Sick Cat : Part Two 

Monday morning. I woke up after a fitful sleep with barely enough time to get the cat to her appointment to the vet. I was groggy and not full awake when the phone rang. It was the vet. He said he had "terrible news." I sighed. I knew that this was one of the possible outcomes of the blood work tests he had performed on Saturday. I had just allowed myself to hope that the vet would be able to perform the miracle I wanted and stop the cat's pain and make her feel better.

I listened to the vet rattle off a series of numbers that proved that the cat's kidneys had been irreparably damaged by some sort of chemical she presumably ingested, but after the phrase "terrible news," I really wasn't paying any more attention. I thought about my experiences with the cat outside, feeding her, watching her lounge in the farmyard, hearing her meow at me. When I became aware that the vet had stopped talking, I asked him what he thought would cause such a thing to happen. He said that it was more than likely anti-freeze. The cat needed to be put down. Anything else would prolong her suffering. He said that he could euthanize her any time I brought her down to the animal hospital.

I hung up the phone, and despite feeling groggy, got dressed and located the cat. She was resting in the hallway. During the past 48 hours, the hallway had become her favorite place to rest. I knew that because I had been checking up on her several times during those two days. She seemed to have more energy, and was eating a bit more, and drinking a lot more. The vet later told me that this might be a result of the fluids he had given her during our last visit. I felt overwhelmingly bad, but lacking a miracle kidney repair spell, what else could I do? I picked her up and held her close to my chest for as long as she could stand it.

I put the cat in my car while I searched again for the cat carrier I couldn't find before. This time I was luckier. I found it in the barn hidden under a plastic bag that I had not noticed before. I managed to fish the cat out of the backseat of my car and put her in the carrier with a threadbare towel for comfort. She was compliant enough, and was even purring as I placed her insider the carrier and then put the carrier on the passenger seat of my car.

The trip to the vet took a little too long because there was road work being done on street to the vet. My car was stopped by a young flagger with a long beard. I wasn't sure if he could see the carrier through the windshield of my car. The cat was becoming a little restless inside her carrier. I poked my fingers inside the gate screen to comfort her, and she obliged the offer by rubbing her face against them.

During this time, I was in a sort of denial. I thought that there might be a chance that the cat could recover somehow. Maybe if I gave her more attention, fed her more rigorously, gave her more time to rest, the cat just might be able to recover. This cat had been nearly as strong as an ox in her healthier days, so I reasoned that if there was any cat that could overcome this problem, it would be her. The possibility of the cat's recovery was all I could think off during our drive to the animal hospital.

The wait in the lobby was short as we were the first patients of the day. The vet tech led me into the examining room and told me that the vet would be in shortly. I let the cat out onto the examining table and began to pet her. She was purring. It was frustratingly sad to have to do this, and I couldn't help shake my head. The cat explored the table, and at one point even wanted to jump down to the floor. Instead of letting her jump, I put her on the floor so she could walk around down there.

The vet came in and I asked my questions about her possible recovery. The answer, explained in a wave of jargon, was no. If she was a human being, she would need regular kidney dialysis treatments, but they did not do that for cats. He said that the best he could do would be to put off the inevitable for several more days by giving the cat another fluid shot. But, in either case, the cat was going to die.

Not the answer I wanted to hear.

I held the cat again, and made the difficult decision. He brought in a blanket and gave her a shot of sedatives. When she was asleep, he came back in and gave her the final shot.

I told him that I would be taking her back with me so I could bury her behind the barn, essentially her home for the last couple of years. Whenever I thought of her, inevitably it was at or near the barn.

I placed her body in the towel, put it in the carrier, and drove it back. I found the shovel and walked out into the pasture and the morning's rising sun. I did not want to be doing this. It seemed like such an unnecessary shame. A younger cat, only about a year old, followed me through the field and sat in the tall grass as I dug a whole in a hard and dry ground. It was tough work, but eventually, I had a hole deep enough for her to lay in. I gently wrapped her body in the towel she had been sleeping on and buried her.

After I filled the hole, I sat with the other cat for several minutes and thought about mortality. As I get older, I find that life is over far too quickly. It feels deeply unfair, and this particular death seemed especially unfair. The cat died before her time. I hope that I get my own life sorted out to a reasonable sense of emotional equilibrium and financial stability before I have to leave this world. Leave this world like we all must do at some point. A point, that, as far as I am concerned, is very much in the distant future.

16 September 2009
Comments: Post a Comment