Well, it’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting in front of my computer trying to come up with something meaningful to write. Unfortunately, my brain is locked down. There are lots of things I could talk about—politics, religion, animal rights, movies, friendships, working for a living—you name it and I have a strong opinion.
Right now, the two things foremost on my mind are all the issues associated with the re-launch of They Never Die Quietly, and my very sick cat, Alex. The reality of her chronic renal failure hit me last night for the first time. She was terribly restless all evening; hopping on my lap for a few reassuring strokes; onto her pillow bed for no more than a minute; a trip to the litter box; pacing here and pacing there.
Ben, my other cat, was sitting in a small box in front of the fireplace as content as could be, seemingly unaware of Alex or her impending departure from this world. I mean he’s a cat. How could he have a sense of Alex’s pitiful prognosis? Alex walked over toward Ben and flopped right beside him; her head nearly touching his. Ben started licking her head, kind of like a mother cat cleaning her kitten. Ben licked her for over five minutes, and while he did this, Alex kept changing her position so Ben could reach every inch of her head, neck and ears. Now I’ve seen this phenomenon before, but never had I seen Ben so determined or his attention span more than a minute or so.
But there was something going on between these two cats who have been like brother and sister for over 16 years. There was some esoteric communication between them. It was as if Ben was reassuring Alex, telling her that everything was going to be okay. It was a moment in my life that I’ll not soon forget. But Alex isn’t going to be okay. She’s going to likely die in the next six to nine months, and it’s going to absolutely crush my heart.
After an extensive conversation with our veterinarian, my wife and I already know that at some point in time when the current medication and other treatments lose the battle against her failing kidneys, and her quality of life deteriorates to the point that we know she’s more than just a little uncomfortable, we will have to do the right thing and make a very difficult decision.
I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s going to be like to hold Alex in my arms while the vet injects her with a medicine that will end her life. I wish I could talk kitty-talk and tell her how much we love her and how much we’ve enjoyed her companionship for over 16 years. She might not be able to express her gratitude, but I know in my heart when that fateful moment comes, she will know that what we do, we do through love.
There are many people who don’t believe in heaven and hell, nor do they believe that animals have a place in heaven. But I absolutely believe that when the day comes for me to ask for admittance through the “Pearly Gates”, Alex will be there, greeting me with a friendly meow and a familiar request to sit on my lap. And once again, I will be rewarded with the rhythm of her soothing purr.