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A loving death

Posted Jan 30 2014 4:12pm

This poor bedraggled cat appeared on my husband's back porch at least ten years ago. He had two different colored eyes and no tail. Greg left some food out for the cat, he's a big softie, and continued that habit for a few days.  One day when Greg was coming in through the sliding door, the cat snuck in behind him, but didn't quite make it. He had some type of wound on his head in front of his ear, and as Greg was closing the door, the cat's head got stuck which made the wound worse. Well, Mr. Softie couldn't just leave it, so he took it to the vet. Next thing he knew he was paying for not only fixing the wound, but all his shots and his neutering. The vet thought the cat was about 4 years old at the time.

Greg's parents were visiting from Florida at the time, and of course his mother just fell in love with the poor thing but was sure her husband wouldn't allow him to come home with them (they were due to drive back early the next morning). She was sure he was a purebred Manx, and figured he needed someone to teach him to get his contacts in right so his eyes wouldn't look different. That night Greg took a cat carrier and decorated it with little signs like "Florida or bust," added some food and toys and went to bed. The next morning the carrier was gone, and Smokey was on his way to Florida.

Smokey was absolutely the most loved and spoiled cat I had ever met. He had a heated bed (in Florida!), and could have anything he wanted to eat at any time of the day or night. He was just as devoted to his new people, and allowed Nancy (my mother-in-law) to cuddle him and hold him.

Almost two years ago, my father-in-law passed away with a horrible death. Nancy was bereft, but Smokey stayed by her side, slept with her, comforted her, and became her constant companion. She moved to Ohio with Smokey to be closer to Greg, and I witnessed first hand actually how spoiled this kitty was. At first, right after Bruce died, she stayed with us. I'm a light sleeper and I could hear her get up during the night. The next morning there would be 3 or 4 bowls of different food for Smokey to choose from, and she would tell me he'd wake her up several times during the night to tell her he's hungry, but didn't always like the first, second, or even third dish of food she offered.

About a year ago, Smokey's thyroid was found to be going bad, and the vet could never quite get the dosage right. Then about a month ago he just started losing weight. It was some kind of blood infection, and he was just too old and too sick to recover. The poor little guy turned into skin and bones, but Nancy just couldn't bear to give him up. I finally got her to see things from his point of view, and yesterday we took him to the vet for our final goodbyes.

When Paris died, I just left him there, I felt bad, but I was afraid that it would be horrific, and couldn't bear to go back and watch him die. But I was wrong. This brave 84-year-old woman refused to let go of her beloved companion, and I watched them give him a shot which caused him to fall asleep and die a painless death in her loving arms. It was very sad, we shed quite a few tears, but it was not as bad as I expected it to be. The vet left us with him for a few minutes, she told him how much she loved him, kissed him on the head, and we went home.

I did a lot of thinking about watching my mother and father-in-law go through such horrible painful deaths, and it just seems so logical to be able to hold your loved one in your arms and allow them to die a peaceful and loving death. I'll never understand why this is not legal, and I will always remember this "most loved, hugged, petted, wants-for-nothing" cat and his person who showed me what a loving death truly is.

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