Monday, March 29, 2010

End of the Ninth Life

There are few aspects of parenthood worse than having to explain death.

One of my cats has not been herself lately, and over the weekend I had contacted a mom here in town who is also a veterinarian. We went to her clinic this afternoon hoping to get some answers. I have watched the decline in my cat's health over the past two weeks, and while I didn't expect the prognosis to be good it's hard not to hold onto a shred of hope.

Her lungs were filled with fluid, so much so that we couldn't even see her heart in the x-ray. Anything we could have done for her would have been stopgap. She might have lingered for weeks. She might have made it to the weekend. While I thought the news would be grim, I don't know that I had realized that this was it. I've had this cat ten years. I fought to adopt her when my husband-then-boyfriend traveled during the week, and I was alone in a country with no friends. We nursed her back to health from the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her previous owners, and we dragged her furry ass across two continents, an ocean, and three states.

To compound the news, it's spring break this week for our school system which meant I had to drag both kids with me. My five and three year old. What the fuck was I supposed to say to them? Bring the cat home and tell them they have until the weekend until mommy plays the harbinger of death and takes the cat away?

So, I lied.

I told them the doctor was going to keep her for a few days and give some medicine to make her feel better. That the doctor was going to call me or email me to let me know how she was doing but that she was very very sick. That she couldn't breathe very well and that there was a good chance she was going to join the other kitties living with God. So they kissed her head, told her they loved her, and got stickers in the waiting room while I stayed behind to talk about the medicine.

Being a parent sucks. And how to handle listening to tiny prayers hoping their kitty gets better is not in the manual.


Mirth said...

You did good. And I'm sorry.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Aw, honey. This must have been so, so hard. And the grace with which you managed to spare their feelings without the benefit of having time to catch your breath? The hallmark of great parenting. Just as was your love and devotion for your dear cat.

starrlife said...

Poor baby... and you too :(
It is a very hard thing all around. I'm so sorry for your loss- cats are amazing at hiding their illnesses aren't they? What a good mom!

Not Afraid To Use It said...

Thanks, guys. It's been worse on me than the kids. They are already scheming for a new kitten. Gotta love their resilience.

Kat said...

Ugh. I think you did good, too. Much easier to give them the info that she might go while she's still there... better than giving it to them all at once, I think. Sorry for your loss. My cat is a crotchety old bastard, but this made me think about the day that will come, and he's been a friend for nearly 12 years now. Anyway. Yay, new kittens!