Long or Short, Goodbyes Suck. Always.
I hate that I’m doing this again. I really, really hate it.
Had to get that off my chest. Now, for your context: This is yet another post where I have to tell you about how one of my cats is dying, and it’s going to be long and gruesome. Again.
A whole host of you, bless you all, are going oh no, because you remember the last hellacious Cat Death Cycle of 2011-2, where we put down one cat for vaccine-site sarcoma, one for multiple myoloma (I’m spelling shit wrong, typing without glasses because onions in the room, font blown up to ten thousand, apologies in advance) a few months later, and then out of nowhere another for lung cancer just a few months after that. This isn’t new, this game of Cullinan cat death. I just, you know, thought I’d get more than two years off.
This time it’s Sidney. This special little fella.
He’s our polydactyl cat, who can open cupboards with a single thumb. He terrorized Blair, the first cat to succumb to the last round of die-off, and then was terrorized by the new black kitten, Daisy, as karmic payback. He’s our “BDSM kitty” who loves to be spanked. He loves my lap and a good heat vent.
He has hypo(er?)thyroid, a heart murmur, and kidney failure.
If he had just ONE of those, or just the thyroid/heart or the kidney, we could do it. We could give fluids and meds for the kidney or do this radio blasting thing for the thyroid. The radiation is expensive, and while we thought it was just that I had this whole scheme cooked up where I’d write a gay romance cat novella, give it away, and collect donations, and whatever was bonus I’d give to local shelters or some fantastic cat thing. I was all ready to go. I’d be ready for ANY of it, because I’m all about never say die, let’s do this.
But the thyroid treatments/meds can’t be done with kidney failure, so that will get worse, and the kidney thing is manageable but not when you have the heart murmur ready to kick out a clot which will kill him quickly and painfully. We’re going to do treatment, but we’re looking at anywhere from tomorrow he’s gone until a year or so. It’s just a matter of when and what gets him.
So he’s hungry–starving, and he can’t get enough to eat because of the thyroid, and I can’t fix it. His kidneys are failing, and we can help that, but not stop it. We can make him comfortable, pull some tricks. But basically once again we’re looking at a long goodbye. Or maybe a short one. It’s the roulette wheel of death for us here. Just a matter of when we hit black.
That’s it, really. I’m shamelessly using my blog to say this sucks and I’m sad. I bought a bunch of comfort food from the grocery store and all I want to do is drink the cider I bought. And I’m in here being sad because it’s an easy way to tell a whole bunch of people at once and to cry in my office instead of in front of my kid. Who has gotten really good at saying goodbye to cats too, much better than she should.
I’m going to say this one part out loud because it’s dumb but part of me will still believe it anyway. I have this superstition that my cats keep dying on me because they’re leeching off my weird health nonsense in some mystical-Bast energetic way, and that’s why they get sick and die. I have nothing to back this up except an overactive imagination and the fact that they always hang out on me or near me. So I feel like it’s my fault, which is even more dumb, but there it is. Nope, saying it out loud doesn’t make me believe it any less. I totally believe they would pull that shit.
Worst, though, worse even than that is that Sidney in my secret heart has always been my replacement Gulliver. My first cat, my pal through post-college nightmare, my first apartment, through dating Dan–to Gulliver’s death he was annoyed with Dan and kept waiting for him to leave–Gulliver died unexpected at seven of the same death Sidney’s likely to have, a throboembelism. (Can’t spell that either, still no glasses, not trying.) He looks just like him, and he kind of…well, feels like him. Different but similar. I always felt like Gulliver came back to me in Sidney. And wouldn’t the irony have it, but Sidney is either seven or eight, depending on how old he was when he came to us.
So now I get to feed him whenever he wants to be fed, but it won’t be enough. I get to hold him and turn up the heat too high so he has all the heat vent he wants, but it won’t be enough. We get to give him fluids and phosphorous binders and drugs, but we’re buying time. When we leave town, he’ll have to be boarded, and every time we leave the house, we might come home to him dying of a thrown clot.
I hate it. I hate that I was all ready to do whatever it takes to save him, and I can’t. I hate that I have to watch him be hungry and sick. That I have to do this again. That it’s this cat, this way. I hate all of it. I can’t even be elegant. So I’m going to sit here and cry a minute, and then go put on a good show for my kid, until I get to go to bed and he’ll curl up beside me, and I can sob until my nose and eyes swell shut, and then just get ready to do this again. A-fucking-gain.
Except I’ll just get another cat, again and again, until one (or four) of them outlive me. Because I’m married with kid, but I’m still a crazy cat lady.
And now I’ve made you all sad too. I’m sorry.
Really fucking sorry.