Now My Other Cat Is Dying. OF COURSE SHE IS.

We are still in a holding pattern regarding the house. We have an offer and a contract and are waiting on the Request for Repairs. We aren’t expecting anything unmanageable, but I do photography and marketing for a real estate brokerage and I now know all of the WORST CASE SCENARIOS so I’m paranoid and unable to breathe easy about this move until that comes in and we don’t find out our house is haunted or inhabited by aliens.

Unfortunately, in the process of boarding our pets for the inspection, our vet discovered my cat – Sunflower – looked a little yellow around the eyes and gums. I did some research on the signs your cat is dying and I knew what was happening. They did bloodwork and found out that she’s essentially dying of liver failure. She’s 17, so they’re not honestly suggesting anything can be done about it and have basically sent us home with a list of things to monitor so we can get an accurate judgment on her quality of life. We’ve discussed what will happen when the quality of life decreases and it seems only fair to take away the pain when she’s near the end. I did a little online research into pet euthanasia, and as my other cat passed away recently, I feel like I’m a little more prepared this time around. Vetter Pet Care (https://www.vetterpetcare.com/in-home-pet-euthanasia), was just one of the sites I used to wrap my head around euthanasia and you might find it useful if you’re going through a similar situation. We just have to look out for big changes like food and water consumption, or requests for snuggles and purring. It’s weird because her spirits seem fine. She has seemed a little lazier than normal now that we think about it – but she was spritely over the holidays when trying to attack E’s cat who came to visit.

While there’s really no “good” news to hope for on the Dying Cat front. I do find myself being a little morbidly humorous about the whole thing because COME ON. I just held Bambi in my arms while he died a few weeks ago…and now my other cat is dying? GIVE ME A BREAK, UNIVERSE.

But as long as the home sale proceeds without hiccups, I’ll still consider it a Net Gain in terms of gifts from the universe. Sunflower is 17 years old, it’s not like we were expected her to live another 10 years. We felt like at this point every year is a bonus. The average life span of a domesticated cat is 12-18 years. This is upsetting (I’ve cried so much already) but not unexpected.

It is very weird though. Every time we go through this with one of our animals (we’ve had to decide with all of them to put them down) I think about when my Dad was in hospice. Once he made the decision to just die instead of living his life bound to dialysis, he wanted to die IMMEDIATELY. He even joked about it the first few days. Like, CAN WE DO THIS ALREADY? While Kidney Failure is a painless way to die (You basically just get more and more tired as your blood becomes more and more toxic without the renal filtration) it takes awhile. It’s not quick. And Dad found this very frustrating.

So every time we start discussing quality of life with our pets, I think about how weird it is that we can do that with our pets, but not with humans. My Dad decided his quality of life was too terrible (he was also in a lot of pain from the microfractures over his skeleton caused by the blood cancer) and was ready to die and he basically just had to sit and wait. There is no humane way to end someone’s life if they’ve decided that’s what they want. You just make them comfortable and wait for it to happen. AND THIS FEELS SUPER F*CKED UP, I’ll be honest. I can recognize when my cat no longer wants to live and I can sedate her and then hold her as we give her medicine to stop her heart, but if it’s a human who I love more than myself? I have to just watch him stare into space every day waiting for his blood to finally be toxic enough to shut down his body.

I MEAN. COME ONE.

Many fights against assisted suicide stem from the idea that it is only God who decides when someone’s life is over. And if you help someone end their life, that’s a sin. And if someone ends their own life, that’s a sin. Religious people have a hard time wrapping their head around the ethics and morals of assisted suicide.

I do not.

I think about it in the same way I think about my dying cat. She can’t tell me when she’s ready to die so I watch how much she’s eating and drinking and how many times she gets out of bed and does she come to me for snuggles and does she play that game with her tail and does she purr…I have ways to evaluate whether I think wants to still be alive. And when those measurements indicate she does not, I do the right thing because I love her and don’t want her to suffer. And that is what I wish I could have given Dad. That is my one regret. That we don’t live in a world where people can remove mysticism from death and just look at it pragmatically. Someone’s quality of life has deteriorated to the point where they have requested we end their life for them and we can’t do it unless we have lived in this state for X amount of time and X amount of doctors have confirmed the diagnosis of death in X amount of time.

It’s just strange. I mean, I get it. I understand the complexities when you look at the ethics and morals, especially if you factor in the idea of souls and afterlife. I’m not trying to minimize that as important to consider, I’m just saying for me personally? I just can’t see any other “right” way than to allow people to decide when to die on their own humanely and peacefully. It should be a perk to having advanced brains capable of complex thought and medical intervention. But nope. Not us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s talk about how my dying Dad should have been allowed to die sooner! Like my cat!

Oh, man. I gotta work on the humor up in this joint.

How about instead we look at this picture of Sunflower from several years ago and ponder the question:

Why doesn’t anyone come over for Pizza night anymore?

14 thoughts on “Now My Other Cat Is Dying. OF COURSE SHE IS.”

  1. I’m very sorry about Sunflower. We have a 16 year old cat that we are basically in the same holding pattern with, so I totally understand how you are feeling. I also agree with you on allowing terminally ill people to die on their own terms and with dignity.

  2. So sorry about Sunflower. I have to totally agree with what you have said though. Why do we let people suffer when we think it is unfair on animals? It makes no sense at all. I hope that everything is peaceful and painless for Sunflower.

    Also sending good house vibes!

  3. Ugh. I’m so sorry. I’m glad Sunflower has people to watch and love her and help her over the rainbow bridge, with love and medical intervention if it comes to that. Hopefully you have some good snuggles left!

  4. I hit post too soon, because I also wanted to say something about your dad. It’s so hard, isn’t it, no matter which way you look at it. I know none of you wanted him to die so young or in those circumstances, but I’m glad you were able to give him so much love in his last days, too.

  5. So sorry about Sunflower.

    Off topic: Here is a book you might want to check out, although it’s being made into a movie so you might want to see that first. (Generally I don’t like the movie if I’ve read the book but YMMV.)

    Fingers crossed on your home sale.

  6. I totally get what you’re saying. My mother is almost 83, has leukemia, COPD, another weird disease that is causing her to have painful extra bone growth on her finger joints and skull (she jokingly calls them horns on her head), hardening lungs, chronic back pain (she has broken her back a couple of times in her life), extremely fragile bones (if she has on pants that aren’t stretchy and bends over, she breaks a rib)… She takes oxycodone daily, plus a host of other meds for her heart rate and blood pressure. She spends most of her days lying in bed or the recliner. She has said more than once that rather than wasting away in a hospital bed, she’d rather take a few extra pain meds. I get it, and I don’t blame her. I am all for a person being able to be in control of end-of-life decisions in cases like this.

    Sorry again about Sunflower. Can I ask how your other animals reacted after Bambi died? Our Dane didn’t eat yesterday until late at night. She basically ate half of what she usually does. I imagine that’s fairly normal.

  7. I totally agree that humans should be allowed the same dignity we allow pets at the end of their lives. Give Sunflower an extra snuggle for me. I’m glad that at least you know what’s on the horizon, so you can be watchful and let her go when it’s time. It’s never going to be easy, but it’s a *little* less painful when you don’t have to live with the knowledge that you could have done something for her sooner, if only you’d known.

  8. Ugh! This post made me almost cry. Last February we had to put down Aramis due to cancer. We sat with him for hours at the emergency vet waiting for him to tell us he was ready (he was bleeding out internally and there was nothing we could do about it)…..IT SUCKED BALLS!!

    The time will come soon with Boomer. He was diagnosed with cancer last June and has already outlived the timeframe the vet told us he’d last. (I made him secretly promise to live for Christmas and New Years and then he was free to go when he is ready.) Aramis was harder because we didn’t know he was sick until it was too late…we had about 6 hours with him at the emergency vet. When Boomer passes, it will also SUCK BALLS but we’re a little more prepared.

    Whenever one of my babies (cats) die, I’m going to be a FREAKIN BASKET CASE!

  9. I am so sorry about Sunflower. The only bright spot is that you can spend extra time with her now, instead of wishing afterward that you had known. Not such a bright spot, really, but better than nothing.

    My dad was declining for a few years, and not too happy about it, but when the end came, it didn’t take too long (a few weeks on life support, and he was unconscious, then less than a day after being taken off it), and I was so grateful. It really is odd how we can do for our pets what we can’t do for people.

    Fingers crossed for the house. Hoping for good news, and soon!

  10. It is heartbreaking to hear about your cat’s illness; I’m someone who considers every animal in my home to be a part of my family so I know how real the emotions are when one is sick. On the plus side, you do have a contract for the house so at this point it’s just a matter of getting things ticked off the list (and hopefully they will be very reasonable considering the amount of work you have already done)

  11. I am so sorry about Sunflower. Just think of how much fun it was to have her for 17 years. As for the why can’t humans request that the same be done for them. I believe in God and have a different take on this. When are we really deciding for God. Is it when we decide to turn the machines off, or is it actually when people are hooked up to all the machines in the first place. I tend to think its the latter. That we take humans that are about to die on Gods schedule, and reverse that by hooking up the machines. We are not playing God when we unplug the machines, but we may be when we hook people up to them in the first place

  12. I feel all of these feels… my (very Catholic) dad passed last year and he kept trying to stop eating to speed it along even though that conflicts with his beliefs. I lost one cat six months ago and have two more I am doing the watch with (all the same age) and yes, the cats get more dignity. I had no problem voting to change that in Colorado.

    Hugs for all of this and good house vibes!

  13. Oh, it’s so sad watching them go but they do have a way of letting you know when they’ve had enough. The story about your dad is so sad though. It’s very interesting how we have this strange double standard where it’s okay for us to decide to end the life of a beloved pet so that they don’t suffer but we keep our fellow humans alive for as along as possible at any cost, financial or emotional, even when that’s at odds with their own wishes! I hope you get to enjoy your final days and weeks with your cat in between all the house moving activities.

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