I toasted and cheered when January came to an end. It was a terrible month for me (as I’ve been bitching about in blogs and on Facebook). But I wasn’t too cheery because this past weekend, I lost my cat Fatboy. He, as the expression goes, crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
It’s a devastating decision to make—to put a beloved pet who has been such a part of your life and a part of your family to sleep. They become our kids, and we love them just as fiercely as we do our own human children. The pain of losing them is intense and heart-wrenching.
I was beside myself on Sunday when it was time to do the deed, and the devastation was tempered only a little by my conviction that it was the right decision. The vet didn’t try to talk me out of it or even offer to try other things. As soon as she saw him, almost immediately she said, “You’re making the right decision.”
He had been sick for quite some time, suffering for years with intestinal disorders. But over the last few months, his health declined sharply, and he was ready. I’d been putting off the decision because we always question it, don’t we? Is it really time? Is there anything else that can be done? But I was starting to suspect that he was getting some dementia as well. He seemed to no longer know what he was doing. He was pooping wherever he happened to be, which was very unlike him. And when he pooped twice by the food bowls and then peed in his favorite little spot to sleep in, I knew it was time.
Now that a few days have passed since his death, I’ve had space to breathe. While I miss him terribly, the anticipation of his death was stressing me out, and that particular stress has been lifted. And I’m thinking that everything that’s been happening at work was made worse by that underlying emotional anxiety. It’s not like I was thinking about it all day long, but you can’t completely get away from an emotionally charged situation. I suppose it was a vicious circle, one situation feeding into the other. Now that I’ve had to make that difficult decision and carry it out, it’s over and I feel a little freer. I’m hoping that from this point forward, it will be a good year.
I miss my sweet little boy very much. He was always friendly toward people and loved other cats. Especially kittens. When stray cats came up to my front or back door (both clear-glass storm doors), Fatboy would flop over, wanting to play. One of my fondest memories of him, though, was with kittens. When we (me and my partner at the time) rescued a cat from a nearby alley, she turned out to be pregnant. She had 4 kittens—one died the next day, one we gave to a friend’s father, and we got stuck with the other 2. We had intended on keeping only one, but we just couldn’t find a home for the fourth. Anyway, when they were old enough to let around the other 2 adult cats that we already had, Fatboy decided that the kittens were his. He sat on them—protectively, not to hurt them—and simply claimed them. They were his babies.
The morning after, I couldn’t look at his breakfast area (I had been feeding him separately from the others because he got different food). It was the equivalent of an empty chair at the dinner table. I still cry, but it will get better, and knowing that he’s no longer suffering is helping that.
I hope that on the other side of the Bridge, he has found my other 2 cats that I lost and lots of kittens to love. And I’ll always have photos of him couch surfing.