My New Year’s Day began with a cup of hot cocoa and a few hours watching the Rose Parade. But the day quickly turned sour with a painful cry upstairs.
Betsy, my tortoiseshell cat of 18 years, was in distress. I knew her days were numbered. Multiply 18 times 7. How many animals live to be 126?
Kidney disease had plagued her for a year. She was on special foods prescribed by the vet and she drank incessantly, usually trying to sneak a few laps from my son’s favorite cup.
But this was different. She stopped eating and nothing I tried worked.
Two days earlier, we had rushed to the vet who attempted a blood draw. Betsy’s veins were collapsing. Kidneys were failing as well as the liver. Maybe extra fluids would help.
We tried, but her time was up.
So I spent the rest of New Year’s Day following Betsy around the house as she tried to get comfortable. She searched out dark corners. Animals will often search for a place to die – alone.
I told her what a good kitty she had been, how she became the model for Gabriel in my Reverend G trilogy, how she was famous on Facebook. I petted her, held her, kept my tears blocked. Expected her to die that night yet was grateful she didn’t.
I hoped and prayed, fervently, that Creator God would take her so I wouldn’t have to make that final decision.
But hope doesn’t always work out with a beautiful ending. Death is a consequence of life.
Although I grew up on a farm and have owned a plethora of pets, I never needed to put an animal to sleep. But Betsy’s cries were laced with pain.
Love does not allow suffering.
January 2, 9:18am. The vet and the staff at the pet hospital were compassionate and kind. My son and I had several moments to say goodbye. Then a couple of simple injections and she was gone, asleep in my arms. My tears finally released.
It has now been almost a month, and I still listen for her meow when I come home, wait for her to cuddle with me at night, cherish her satisfied purr.
Then I remember how hope deferred this request and left me bereft. Although I treasure the years of Betsy’s companionship, I am sick of death and loss.
The unconditional love of our pets reminds us how needy we are, how important is that sweet connection, how we can comfort each other by just being present.
Ah, Betsy – I will miss you forever. Thanks for letting me love you.
©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
I went through the same thing 10 years ago; I had to put my darling kitty to sleep, she was also 18. I didn’t want to, but the vet confirmed that she was suffering and that it was a matter of time to wait for her heart to stop beating. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Afterward, I felt like my heart was ripped out, I don’t have any kids and I never married, so she was my companion from kittenhood. I still miss her so much. I pray for peace and comfort for you!
I’m so sorry, Arlene. Our pets definitely own a piece of our hearts – forever.
Oh, I do know that grief of having to make the choice to put a suffering animal out of pain with my loyal Buddy 😦 My 18 yo cat, Midnight, is going through kidney problems now. She has to eat special food too. I love her to bits. So sorry your year started out that way. xx Amy
Yes, Amy, I remember your beloved Buddy. And I’m sorry Midnight is having trouble with her kidneys. Our pets own such an important piece of our lives.
So sorry RJ. It’s hard losing a pet.
Rest in peace Betsy.
Thanks Rachel. It sure is !
So sorry to hear about Betsy….. Sending you hugs!
Thanks, Deb. Appreciate the hugs !