Love and loss
Yesterday I had to make the hard decision to euthanize my friend of 14 years, Shadow cat. Shadow lived down the block from my house when I bought it about 14 years ago. She quickly adopted me, maybe because her home included multiple rowdy dogs and children and my house was very quiet and calm. A fluffy, long-haired cat, she was affectionately known as "Fuzz Butt" by me and mine.
Fuzz Butt basking in the sun on the porch.
Miss Fuzz Butt was a good friend. Each evening when I arrived home from work, she would be on her feet when she heard my car, coming over to greet me, meowing all the way. She was very verbal, letting me know in no uncertain terms when she wanted food, love, or anything else.
Within a couple of years, my sweetheart and one dog had been added to the household. Fuzz Butt was an outdoor cat who would come indoors sometimes, and she was not at all buffaloed by our gentle, goofy pit bull mix dog. We set up a big dog cage inside for Fuzzer, where she could eat and relax without said dog stepping on her or eating her food. But outside was Shadow's domain; she "owned" the back yard, loved sunny days and laying in the sun or on a lap. Such an affectionate girl, she loved to hide her face in my hand, and somehow her fur always smelled good, despite spending most time outside. One less charming characteristic - she drooled when she was happy and getting affection!
Relaxing in the back yard, in an alluring pose!
About a month ago I took her to the veterinarian for a vaccination. The vet found a significant heart murmur during the visit, and we talked about options. Not wanting to put her through a bunch of stressful tests, we settled on "palliative care" for her to maintain her quality of life. No big change, just watching her food and water intake and helping her have good days. All was well, until 3 days ago. I arrived home from work to find Shadow lying on the front porch, very lethargic. She just lay there, didn't talk or get up - I had never seen her like this before. I brought her inside to her soft bed, food and water. She didn't eat, didn't purr when petted, and really only wanted to sleep.
In the morning, she was unchanged. I knew I had to take her to the veterinarian, and told my husband that I thought she might be in heart failure and I was worried about whether I would be bringing her back. Well, the vet said her heart was not working well and with her age, treatment would be stressful and not give her any quality of life. I told him I had hoped to take her home and sit with her outside, so she could die in the sunshine on my lap. He said it could be days, and she was suffering. So, I didn't have any choice but euthanasia. I held her as she gave a big sigh, and died.
Today I will put away her bed and food; I didn't have the heart yesterday. I already miss her unmusical voice, and it won't be the same coming home without her greeting.
Peace sweet Shadow.