Long-time readers are familiar with my companion cat, Minky. After all, it is her regal portrait that appears as my icon. Three years ago she was diagnosed with asthma and a collapsed lung lobe. Three years of twice-daily prednisone and bronchodilators later her fur quality had become coarser, and Minky’s beautiful chocolate pointes had faded. Her devotion never flagged; each morning I read blogs with Minky in my lap. She wouldn’t miss it for the world.
December 22, 2010 she came and sat by my feet in the early evening. As I contemplated her, I realized she was once again in respiratory distress. Dear Dr. Jason, her veterinarian, had given me his cell phone number several hospitalizations ago. Cats, like human children, seem to have a pronounced tendency to get sick after office hours, you see. We went into our emergency drill, which included my injecting Minky with the syringe of medicine stored for such occasions, and met Dr. Jason at his office. She was an exemplary patient when she was really ill (don’t bring that stuff near her when she felt better!). The mood was calm and efficient as Dr. Jason gave her the usual medicines, and prepared the oxygen cage for her.
As I said, we’d done all this three times before. The next morning she would be weaned off oxygen and I could bring her home. This time, she was again in trouble without the oxygen, so back in the oxygen cage she went for another night away from home. Dr. Jason marveled that most cats struggle against the oxygen, but Minky just stretched out her neck to be nearer the flow. In fact, the usual behavior for a sick cat is to go off and hide under the bed, not present themself for treatment.
The second morning, December 24, it was clear that there had been no improvement. Even the oxygen wasn’t giving Minky comfort. She purred at my arrival, but couldn’t really hold her head up. I’ve always prayed for the wisdom to know when quality of life was no longer present, and that time had arrived. DH and I signed the euthanasia papers, consenting to the one gift we could give Minky.
Today, one week later, I have written of Minky’s passing both in tribute to a magnificent cat and to share our experience with you. It would have been easier to say something sanitized about “losing” my dear cat; yet I know many of you have fur children and may have to make such difficult decisions in the future.
Our priest, Fr. Chad, sites C. S. Lewis, who believed that God, who gave us the companionship and love of our fur children will surely have them waiting for us with Him in heaven. Rest in peace, dear friend.