Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saying goodbye to a faithful friend

Kitty and I met 16 years ago, in the fall of 1992, at a pet shop in Latham Circle Mall. I was a single man back then. I saw her in the pet store window and adopted her, took her home to my bachelor pad, and we became like family. It was just a few months before I met my wife. When Brenda and I were married, Kitty continued to be a part of our family, along with a stray cat we named Snuggles, because of his affectionate nature. When our two boys came along, Kitty and Snuggles were there. As The boys learned to walk and grab their tails and rough house with them, they just took it in stride. When they would pick Kitty up and carry her around the room, hanging onto her neck as her feet dragged on the floor, she did not once hiss or bite or scratch, she just went along for the ride. The boys became quite fond of our two cats.

Just as this past holiday season kicked off, my wife and I noticed that Kitty didn't look right. she was dehydrated and her stomach seemed to be bloated, yet she was still eating and moving around pretty good, so we decided to wait and see how she does through holidays before taking her to the vet clinic. As Christmas came and went, she seemed to be getting progressively worse. She stopped using the litter box and would no longer eat hard food, and barely any soft food, and she continued to look thinner and more frail. As New Year's day came and went, we noticed that she would lie in one spot for hours and hours without moving. Finally, just this morning, her breathing became heavy and labored, as she would take large gasps of air and struggle to breathe. When my son Daniel came home from school, he looked at her and thought she was dead. She was not moving at all, and she was barely breathing. So, I finally gave in and admitted to myself what I really didn't want to admit; that it's her time to go and to carry this out any longer would be cruel to her. So Dan and I loaded her into the pet carrier and took her to the vet clinic. The veterinarian examined her and told us straight up, "There's nothing we can do that would improve her quality of life, she's lived a good life of 16 years, it's time to do the humane thing and not let her suffer anymore." So we allowed him to euthinize her, as we stood by her side. I tried to be strong and not break down myself, as my son melted in my arms.The doctor left us so that we could say our goodbyes. Dan and I stood there and cried for a good five to ten minutes, and then we left. This was Daniel and Jacob's first experience with losing a pet.

It was a silent ride home from the vet clinic. Dan clung to the pet carrier all the way home, as if Kitty was still inside. When we arrived home and went inside, Mom and younger brother Jacob, along with their school friend Robert, greeted us at the door. And we all embraced and had a family moment. Jacob was sad to see that we didn't have Kitty with us and went to inform our other cat that Kitty was gone. Robert and mom sat with Dan and consoled him for awhile. And I really needed to have a few moments alone. I guess after 16 years together, Kitty had formed a bond with me and my family. She was family. My sons loved her and so did my wife and I. She was my "pretty girl" and she loved to snuggle and was very affectionate. I am sad to see her go. We will all miss her.

Good bye Kitty. We know you're not suffering anymore. May you rest in peace!