I know this has been coming, but I haven’t wanted to admit it. I have three cats who have stayed with my parents since I moved to NYC - Isabelle (Izzy) who is fifteen, nearly sixteen; Hurricane, who’s my brother’s cat technically, but he no longer lives here - he’s thirteen; and Rugby, the ‘baby’ at ten who’s your basic tomcat-wandering-the-neighborhood. In addition, when I moved back in five months ago, I brought along Oscar and Emmy, my Brooklyn cats.
Isabelle is my old girl - I got her when I was twelve and she’s definitely my cat - she loves me. She sees me come home from work and immediately comes to me, wanting to be pet, if we’re both inside, she wants to sit on my lap, and she’s been my girl forever. She has always been overweight and recently tipped the scales at 20 lbs (she’s actually lost weight in the past two years - she used to weigh in at 26). We tried putting her on diets nearly all of her life and nothing seemed to work. But she’s been a happy, healthy cat aside from the obesity until a couple of years ago when she developed arthritis. It’s gotten progressively worse over the past two years and now it’s to the point where it hurts her simply to walk.
Hurricane is our ‘drive-thru’ cat. My mom saw him under the drive-thru sign at McDonalds with his brother one afternoon, and called me to go pick them up. We did, brought him home (his brother went to neighbors) and he quickly became a part of the family. Sadly, several years later, he was lost for a week during the hottest part of a summer - temps reached over 100 degrees the entire week - and he developed brain damage. He did return home, but has been skittish and scared of shadows since then. He knows that he lives here and he knows that we feed him, but he’s still afraid of us and rarely lets us pet him. I noticed a few weeks ago that he’s been losing weight and today when I got home from work, it was extremely noticeable - he refuses to eat more than a bite or two a day, and he just looks gaunt and sick - he’s not even acting normal for him. My parents have said that they’ve noticed him several times acting like he’s in pain. I have a sixth sense about my cats - I knew when one of my cats had stomach cancer when I was 12, and I get that same feeling with Hurricane. There’s something wrong beyond aging. Apparently, I’m not alone in that.
I mentioned both of them to my mother and said maybe we should make an appointment with the vet. My mother said she didn’t want to take them to the vet because they’d both been through enough, and when I said that maybe it’s time to think about letting them both go, we both started crying. She and my dad have thought the same thing, but none of us have wanted to say the words before. And the subject has come up before, but none of us have wanted to admit that it might be time. And I’ve always said that Izzy would let me know when it’s time - I think she’s telling me that it’s time. I don’t want her to hurt anymore. I know her life is that of constant pain, and we’ve tried everything at this point. Last time we took her to the vet, he said he wasn’t willing to do anything else to her and if she got worse, it was time to think about our options. And with Hurricane - I just want him to be at peace for once.
I know the vet will say that it’s our decision ultimately. I’m calling him tomorrow to take both cats into see him as soon as possible. This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know it will be the best decision that I can make for them. They count on me to keep them safe and healthy and out of pain and it’s not fair to let them continue to be in pain. They have been loved and well-cared for their entire lives and this is just one more thing I can do for them to show them that I love them.
It would really help to hear from others who have had to make this decision. I need to know that I’m doing the right thing. If this post sounds very matter-of-fact, it’s because I’m at my computer trying not to sob and being matter-of-fact about this is the only way I can think of not to do this.