A week ago, everything was fine. Our family cat Snowy was 16 and going strong, despite having kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. My mom gave her daily medication to manage both and she was doing great. We were so proud of her and how strong she was, and she was the oldest cat (by years) that my family has ever had.
Then I got a phone call from my mom saying they were taking Snowy to the vet as she was breathing harder than usual. I rushed over to their house to see her and love her as it sounded really bad. But she had come through scary times before so I didn’t really believe it was the end. Then my mom took her to the vet the next day and they confirmed she had fluid build up between her lungs/ribs. They tried to flip her on her back for an ultrasound and she panicked because she couldn’t breathe in that position. Her gums were pale and unhealthy, a sure sign that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen. They said she had only days left, and there was nothing permanent they could do. Trying to drain the fluid with a needle would only be a temporary fix, and a very unpleasant ordeal for her. Even if we had gone that route, it might only have given her weeks instead of days. She was doomed. The whole family (my sister and her fiance, my fiance and I) came to see her that night and decide what to do.
The next day I didn’t go to work and came over in the morning. I spent a few hours with her on my lap, feeding her bacon (her guilty pleasure) and then my sister came over too and we took her outside to dig in the dirt, eat grass and roll in a ridiculously huge pile of catnip. All her favorite things. The whole day we were both tearing up and talking about what to do, and we decided that we should take her that evening to put to sleep. We had given her a kick-ass last day and she was still relatively happy, and even purred one last time in my arms. We didn’t know what tomorrow might bring. She didn’t deserve to suffer at all. So my mom made an appointment that evening and we spent the last few hours trying to spoil her as much as possible. She was starting to decline even more and never purred again after the cuddle I had given her early in the day. (And she was a prodigious purr-er her whole life). We figured that was her way of telling us we were making the right choice.
The family that she had grown up with for 16 years – my parents, my sister and I – all went together to the vet’s office that afternoon. We all stayed with her after they had inserted the IV catheter and when we were ready, the vet came in and gave her the injection. It was over in about two seconds – it was so, so fast. Just like that 1/5 of our family was gone. We cuddled her up in one of my mom’s old sweaters that had always been her favorite, said goodbye one final time and left her to be cremated. We are going to spread her ashes in my parents’ garden, by one of her catmint bushes (planted just for her) that she loved to lay on and squash down every summer.
I’ve been thinking about her all week and can’t even fathom that she’s gone forever. 16 years… that’s 2/3 of my life, basically as long as I can remember. She was the sweetest cat that ever existed. Everyone who met her loved her. My family is devastated.
Sorry this was so long. I just needed to tell her story and get some virtual hugs. And maybe help other ladies here going through a similar tough choice with their pets. It felt absolutely awful to make that call to end her life, but we knew it was the right thing for her. I guess it would have been easier for us to just keep her until the end but it wouldn’t have been fair to her to die in agony struggling to breathe. I hope she knew how loved she was.
Thanks for reading if you made it through all that. RIP to our beautiful baby.