Losing My Cat

Two weeks ago I had to rush my cat to the Emergency Vet. It was Sunday. No one goes to the vet on a Sunday when it’s not life or death. “Hi there — my cat was here on Friday. She was urinating blood & we began treatment for a urinary tract infection. She seemed to be on the mend, but now she’s passing chunks of blood & tissue.” They took her from me immediately. I stood there for a few minutes. Paralyzed. One of the vet techs returned. “The same doctor who saw PP on Friday is here today. She remembers her. Have a seat. We will get you into a room to talk with the vet once we figure out what’s going. It’s going to be okay.”

It wasn’t okay. I could go into everything that happened, but it doesn’t change the ending. Eventually I was brought back into a room. Eventually the vet came to talk to me. It wasn’t long before I made the most difficult decision of my life — eventually PP’s life ended that day.

I sat in that room by myself for three hours before the last eventually came. PP was being stabilized in the back. She was in pain. She was suffering. “I’m so sorry, Ally. Is anyone with you? I wish I could be with you.” My friend FaceTimed me from across the country. “Is anyone coming?” No. All I could say was that no one could make this easier. I decided to keep what was happening to myself … to be present in all of it.

After weighing options, I chose to euthanize PP that evening. She was brought to me right after I signed the consent forms. “Take as much time as you need. She is heavily medicated, but she is still here. ” She sat on the exam table & finished off a bag of treats out the palm of my hand. She had an IV in her arm. With tears in my eyes I told her that she was such a good cat — one of the best. I thanked her for being in my life. I told her I was sorry that this is how it ended. I promised her that I would never forget her.

The vet came back & asked if I was ready. I said, “No, but yes.” “Do you want to hold her?” I wrapped my arms around her. “It’s going to be very fast. I have four medications. The last two will stop her heart, okay?” She laid in my arms as she had almost every day since the day I picked her up from the shelter. I told her she was so loved & held onto her as she took her final breath. The vet listened for a heartbeat & nodded her head at me confirming what we already knew. She was gone. She died in my arms.

That Sunday was a blur. It happened so fast. She was fine until she wasn’t. She was here until she wasn’t. I rushed her to the vet. No one was with me. Just a girl & her cat. I left my apartment with her & returned without her. She wasn’t supposed to become all that she was to me. She was to be a temporary foster & nothing more. “I can’t get attached.” I repeated that to myself over & over again. But I did. Temporary turned into permanent. A few weeks turned into a version of forever. A version that lasted two whole years. She got her own food bowls & a bed. And two years later, it was me who had the privilege of holding her as she exhaled her last breath.

When I say PP was such a good cat, I mean it. She was one of the best. An angel. A light. A gift. She came to me with a broken tail, only three working legs, and a matted fur coat. She couldn’t groom herself & required a weekly bath. She had the meow of a smoker with emphysema. She loved nothing more than eating — a literal garbage disposal. Food was her love language, & she wasn’t shy to tell you she wanted to eat. She wasn’t active because of her legs & spent most of her time in a pink dog bed unless you were in the kitchen. A few weeks ago I found a spaghetti noodle stuck to her fur. I asked if she was saving it for a midnight snack. Cream cheese was her all time favorite though. That and honey greek yogurt. She dragged her dead leg, so you could always hear her scooting towards you. Her vets believed the injury happened years ago & decided against amputation after ensuring she wasn’t suffering. She greeted me in the bathroom every morning & rubbed her face on my legs while I peed. It was our routine. If she wasn’t eating, she was sleeping. Some nights I could hear her snoring from the living room. She ignored my other cats & despite her fragility, she would walk right by them without any fear. It was PP’s world & they just lived in it. We will never know her age, but she was old. She had an entire life before me — probably a few lives. She came with an expected expiration date … maybe a year. But she was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

It’s never been easy for me to give love. I love. I love so much. I feel it, but I hide it away. If I don’t give love — if I hide it away — then there’s a reason why I can’t be loved back, & that reason is easier for me to swallow than the rejection of not being loved back by someone I love. If I don’t love, then I can’t be rejected as much. It’s not logical, but it’s a real struggle of mine. But I couldn’t help myself when it came to PP though. She was so easy to love. She was such a light & I couldn’t stay away. She pulled me right in. It was over before it began … I loved her & that was that.

It’s only been two weeks. I’m consumed with grief & heartache. I feel fragile. My chest still burns. There is physical pain. But I know with every piece of my being, it aches as much as it does because I loved her so much. I still love her so much. I will always love her. I feel this way — so heartbroken — because I want her to be here with me but she’s not. I feel this way because having her made my life that much brighter & I am devastated that my time with her is over. Loving PP has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. She came into my life so unexpectedly. And you could see that life had been rough for her … you could sense it, but there she was … still so sweet & trusting & graceful & forgiving. She was perfect.

I hate this. I hate the heartache. I hate the pain. I hate feeling fragile. I hate her absence. But I would do all of this again without spending a second of time on hesitation. My heart is bigger because of her. That outweighs the pain. To think I feared attachment so much that I almost didn’t let myself love her. To think I almost missed out on her because I didn’t want to feel this pain.

My heart is so much bigger because of PP. More so than anything before, she proved that love can be a choice — a brave, worthwhile choice. A choice that can change your life if you let it. It can be the best thing to happen to you. Thank you for changing my life, P. Loving you is one of the best things I’ve ever done.