I wrote this yesterday:
I have to write a post today, although I haven’t bothered for months, because I need to get something out, a cathartic process I suppose.
Because today I had to have my pet cat, Kracker (Jacob’s Cream Krackers in full) put to sleep. Here is a little video taken a few days before. (link works now) http://twitpic.com/czbhft”
He was aged 15 years, 1 month and 1 day, and had an aggressive throat cancer than closed his throat until he could barely get liquid down to his stomach.
If he had not had this, he would have lived another decade, I know it – as his liver, teeth, kidneys and heart were, the vet had said, all of a cat half his age.
It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but it was having him put to sleep or watching him starve to death, and he had already lost his little chubby belly ‘swing’. When I went to reach for it to grab/tickle his belly, I found just hard smoothness and knew it was the right time to say goodbye, that he would be suffering if I left it any longer. For 4 weeks I’d been pureeing cat food and feeding it to him off of my finger, driving to my parents house so he could still use the garden there. It was the only way he could eat without it getting stuck as he always ate too fast by himself and it couldn’t get down, coming up with a sad little gag and squeak thing he did, I’d always knew it was coming because he would lick his lips a lot like cats do when they’re nauseous, and grind his poor little teeth.
It was as peaceful as it could’ve been, even the vet cried a little, and with the first injection he fell asleep in my arms, his poor little body going limp against my chest.
I hope he could still hear me, as I did the little chirrups we always did to each other when having 2a.m cuddle (he would always wake me up with the chirrupy meow because he knew this would mean sure head scratches and stroking) so I hope he could hear.
But mostly I just stroked him. I couldn’t stop stroking him, even after he’d had the last injection and I saw him go. I had one last sniff of his belly and neck, because ever since he was a kitten he’s always smelled of digestive biscuits, and one last kiss on his forehead before they wrapped him in the dressing gown he always loved sleeping on (it was my favourite as it was so soft, but it became his as he loved it so much and slept on it so often) and took him away for cremation.
When I’m not crying I want to. There is already a hole and I dread to think how long I will look out for him when I drive in the driveway, think of buying him treats when I’m in the supermarket, how long it will be before I stop finding his hairs on my clothes (his dad was a persian, his mum a feral farm cat, so he was the cutest of moggies with hugely thick fur!).
Some people will not understand, say he was just a pet, one person even asked me “You’ll get another one though won’t you?”.
There is no ‘other one’. I don’t miss ‘a cat’, I miss Kracker. all his little quirks. Like how he would only jump on the bed after I switched the light off, how he was the only cat I’ve ever known who preferred to have his fur stroked backwards, how he would sneak in my bedroom window from the low roof, or meow at it at 3 in the morning to let him in if I’d left it shut. The way he modified his meows to squeakier high pitched ones when he wanted something because we cooed over him so much the first time he did it. The fact he loved cheese above all else and his left cheek and lip would always go a little puffy after he ate it. When I bent down and asked “can I have kiss” – he would always jump up on his back legs and rub his face on mine.
He had some scrapes in his life too. We left him collarless and microchipped him after he came home sans collar one day, and I found it hanging off of the branch of a tree. He got bitten and it because infected so he had to have a plastic ‘collar’ – and was so dejected he came in to where dad and I were playing monopoly, swept all the houses off with his tail and did the tiniest little meow, before permitting me to have him on my lap, which he only ever did when he was poorly, and also in this last year or two.
When a person dies, other people understand, it’s another human, it’s family or a friend you spoke to. But with pets it’s almost as if it’s something odd or strange, despite the fact that you spend more time with your pet than you do most people. Kracker was there throughout my childhood to my mid 20’s, a constant source of cuddles, purrs and a friend who was wholly accepting when everything else was going wrong. I was there from his birth, first holding him when he was 3 days old, and he grew up to be the most gorgeous human-colour cat, with green eyes that sometimes went turquoise, and reflected one green one red in photos.
What was most difficult was making a decision for him. I would have given anything for him to talk just for 30 seconds so I could ask him if he was in pain, if he’d rather starve than be put to sleep, but I know which one I would rather for myself, and had to make that decision for him.
But I know that know he is at peace, that he had a perfect life for a cat, acres of fields to hunt in, no busy roads, constant food, someone always there to stroke or play with. Even his cattery was only a 1 minute drive away, and he used to visit there sometimes on his longer adventures! I believe in reincarnation as well, so I can only assume he will of course come back as something awesome, although I can’t imagine him being something any more amazing than he was.
I will cry again, although it doesn’t seem possible I am still crying now. I cannot imagine what it’s going to be like knowing I won’t see him again, won’t call for him again, won’t see him in the garden rolling in the grass in the sun. He was loved by us all, but he was my baby,and no one could ever replace him.