Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adieu, Pookie

For my birthday in 1990, my then-husband surprised me with two kittens from the SPCA ("so you won't be so lonely!"), one coal black and the other a sandy tan. For two days, the kittens were friends; and then the black one, who we named Veronica, realized that she was actually a human trapped in a feline body, and shunned cat company forevermore. And so began Pookie's life at the bottom of my family totem pole, through no fault of her own. I confess that Veronica's moxie endeared her to me a little more than the Pook, who was dealing with her own issues--she obviously craved affection, but wouldn't sit on my lap for the first two years and let Veronica walk all over her. Maybe I recognized a similar passivity in myself, which I dislike.

She was a good apartment cat that decade in New York, and actually adjusted better than Veronica during the move back to California. When M and I bought our house, she had her very first yard, and finally seemed to be blossoming a bit, no longer in such close quarters with Veronica…which we crushed forever a few months later when we brought Rex home, sending her cowering into the back bedroom for a year. And then there were the two years with Tom Cat--definitely her darkest days. When Tom Cat passed, things got better--there was a tolerance between the creatures, territory was established and rarely breeched.

Then time passed as it does, and she started losing weight, her hind legs were obviously stiffening, she stopped cleaning herself…and finally last week I noticed she would only eat a bite or two of tuna, and wasn't drinking water. Her movements appeared even more painful. She didn't want to sit on my lap. I took her to the vet yesterday, thinking the worst. She was diagnosed with heart murmur and diabetes. So it was a choice of letting her go, or having her spend 3-5 days in the hospital to have her glucose levels determined, thyroid tested, and then, if all went well, coming home to injections twice daily, every day, for the rest of her life. Which could be months or years.

We buried her under the oak, not too close to Tom Cat's grave, wrapped in the kitty pi I had felted for her with the last of the year's pink roses.

She seemed to be fading from my life before my eyes, and I had been trying to prepare myself for the day of this decision. But I feel horrible and so sad. I know and have to live with the fact that I chose not to do everything I could to keep her alive, and frankly I'm having a difficult time with that knowledge right now. I underestimated how much I would miss her. I hate myself for letting considerations for my bank account and desire to keep stress to a minimum in my life were more important than she was. I know she would've hated those injections twice a day--they would only have confirmed her persecution complex. But I didn't want to have to face that decision again in six months or a year or two years. What I feel particularly keenly is that that though I believe I truly gave her a good life for eighteen years, I just didn't love her enough.

10 Comments:

At 7:26 PM, November 18, 2007, Blogger Mark said...

Sorry to hear about pookie. She lived a good life.
Love, Mark, Glori, Ryan & Zoe

 
At 8:21 PM, November 18, 2007, Blogger Rebecca said...

I'm so sorry to hear the news. I'm sure that Pookie had a much better life with you than she would have had with anyone else. Who else would have showed such understanding of her personality and her needs? It seems clear to me just from your reflections on her life and the difficulty of the decision (even if it's after the fact) that you did love her.

 
At 6:30 AM, November 19, 2007, Blogger bren said...

Yes, you did love her. She was a lucky kitty to have you.

 
At 10:21 AM, November 19, 2007, Blogger K2 said...

I'm sorry, too.

 
At 7:09 PM, November 19, 2007, Blogger Kamala! said...

I'm so sorry, Suz-it reminds me of having to put my cat, Millie, to sleep. I think you did the right thing.

 
At 8:34 PM, November 19, 2007, Blogger Warmbeachjo said...

Sorry about your cat. I know it's a difficult decision. I had to make it on my own when our old lab got very sick while Forrest was out of town. It's definitey not easy.

 
At 8:59 PM, November 19, 2007, Blogger Ginny said...

We will miss Pookie when we come to visit, but what an adventurous life she had! Without words, I truly believe that, in her own way, she was letting you know it was time to say "Farewell."

 
At 9:18 PM, November 20, 2007, Blogger Julia Dvorin said...

Awwww I am so sorry, and I know it feels awful now. You were a good kitty mama though, it's just hard when these things come to pass. :(

*hug*

Julia

 
At 5:40 AM, November 22, 2007, Blogger Nancy said...

I'm really sorry to hear about Pookie, and I'm sorry you had to make such a difficult decision. I've been through it, and I can relate to the feelings you expressed.

 
At 9:58 PM, December 04, 2007, Anonymous marsee said...

I'm so sorry about Pookie. I know it was a hard choice to make.

 

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