectacularly unhelpful, just saying “You know your pet”.

Fucking duh. Of course I know my pet. That’s why this is so hard.

It would be super easy with someone else’s pet.

“Dude, that dog’s, like, jacked. You should put it to sleep”.

See? Easy.

So now I’m watching, and waiting, and wondering if I’m doing the right thing or just torturing the sweet soul that’s loved me unconditionally for almost two decades.

I wish there was an easy answer.

Someone please give me an easy answer.


Filed under: Non-Work, , , ,

8 Responses

  1. chucksnuc says:

    The two most difficult things in my life was killing my dogs. The super traumatic one involved okaying a lethal injection to kill our girl who had been hit by a car.
    The other involved the dignity of life and the pain one has to suffer. Systems were shutting down, and at one point just have to decide.

  2. You’ll know when it’s time…When she loses interest in food and water… Having been with you so long, my guess is one day soon she’ll look at you and you’ll know. Our Maddy had tumors and was going downhill and we struggled with the same thing. The night before we put her down, she came out and sat in her old place on the sofa with us and allowed us to love on her – the next morning she reverted to her more solitary state. We recognized she sensed her time and came out to be with us to say good bye.

  3. This is a miserable situation with no right answer. Whatever you do is wrong… but in one of those infuriating conundrums of real life, whatever you do is also right. There’s just no winning this argument with yourself — you’ll have to make the call when the time comes.

    Which you already know, of course. Like you said: “duh.”

    Trust yourself. You’ll know when it’s time — and when that time comes, you’ll do the right thing… and then you’ll cry, because that’s what we all do when this happens.

    It’s brutal. It hurts. It’s life…

  4. Sex Mahoney says:

    My cat is reaching a similar state. She is 18 years old and has lived with me on multiple continents. I adopted her at 5 from the shelter where she had just given birth to a litter of kittens and was acting as wet nurse to the other abandoned younglings.

    Persephone Magazine recently ran a feature on this issue (except with dogs) and I’ll quote from them here: “The most important thing to be alert for is The Look. It’s capitalized because it is a Real Thing. At some point near the end of its life, your [pet] will make eye contact with you. There will be something about that particular eye contact that you will recognize when you see it. Your [pet] will tell you, as clearly as if they had it notarized, that they are ready to go. If you accept what you are seeing, you’ll be able to make the decision a little more easily…

    “I also advise you not to let anyone make you feel bad about your decision. If they make you feel worse, IGNORE THEM. Their opinions have no bearing. You are your [pet’s] advocate, and you know them best. All of these other people can step off. (And by “step” I think you know what I mean.)” []

  5. Peggy Archer says:

    Thanks, everyone. You all have given me some comforting words and really good advice. I appreciate it.

    • Michael says:

      Pet True: the day you bring it home you know you will outlive the little heartbreaker. 20 kitty years is a very large slice of life. No surprise and no shame in the tears outside the Vet’s door.

  6. Niall James says:

    I had a 17 year old Jack Russel I had to put down earlier this year. It wasn’t untill the last few months she went down hill fast low apatite, heavy breathing, leathargy, all of the old age signs. Then she had a seizure, it was the worst thing I watched her go through. She recovered in minutes and seemed fine, but I had to make promise that if it happened again or she got any worse then she was at that point; I had to make the call and end her suffering. Another seizure happened three weeks later and I took her in. I haven’t cried that much in my entire life.

    All you can do is set a mandated point. A place that straddles what is best for you and for your pet. You need to do it a little earlier than later. Give them peace when it’s a comfort not a mercy.

  7. andrea says:

    I had a very understanding vet for my old (beloved) cat. As it was explained by her: it’s a question of quality of life, which only you may recognize. When there is zero joy, zero interest in the things normally liked (food, head rubs, interesting smells), it’s when that frontier has been crossed. If your cat is happy sleeping, it’s not time. If just getting comfortable is a monumental task, you’ve entered the am I ready for this zone. My cat was in pain and it dulled everything. My husband cried like a baby at the vet’s, who let us have all the time we needed. It is a very difficult decision but on another plane, it’s an honor. An honor to do the right thing by your old friend. It took us a long time to come around to getting another pet: two sibling kittens from the shelter. They needed us more than we did them, but now (of course) it’s the other way around. We are all just passing through. Do your best.

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