September 1986 - March 25, 2008
In the last couple months, she was really starting to show her age.
Her eyes were not as bright as they are in these pics. (These were taken last summer).
She had lost a lot of weight. You could feel her spine and mostly every other bone in her body.
She had developed an occasional cough. I knew the time was drawing near, but kept putting it off. I finally made the appointment for today.
She started meowing in her crate on the way there. She lived in the crate at home, but hadn't been out of the house in ages.
I got her calmed down and purring at the vets. I paid the fees and the technician walked me through the procedure. This was not my first time, so I felt prepared.
I chatted with the tech while waiting for the Doctor. She asked about Dusty.
I said "You mean 'The Terrorist?"
I went through a description of Dusty's antics and behavior. She's more like a dog than a cat.
The office staff fell just as in love with Dusty as I have.
The Tech expressed disappointment at having to wait until August to see Dusty again.
The Doc came in and did a cursory exam and found flea dirt. I think it was just old dirt, because she hasn't been able to clean herself thoroughly in a while.
He discussed treating the other felines just to be sure.
Then the time came for the injection.
The old gal still had some fight left in her and got quite upset. I was worried about stressing her out, that's not what I wanted for her.
They decided to take her out beck and put in a catheter for the injection.
I could hear her desperate and hoarse cries.
They brought her back in and explained that they sedated her because she was going into respiratory distress. I was stroking her as the Doc was explaining with cats this elderly, they could go on their own with this kind of distress.
There was a final shudder from her frail body and she was gone.
I knew it, I felt it.
The Doc wanted to give her a cardio injection just to be sure.
"I'd rather not." I insisted.
They told me I'd have to wait a few minutes and they'd check her heartbeat again to be sure.
I told them that would be fine.
I stroked her soft old fur that shed in my hands.
I told her how sorry I was for having her end be so stressful.
My tears fell on her still frame as I tried to smooth her puffed out tail.
The Doc confirmed that she had gone and gave his condolences.
The tech told me that since she wasn't euthanized, they'd give me the flea treatment for the other two and a credit on my account. I said that would be fine.
They provided a burial box and wrapped her in a fresh towel.
The tech returned with the box and informed me that the waiting room was full of people and she would meet me at the back door if I preferred. I did.
I felt the looks of sympathy as I left through the exam room.
One look at my red eyes and nose and they understood my pain.
Son had dug a grave for my arrival home.
He made a cross with hearts and RIP Cuddles on it.
Tabitha is now sleeping in Cuddles crate. She went in and out of it 3 or 4 times when I got home, and then went looking for Cuddles. She will grieve as well.
I never got the flea meds. That's only because the staff at the vets was most understanding of how difficult it is to lose a pet. They were truly wonderful, compassionate and empathetic.
I know it was the best decision for Cuddles. Maybe I should have done it sooner. I waited for her to tell me when. I only wish it wasn't so horrifying for her.
Cuddles will be missed around here. She was such a fixture of my life for the last 22 years.
No longer will I hear the splashing of the water bowl, or see that beautiful face look up at me and her mouth move with a silent meow.
I only pray that my Dad met her at the Rainbow Bridge and she is purring contentedly in his arms.