Call me lucky or call me callous or call me crazy for that, I'm not sure which.
I'm usually pretty good with death. I have an attitude that we go when and where and how according to some giant universe clock and no matter how horrible it is, it's all okay and we are all okay after we die. We don't get punished or rewarded. We just return to the state of being from whence we came. Our spirit/soul/love/energy goes right back out in the vast expanse of everythingness/nothingness, right where we belong. We may end up together or alone or maybe something in between, I'm not sure, but I believe it's all okay.
I was not pretty good with this death. Am not pretty good with it.
Then again, I've never had to wrap someone in an old baby blanket and take them into a strange room to die at the hands of a strange man.
I looked for someone who could make a housecall, but that's not really possible. Something about the transport of the drugs used to put animals down.
Tyler started losing control of her body in the middle of the night on Sunday. On my bed. I wasn't mad. She was embarrassed. Embarrassed animals is Nature's way of protecting her own. If you've ever had a pet, you probably know what I mean. Embarrassed animals are adorable and pathetic and heart breaking.
Monday morning I couldn't find her, I assumed she crawled off somewhere to die. Turns out she had gone downstairs to sleep near Jake. Who she loved to hate. I'm surprised she didn't fall down the stairs.
She wasn't moving well by morning, and when she tried she fell down or howled. She hadn't eaten much of anything in a few weeks, and stopped drinking a few days prior. Stopped just about everything. She was ready.
I made the call to the vet around 8.30, the appointment was set for 1.30.
I left work around 9.30, I thought I could handle it for an hour or so- just to make sure there were no emergencies (there's never emergencies. I needed a little bit of time away), and came home to spend her last hours with her. She let me hold her in all her favorite ways to be held and I told her how much I was thankful for her life and our time together. We napped. I cried. She purred. It's about all she was strong enough to do. I gave her Reiki, all the way up to the end. She purred louder, tried to lick my hands, tried to roll on her back, tried to be normal.
I tried not to look at the clock. I watched the latest SNL and the first two new Ab Fabs on On Demand. Just for the noise.
I guess this has been about two years in coming. I blogged in February of 2010 that she wasn't feeling well. That sounds about right. She has sort of cycled through the same symptoms every 6 months or so since about then. A little worse each time around. Someone once told me that an animal in poor health is a downhill battle, and a pet owner needs to make the decision how far down that hill they want to let their pet go. I guessed it was kidney failure from the beginning. It's pretty typical in older cats. The vet said her kidney function was down to about 10% on Monday. I let her go pretty far down that hill. But she was happy up to the last day or two.
We aren't really "doctor people". We don't "do" medication unless it's absolutely necessary. Same goes for Tyler. Yes, I know it's a treatable condition. Yes, I know I could have added years to her life. But quality of life is more important than longevity of life and she is not the sort of cat who would have dealt well with treatment. She isn't really a "doctor cat". She doesn't "do" medication. Or the car. Or cat carriers. Or special diets. Or strangers. Or or or. She would have lived longer, but it's not the kind of life I think she would have wanted.
Also, she was nearly 15 years old. She had a long go at it.
I've never taken an animal in to be euthanized before. We sat in a private room forever. Eight hundred and ninety three people came in and told us what to expect but no one actually did anything for about an hour. Poor Tyler's last hour was spent in an exam room. I thought it would be over faster than that. She didn't have much energy to fight, but she tried. She gave up after about fifteen minutes, and Dave and I passed her between the two of us. Kissing her and talking to her and talking about her. There was paperwork and payments to be gathered. Something like $160 to have it all done. $60 for the exam which was talking about options and poking her and telling us that it isn't unreasonable to put her down. $50 for the euthanization. $50 for the cremation. I chose not to get the ashes back, so she gets cremated with some other animals. She would have hated that, but it is what it is. It's about $100 more to have a private cremation.
The nurse took her back to another room for the little catheter in her arm where the shot would go. I'm guessing that can be pretty messy and that's why they don't do it in front of us. Any spark left in Tyler was out when she came back, and she melted into my arms. A minute later the doctor put a shot of pink stuff in the tube and seconds after that she was gone. That fast. Her eyes didn't close and she didn't make any noise and nothing changed and everything changed and when I moved the tiniest bit to kiss her, her head flopped to the side and I caught it in the crook of my arm and told the doctor he could take her away.
For the first time in my life, I don't have a pet. I don't have one in my house and I don't have one left over from childhood at my mom's house anymore. That's a really bad feeling. A sad feeling. A lonely feeling.
I feel very lonely.
Tyler never left my side. If I was home, she was right there. As close to my head as possible. Sometimes it was annoying. Most of the times it was nice. Tyler was very chatty. And she liked to pet me just as much as I liked to pet her. It's nice to be pet by a cat. She never put her claws out and would push the hair out of my face and touch my cheeks. She licked my nose whenever I'd let her close enough. She liked to play with balled up paper. If you opened a yogurt, she would run to you in three seconds flat. And applesauce. And tuna, but she wouldn't really eat it. Tyler liked winter best because she likes to be under the covers with someone. We are "blanket people". She doesn't deal with heat very well. Didn't deal. She was missing one of her top fangs because she got into a fight with a dog we used to have. Marley. He was an Akita/Shepherd mix and wouldn't let anyone within five feet of me and one time he bit my friends face really bad so we had to get rid of him. We should have never had him in the first place. I liked to kiss her on that squishy fangless spot on the side of her mouth.
Tyler was my cat. She didn't love anyone like she loved me. She only tolerated a few people. Usually when I wasn't around. I have a couple friends she'd sit on, and it would blow my mind every time. I could have you over to my house and you'd never even know I had a cat, unless your allergies flared up. I'm allergic to cats, but not my cats. I hear you build immunity or something. Or maybe just tolerate and ignore it out of love and let it mix with all your other allergies and you forget about it.
Before Tyler, I've never had a pet that was all mine. All the other pets were our pet. The pet. A pet.
There is a really big difference between my pet and a pet.
I'm ready for a new pet. Kittens in the spring. Hopefully they will be Jake's pets, because it's going to be a long time before I'm ready for a pet that's mine.
Tyler looking surly for the camera, as always. Tyler wasn't really a "camera cat".