Some of you know this already, but what I need to tell you today is that yesterday Francisco and I had to have Lucy euthanized. She had been showing her age in recent months and we thought it was just that she was 15 1/2. Everything had been normal at her last check-up (late summer last year), so we assumed she was just starting to get old. We didn't LIKE it, but she wasn't exhibiting any real symptoms other than some weight loss--she was still eating and running around and being a nudge. Unfortunately what it turned out to be is her kidney function was declining--it started at some point in the months since her check-up. On Monday she started throwing up, and she threw up over and over again all afternoon and all night. She apparently hadn't eaten much, so what she was bringing up was water. We had put out extra water for her and she was drinking it, but by morning, after all that vomiting, she was very dehydrated. Francisco took her to the vet and they rehydrated her a bit and took blood for tests, and after the tests revealed the kidney thing, they told Francisco and he came to my office to talk to me. The vomiting had started so suddenly because she was fighting an infection--her white blood cell count was up--and the infection affected the kidney function as well. The vet said they could give her an antibiotic for the infection and we could start injecting saline under her skin twice a week and change her diet, and we considered doing those things, but to be honest we did not consider it long. Lucy was not a pliant cat. She did not like being messed with. Even just clipping her claws necessitated wrapping her in a towel and keeping a good grip on her while she growled and fought to get away. When I pictured injecting saline under her skin, twice a week, every week? Well, to be honest I couldn't really picture it, because it would be such a horror show, for Lucy and any humans also involved. And when Francisco asked the vet how much that would help her, the vet really couldn't say. Lucy and her kidneys could've maybe be babied along for awhile, but what it would come down to is eventually she would be feeling horrible again. And how do you know for sure when to call it quits? We were concerned that, if we took Lucy home and started treating her, we might let her disease go longer than it should, because we wouldn't want to give up on her, and also she wouldn't be able to tell us she'd had enough. So we decided the best thing for her would be to let her go.
The vet's office let us be with her when they gave her the anesthesia overdose. They brought her into an exam room with us and gave us time to say goodbye. Then the vet and an assistant came in and gave her the injection, while Francisco and I petted her and told her what a good girl she was, and that we love her. She was on her side and I was holding her head in my hand when she died. We cried like babies. They put her into a box for us and we took her home. Francisco dug a hole to bury her in while I laid on the bed with Lucy in her box and cried. When the hole was dug we wrapped Lucy in a fleece jacket that was mine and laid her in there. We also put her catnip chick in with her; she loved that thing. Francisco shoveled the dirt back in and we put rocks on her grave, both to protect it and to mark it. I hate thinking of her in there. I hate that my cat is under the dirt, outside. I hate that I'm going to go home tonight and she won't be waiting for me in the window. I hate thinking of the times she wanted attention and I didn't give it to her because I was doing something else. I believe we did the right thing by putting her down, but I want my cat back. I've had several cuddles with Esther, last night and this morning, but I'm having to fake my enthusiasm for the cuddle. I LOVE Esther, but all I can think about is Lucy and how I wish I could have her back.
That might all seem melodramatic, but just so you know, I am really holding back. I am very very VERY sad. Francisco is also very sad, and he has cried a few times, but mostly he's putting on his Cop Face and powering through. I feel no obligation to power through. I have been doing some crying that would not be out of place at an Indian funeral, though I've been saving it for when Francisco is outside or otherwise out of earshot. No need to upset him more than he already is.
This was our girl. She was pretty and goofy and cranky and sweet and kind of a pain in the ass, but we loved her.
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