Right now my cat and companion is in the pet hospital and I am at home, moving back and forth between a midterm paper and looking at pictures of him, telling myself he may not get better and hoping he does. He's dealing with- and has been dealing with for some time, although I didn't realize it- a very serious, common feline disease that mainly strikes the boy kitties, and it strikes them hard.
For the last few days, I have watched him progress from struggling to pee, to failing to pee, to failing to move. Last night, he walked slowly down the hallway to our bedroom, hopped so softly onto our comforter and dragged himself to my side of the bed. When I laid down next to him, he hit his face against mine like he always does, and that was the last time he interacted with me. This morning I woke up and called the vet to ask him how I could help Willie die.
Steven and I had decided that we couldn't afford the very expensive, possibly ineffective treatment that Willie needed. We talked again and again about how Willie is an animal that we love, but an animal nonetheless and that the money we have is already assigned to needs in our life. Like rent and my graduate school program; the money we have is only enough for maintaining Willie's life, not saving it. But we have been trying so hard to save him.
Several trips to the vet, syringes full of medicine, water and mushy food to get him even the littlest nutrition. We've been sitting by his litter box for hours, holding hands, watching him shake and strain to pee. We've counted all the little dots of his urine, shoved muscle relaxers into his little mouth, and helped him onto his pillow when he couldn't make it himself.
This morning, I brushed my hands on his fur and willed my love for this tiny, dependent creature to make him well. I begged his body to fix itself and I catch myself begging still, please just get better, Willie. But so far this process has been a disappointing one and I don't have much hope that he'll stay better, even if the treatment works.
When I asked the vet what I could do this morning, he tried to schedule a hospital visit to do the emergency catheter and fluids, but I told him we couldn't afford it. He convinced me he would figure out a price that works and that he really wanted to help Willie. Steven and I agreed that, one time only, we would pay the amount and try the treatment. Most everything I read online says that once isn't enough, that cats with this problem need to return for the catheter again and again; ultimately, surgery is the best bet. So, we're back to where we were; biding our time, hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
I think I have spent the last 48 hours saying goodbye, smelling his fur, telling him I'm sorry.
I am sorry for him and I'm sorry for us. And I'm embarrassed about how carried away I am at the thought of losing my friend. I think of my dad and Steven's Burkinabe friends and what they would think of ME and the visceral grief I feel for this feline. I think of so many reasons why I should just pull it together, value the time I had with him, and embrace the reality of life and death. I am judging myself for feeling too much and for not being able to "do enough". The typical stages of grief, I'm sure. Or whatever.
Right now I just want to embrace my kitty without hurting him, even if it's to say goodbye.
If you've read this far, you care about my cat and so I wont be embarrassed to list a few things about him:
Willie gives me hugs and I love them
Willie loves salty snacks and he always tries to steal our movie popcorn
Willie has ten different meows and they all sound like words to me
Willie follows me from room to room, he keeps me company when Steven works long night shifts
Willie has the happiest tail