Yesterday, I lost my ’fur’ soulmate, Nala. I am in shock, I an numb and saddened at the loss of my 10 year companion, the most charismatic, loving, devoted kitty there ever was. Yesterday was a surreal, out of body experience with my worst fear coming to fruition: having to decide to end her suffering and say goodbye.
Backing up…two days ago, I took her to the vet as she was not herself, lethargic and noticeably skinny…again. It was happening again. Several years ago, the same thing happened. And every year or so it would happen. She would lose weight, yet eat like a horse, yet every possible ailment was ruled out. Blood work clear. No thyroid issues. No parasites. Nothing explainable. Steroids and antibiotic and lots of extra food usually did the trick. But not this time. This time she was 5.75 lbs, the smallest she had ever gotten. Losing two lbs in two months, yet eating constantly. After an IV of fluids, blood and urine samples, we were sent home to await the results. Nala slept most of the day, eating little. I knew she was not improving, yet kept trying to find hopeful signs of improvement. She was not hiding. She *was* eating (even if just a little). But she was not very alert. She was weak and bony. She could barely lift her head. My stomach was in knots. My heart was breaking to see her this way. The blood and urine samples came back clear, no signs of anything.
Yet, I knew. I knew she was not recovering, but she was dying. I didn’t want to admit it or say it out loud, but in hindsight, deep down, I knew. Yesterday, she laid curled in my bed, barely moving. I checked on her hourly. I checked on her around 12:30 and discovered she had peed all over the bed. I started to tear up as I hated to think she was peeing because she had no strength to get up. Little did I know that it was early signs of her body failing her. I carried her in a blanket down to my office and laid her down next to me so I could watch her. I gave her some tuna juice, willing her to drink it, giving her some sustenance. She drank about half, as I held the bowl to her lips because she couldn’t lift herself enough to drink it herself.
I went into the kitchen to prepare my lunch, trying to be hopeful that her eating was a good sign. I came back to find her somehow ambling her way into my office chair, as she often did, ‘sharing’ it with me (more like hogging it, and I would sit in the very edge, to give her room). I put the chair to my side and put another chair next to her, so she would be right next to me. She kept ambling closer to me, just laying there. And then suddenly, she cried out in pain. My heart dropped. I knew. She was failing and quickly. I called the vet at 1:45, and she was in at 2 pm. The vet was visibly concerned and working quickly to stabilize her. They took her away, put her on oxygen, an IV and medication. The vet came in and talked with me and we decided to see if she stabilized in a few hours and then come to a decision. I went in to give her a kiss and tell her I loved her. And the sight of her in incubation, so frail and not very responsive, was incredibly painful. I left, and 5 minutes later, my phone rang. She had gotten progressively worse, and I turned around and flew back to the vet, hoping I would not lose my chance to say goodbye. I bawled as I walked back in, legs shaking. I went in, and there she was, twitching, shaking and…dying. The vet looked at me, sadly, and said, “I think it is time.” And I, crying, agreed. turned and signed the euthanasia paperwork, in a fog. I turned to Nala, I looked at her, put my hand on her side, kissed her gently and told her I loved her. The vet injected her and with one final breathe in…she was gone.
My companion, my heart, my little feisty furball was gone. In an instant. I have never cried more. I have never hurt more. I have never wanted to flee and wake up from a nightmare more. It was in that moment I realized just how much she meant to me, how much I had grown to love her. How much she had filled a void in my life the day my then-husband walked out the door. She became the light of my life, my comic relief, my solace when I was scared and alone, my fur soulmate. And in those final moments, I was protecting and saving her, just as she saved and loved me for all of those years.
To my beautiful girl, Nala, I love you more than I thought possible. Your spirit will forever live on, in me, and in your sister Kayla, who is lost without you, but carries your soul, your beautiful face, and your spirit, forever. 8-26-03 – 9-25-13
(to be continued…)