“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France – French poet, journalist, and novelist
Yesterday had to have been one of the hardest, saddest and longest days for our family of four.
As I had previously shared my sweet Luna has been in declining health as a result of her Polycystic Kidney Disease. In July she spent four nights in the animal hospital at Virginia Beach. Since then she has been back and forth to the vet at least every two weeks for some new behavior, loss of appetite and so on.
Alex and I have spent countless hours reading about her disease and what we as pet parents should be doing to tend to her needs. On almost a daily basis we questioned how was her quality of life? Was she engaged? Was she happy? Was she suffering or in pain? One thing we both learned that if a cat acts sick then they are really sick, because they have a high threshold for pain and don’t show their discomfort too much. With this knowledge I tried to be super keen on what and how much she was eating a drinking, how much she socialized with us, how her tone changed in her vocalizations and on and on. It equals taking care of a small child that can’t speak yet.
In the course of the last six weeks Luna’s health and social behaviors have all shown a rapid decline. I was forcing medication for high blood pressure (that made her loopy), antibiotics for a raging kidney infection, and meds to to stimulate hunger as she was losing weight rapidly. We were having to place pee pads in the litter box versus cat litter as she had developed PICA and was ingesting cat litter. Additionally, she was seeking solace in the litter box. Regardless of how diligent we were about keeping her from laying in the box we were still having to wipe her down with baby wipes and relocate her numerous times throughout the day.
Saturday evening, August 27th, Alex and I were having one of our many discussions about Luna and what course of action we should take. We were struggling with the whole “God question”. Who were we to determine if a life should be over? Is it time? Are we forcing it because timing wise it is more convenient for us here in Annapolis versus potentially being out at sea? In my heart of hearts I knew it was her time and that she was no longer having much life quality. I told Alex my feelings and said that I would make the call the following morning, he agreed.
The Vet opened at 9am. I called at 9:15am. My assumption was that they would share in my sadness and advise to come right away. WRONG! They did share my sadness and advised that the earliest they could see us was 4:15pm later in the afternoon. We had seven hours to cry with her and hold her. Seven hours to question ourselves… are we doing the right thing? Her mind was still clear… I just keep thinking over and over give me a sign God, give a sign. And he did. Her bodily functions started failing her just after 12noon. Again, more tears, more heartbreak. This was really her last day with us.
So, what would you do if you on had a few hours left on earth? Whatever are your favorite things. We took her outside. We let her lie on the deck and roam the dock. She would only go a few steps before lying down to soak up the sun. She was snuggled, kissed, hugged and petted and most of all told how much we loved her.
I let her walk in the grass before we loaded her up in the car. In years past Luna would sit in the grass and chew on the stems for hours. This time she just looked up at me as if to say.. “It’s ok mom. Time to go.”
The staff at the vet’s office was professional and respectful. The doctor would tell us exactly what he was going to do and what we should expect. She passed peacefully with Alex and I holding her and talking to her.
This beautiful soul walked into our lives unexpectedly, then took a hug piece of my heart with her when she left. I miss her already.