My cats are old. I don’t know how that happened. The steady drum of time didn’t miss a beat, but I’m so inured to the sound that I didn’t notice. I saw them get some tufts of gray. Bought them senior food when they’d eat it, but all with the complete denial that time was actually passing.
The youngest is 11.
I’ve had cats all my life. I know the drill. No one gets out of this alive. When I take in one of these little fluffy things, I know that it’s most likely that I will outlive them. I am introducing a future tragedy into my life and I have no one to blame for it but myself.
As they passed through their first decade, I started to keep careful watch on them. I thought I was ready. I think I’m ready. I know it will hurt but it’s a pain that I am used to. Or so I tell myself.
My cat’s kidneys are deteriorating. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s happening because he’s old.
Yeah, there are kidney transplants, but aside from being expensive, it relies on a donor cat. I know cats are put down all of the time, I don’t want to be part of the reason.
The best I can do is to give him food that may be less likely to wear out his kidneys and hope for more time.
I don’t know how long it will be. When he was a kitten, they didn’t expect that he’d live at all. He had everything: parasites, worms, upper respiratory infection. He’d sneeze blood and lose control of his bowels at the same time. He was a mess. But he came through.
I guess the point is, we’ve always been living on borrowed time.
And look, there are millions of ways that cats, even indoor cats, can get into something and die. At any time, any point in a day a symptomless cat could keel over. That’s always a risk.
What’s changed is that now I know what will kill him. I know that I will be forced to watch him deteriorate, and that when life is no longer worth living, I’ll have to have him put him down.
It won’t be the first time I’ve had to do this. It probably won’t be the last.
All I do know is that when that time comes, he’ll be surrounded by love and kisses with his family around him. It’s everyone’s fantasy death. Peaceful.
That’s all I can give him.