YESTERDAY, MY FAMILY and I put down our cat.
She was 14 years old and lived a really full life. Unfortunately, a couple years ago we noticed she was starting to vomit frequently and there was a growth on her side.
She had a tutor on her spleen, which made it difficult for her to keep food down and stay nourished.
Over the year she got thinner and thinner.
Out of everyone in my family, my dad was the one she would have called, “mom”.
She was his second daughter. At times I thought he loved her more than me… seriously!
I mean pets are such great companions to humans because they are always in a state of infancy. They need you to feed them, bath them, cuddle them, take them to appointments, etc…
And hopefully if you treat them well they will always love you.
But my cat was a bit of a b*tch.
When she was younger she had so much energy and so much attitude. She’d give you the cold shoulder like no body’s business.
And she was tough. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and so would often bring home little treats, like mice. But one time she was caught beating up a little bunny.
But she also got bullied. There was always this tomboy cat that would try to get with her. He was aggressive and wasn’t afraid of human.
Some nights she’d be sitting in the kitchen looking out the sliding glass door at the tomboy just crying and hissing. She was fierce.
But not too fierce.
She did have a sweet side to her, but only on her terms. In the mornings she would wrap around my legs purring and swishing her tail.
I’d go to pet her and she’d roll on her back, so that her belly was just out of reach. When I moved closer to give her a rub, again, she’d squirm a few more inches away.
Damn. She made me work to make her feel good.
But she wasn’t like this with my dad.
With my dad she’d jump right up on his lap and let him pet her for hours. She was content and he was content.
As my kitty started getting sick I could see the heartache in my dad’s eyes. Like a parent trying to soothe a sick baby without any idea what was wrong or what to do.
Our home became a cat food museum.
We have cases and cases of cat food everywhere. She’s tried dried fish, natural chicken, canned fancy feast, watery mixtures of all of the above.
Because Mao Mao was having a hard time keeping food down, she became really picky with eating. Some days she’d eat chicken and the next she wouldn’t even look at it.
Not to mention she only wanted a freshly opened can of food. None of this day-old garbage!
There are small dishes of cat food scattered around the house, in hopes that she would eat and regain her strength.
I could only imagine how hard it was for my dad.
He would get up in the middle of the night to make her a fresh bowl of food, then go back to bed.
Then a few days ago he made the decision to have her put down. She was emaciated, weak and suffering.
But she never showed her pain.
In her final days she became a demure kitten. So small, delicate, and cuddly. She didn’t have enough energy to run away so we gave her lots of kisses, hugs and under the chin rubs.
Goodbye Mao Mao… you’ve been the best independent, loving kitty with an attitude. You definitely suited our family.
And thank you for those few days when I was sick or depressed. Curling up beside me in those moments of sadness helped to make me feel a little less alone.