Thoughts regarding the passing away of our cat, Green Ice.
Ice passed away this morning. The past year has been an avalanche of ups and downs, treatments, short nights, frequent trips to the vet, tears, pains. The diagnosis of Feline Chronic Renal Failure about a year ago was the first sign that the end was near, that Ice’s remaining time with us was no longer a matter of years but of months. Many times during the past year we thought his time was up but he always rebounded. Not this time. I had established three criteria by which to decide when his time was up: he had to eat mostly by himself, to go to the litter box mostly by himself, and he had to have clear moments of contentment (mainly indicated by purring, nuzzling, etc.) If any of these three behavioral signs were no longer happening for a substantial period of time, it would mean the time had come for euthanasia.
Starting a few days ago, Ice was no longer eating, he had serious trouble going to the litter box and did no seem to enjoy is life all that much anymore. He seemed weaker than ever. So my wife decided his time had come and I agreed. At first, we were going to do the euthanasia yesterday but we could not have had the euthanasia at home on that day. We decided that he was well enough to wait until this morning, which allowed for the vet to come to our place and for Ice to go through this in a familiar environment, at home, instead of the strange environment of the clinic.
As I rushed home to be there on time for the procedure, I was thinking that I was coming home so that I could help Debbie and Ice go through the procedure, and because I just wanted to be present for myself because I love Ice. As I was cleaning up today, moving a litter box that only Ice used (we have another cat), dismantling an old kitty staircase that Ice used to get on our bed, and so on, I realized that the procedure is just half the battle. Cleaning up after death is also a major source of grief.
Ice was the most personable cat I have ever lived with. He was not so fond of strangers (although he mellowed in his old age and would let strangers hold him) but he loved my wife and loved me too. He was my wife’s cat before we got married so the bond with her was stronger than it was with me. He is the only cat I’ve known that would reply with meows when we talked to him.
In my adult life, this is the first death of a loved one I have to go through. My grandfathers died when I was in my teens and I had numerous distant relatives die before and after I became an adult. But since reaching adulthood, no one close to me other than Ice has died. This was also the first time I actually witnessed death as it occurs. Luckily, Ice went peacefully. I have no doubt we made the right choice. May he rest in peace.