There have been several requests for Monkey’s story. Monkey, in case you haven’t read the previous post, was my third Persian – a little dark-faced tortie with copper colored eyes.
Her story begins with a cat show in my home town in 1996. Daisy and Josephine were about 3 1/2 years old and I had a 16 year old Siamese (non-pedigree rescue) cat named, Sophie. I knew that Sophie was days, if not hours, from death and I had chosen to keep her at home as she seemed comfortable and had an extreme fear of the veterinarian. SO a cat show was a welcome diversion to get me out of the house for a little while. Naturally I lingered in the Persian section. One breeder had an adorable little twelve week old kitten for sale and allowed me to hold her. But my grand plan was already in place. The Plan: Daisy and Josephine were brought in to be with me when Sophie passed away and there I would be, neatly back to my two cat limit. As a master planner of ‘grand plans’ I could not deviate, so I reluctantly handed the kitten back to the breeder and walked on. Unfortunately I left my heart behind. I attempted to ignore its absence, but the further I walked the more panicked I became that someone else would buy the kitten that I was NOT going to buy!
Well, we all know what happened. I held out for a good five minutes or so, then went back and got her. Sophie passed away that afternoon, soon after I returned with Monkey.
It took me about a week to name her. Back then I wasn’t nearly as quick with names as I am now. ‘Monkey’ continues to be one of my favorite names.
She was a delightful little kitty. The time she was with me seems so short. Just the blink of an eye, and she was eight years old already. Because she was a Persian I didn’t think too much of how sluggish she’d become. Friends who came over commented on it, and I just thought: “well, that’s Monkey.” One symptom I did notice was that she drank so much water that her ruff was soaked all of the time. I took her to the vet for that, but was sent home none the wiser. At a following check up, I mentioned that she laid around a lot and didn’t seem to be a very happy little cat. It was then that the vet did x-rays and she was diagnosed with HCM (heart disease). She had a significant amount of fluid in her chest cavity and was working very hard to breath. I treated her with medications for it for another two years. For a while she was a little more active and even started climbing the stairs again. That was another thing. You look back and ask yourself when did she stop climbing the stairs and getting on the bed like she used to? … and you can’t remember. During those two years, she had a couple of frightening episodes — and this is where it gets sticky. I feel this way about animals and in many cases about humans as well. You are terrified and feel that you must do something, but if you do — if you rush her to the vet for intervention — then she is IN the MILL. You are trapped. Do you do this for an animal who has a fatal condition? I don’t know, and I hate — I MEAN REALLY HATE — this part about being a pet caretaker. In October of 2005, she stopped eating and once again I was faced with decisions. At that time I decided to have her euthanized. To this day, though I know logically that a day or two, or a month or two one way or the other would not have made any difference, it’s her death that haunts me more than any other cat I’ve had put to sleep. In other cases, I generally have waited well beyond what is humane and that, too, can be questioned.
The moral to this story — is that there is none. Just know that there is no right and no wrong except that if you loved the animal, then THAT was right. There is NO way to feel at peace with end of life issues. F O C U S on the life you had together which was precious to you both.
Here’s my advice: have a kitten or two waiting in the wings. It never fills the hole, but it sure is diverting for us fickle humans.