Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not a Fan

SO FAR 2008 IS NOT WINNING ME OVER. And if this year wants to be my pal, it's got a lot of work to do. As if the ongoing (and apparently unending) Writers Strike wasn't bad enough, I had to put my cat Myrna to sleep yesterday. She was 16 years old (would have been 17 in May) and had been sick with Chronic Renal Failure since the summer. So it wasn't as if it was unexpected.

Which is not to say that it was any easier to say goodbye.

Surprisingly, the worst part of the whole experience wasn't being in the room while she was euthanized, even though that was awful and incredibly heartbreaking. The worst was watching her waste away, gradually and almost invisibly, for the last six months. It was the reverse of watching her grow from a kitten into a cat. Seeing her everyday made it difficult to register just how much she was shrinking away.

Several months ago, I happened to look back a photo I took of her last January, and only then did I realize how thin she had become. The regular weighings at the vet confirmed her dropping weight. She used to be a big cat. Not fat at all. But big and fluffy. By fall, she was down from ten pounds to about seven. And in her final weeks, the weight loss was even more dramatic. The last time she was weighed at the vet, she weighed barely over three and a half pounds.

So there is a little bit of relief that comes with the sadness of putting an ailing pet to sleep. She was suffering and had been for months. And as much as we wanted her to stick around forever, her body was not going to let that happen. Also, we will always outlive our pets, always. It's the heartbreak agreement we willingly enter into. And I will gladly do it again, considering what I received in return: 16 years of companionship with a really great pet.

So thanks a lot, 2008. So far you've been a real dick.

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