Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ashes to ashes

Our cat Ashes died this week.  It was something that was on its way but despite knowing that I cried an awful lot over the past couple days.  I wasn't really sure how I would react to the inevitable as Ashes and I were never friends and most of the time when I referred to her I ranted about how much she drove me crazy.  Biting my toes or jumping on me at night, barfing on the floor every two days, shedding on everything, sitting on my hands while I attempted to type or play games, and desperately trying to rush under my feet and trip me were the joys in her life.

And yet her passing made me really sad.  There is something incredibly powerful about losing someone you spent a tremendous amount of time around and I have been around Ashes as much as I have been around any human - depending on how you define it she could easily be the single creature I have been physically closest to in my life.  So while I didn't like her exactly and I certainly kvetched about her at length she was still important.  She was a presence I grew to expect and whose charms I took for granted.

I think Wendy was a bit worried about our visit to the vet as I am frugal to a fault and not known for loving our cat.  Yet when the vet presented us with a diagnosis of kidney failure and a $1100 option to try to extend Ashes' life it wasn't the money that impacted my decision.  It was a simple evaluation of what was right.  Ashes was in enough pain that she was starving herself to death, dying slowly and suffering terribly.  Trying a series of medical interventions not to cure her, but merely to extend the time she would spend among us by a few weeks or months, would be cruelty.  Ashes had made her choice and it was up to us to honour that choice and let her end quickly and without pain.

Goodbye furball.  You weren't my buddy but you were my comrade, my companion, and part of my family.  I will miss you, which surprises me as much as anyone.