this post was a hard one to write. but i had to explain it to a friend and writing it seemed easier than saying it out loud. this post is a branch off of that written conversation…
last week, my cat Luca started acting strangely and his breathing was weird and a little labored. he stopped eating and drinking.
even within the past few weeks, i knew he was off, and i pushed it out of my mind. i convinced myself that maybe he had anxiety from the move or that he had some kind of infection.
so i took him to the vet on friday. he seemed okay except for the breathing thing, and he didn’t show any signs of pain. they gave me some antibiotics and told me to come back first thing the next day if he wasn’t better.
he was actually worse and i had a bad feeling about it so we went again on saturday morning. they did X-rays and we found that he was very sick on the inside but not on the outside. he was his normal personable self and purring the whole time, which is why i think it was so hard to hear and see what was wrong with him.
he had heart disease, fluid around his heart affecting his breathing, abnormal kidneys working overtime, and a huge mass in his abdomen, which was crushing his intestines and affecting his digestion (for years probably). basically, the vet said he just had bad genetics and it just caught up to him. she didn’t understand how he acted like he felt fine when he was so broken inside. finally, she said he should be put down because his heart was failing. he only had a couple of hours or days, and it would be a painful and drawn out death. letting him go would be the humane thing to do.
it broke my heart right then and there and i fell to my knees, but i agreed with her that it was the best decision for him. they were so sweet to me and let me stay in the room with him for a couple of hours before we had to do it. i got on the phone with my mom and sister for support and reassurance. then my cousin Lauren came and was in and out of the room giving me time alone with him, taking pictures, and helping me through it with humor and hugs.
it was by far the hardest thing i’ve ever done, but it was comforting to see him go peacefully right away and without pain. i got him cremated so i hope to plant a bush or tree with him and for him in the near future. i’m also thinking about some kind of memorial tattoo.
sometimes i forget that he’s gone. and then something triggers me to remember and a fresh wave of pain flows over me. my heart still physically hurts from time to time. occasionally, it’s overwhelming, but each day is a little easier. maybe in a couple of weeks i’ll be up for looking for a kitten. i don’t want my remaining cat Liberty to be alone for long, and frankly i don’t want to be alone either. i think a kitten would cheer us both up. just not yet.
i know some people would say “it’s just a cat”. but he was more than that. he was my comfort, my entertainment, and my steadfast friend. he made up a part of my family. he loved me and i loved him. it was as simple as that. there will never be another like him. i will forever grateful to and for him. right now, it feels like I have a big hole in my heart where he used to be. with time, that hole will get smaller, but it will never fully close up.