Our cat Chloe has, like that parrot in the fabled Monty Python sketch, “ceased to be.” With a bit of an assist from her loving owners…
As you may recall from this post, our cat Chloe had been experiencing… intestinal issues. We tried a conservative approach to treatment, first with antibiotics and then, when those had no discernible effect, a course of steroids. The steroids didn’t help with the diarrhea either, but Chloe’s slugging percentage rose nearly 100 points in a week.
The other morning I came downstairs and showered and after I completed my toilette I exited the bathroom and noticed a… distinct odor. I was fairly certain I wasn’t the source since I’d just scrubbed up, so I strode over to the cat boxes to inspect. I found, outside of the receptacles, several pools of… Nah, I’m not even going to try to describe it, delicately or otherwise. It was clear that: A) the medication wasn’t helping and B) it was only a matter of time before the cat bypassed the designated area altogether and decided to go wherever she wanted in the house, much like my great-aunt sometimes did.
Carol came downstairs as I was finishing clean-up. I apprised her of the situation and it didn’t take us long to agree that Chloe’s time was coming to an end. We called the vet to review and she was very understanding, offering only a mild suggestion that we perhaps would consider another round of antibiotics (to which we said “Nuh-uh”), and recognizing that the next most likely causes were really serious stuff like lymphoma or a cat with a “Jewish stomach” (as some of you may know: a miserable, incurable condition). We felt since Chloe was a cat who shied from human contact that our ability to administer any medications or manage her care would be almost impossible. Under those conditions, we felt making a quick move to prevent Chloe’s further suffering was the best course of action. The vet agreed and then transferred us to the front desk to set up Chloe’s “end of life” appointment for later that morning; “end of life” being a euphemism for “costly veterinary visit”.
We managed to get Chloe into her carrier without too much difficulty. She wasn’t happy about being confined and fortunately the vet’s office was a short drive away. As soon as we walked in a staff member named Renee came out, knowing why we were there, and ushered us into an examination room so we could review the protocol.
Renee asked us to sign a form that Chloe hadn’t bitten anyone in the past fifteen days. I discounted any injuries obtained from putting her in the carrier twice in the last two weeks and signed the form — if she was rabid, she took that secret to her grave. Now the hard decision came — credit or debit? Well, before that we needed to indicate whether we wanted to be present when the vet administered the lethal injection. I asked, “Do you mean present like in the room, or in the general vicinity?” She confirmed she meant the room, and after a bit of tearful consideration we decided not to observe. This cat derived no comfort from our proximity in all her years living under our roof, so why should we be visible in her final moments to further agitate her? We then had to decide among three options:
- Bring her home intact to bury her.
- Have her cremated and have the cremains returned to us.
- Have her cremated with nothing given back.