This week, I’m facing a decision that every pet owner dreads. My gorgeous mama kitty Olive, our first foster kitty, started losing weight a few weeks ago, and now her kidneys are failing. The exact cause is unknown, but that doesn’t even really matter right now. She is dying, and I can choose to make her hold on for our sake or do the humane thing and choose euthanasia.
I have dealt with this type of decision before, but this time is so much different. With an 11- or 12-year-old dog, or a 16- or 17-year-old cat, the choice is still hard, and it still rips my heart out, but she is only 2 years old. When we brought her in, she was scrawny and still really a kitten herself, and had four sweet babies who we watched her raise. Misty Eyes found them homes (except for Hatter, who we also fell in love with and adopted).
And then Olive blossomed… up until a few months ago, when she was at her peak. She was a beautiful and majestic queen, with flowing fluffy fur, and a loving demeanor that is rare in a cat. She ran the house, and she regally watched over us all from atop her cat tower.
We were so proud of her progress, and we loved (and still love) her so much. And then suddenly, everything changed – she started to get skinny and her fur has lost its luster. She was still acting like herself up until only a few days ago. She has begun to lose her appetite, and she has continued to lose weight. She is not as social as usual, and she seems to be in a daze much of the time.
Since she is so young, the vet recommended hospitalizing her for 2-3 days, flushing her kidneys, and observing her for improvement. The cost for all of this was already up to about $1600 on the low end. If this would guarantee her survival and I could have her another 15 years, as I planned, then I would probably do my best to scrape up the funds.
On the other hand, we could put this poor cat, who doesn’t understand what is happening, through all that and she still may not survive much longer. She may not recover. Or, she may get better, and since we don’t really know the cause of her kidney failure, it could happen again.
I did end up bringing Olive home with me yesterday. I wanted the kids to see her again, and I have been trying to snap myself out of denial about the situation. She was so healthy and beautiful not too long ago. I keep trying to think back and pinpoint when she started showing signs of weight loss. With her long hair, it was not noticeable at first. And apparently by the time they start losing weight, the kidneys are already beginning to fail, so could I have caught it in time anyway?
These are questions I will never be able to answer. And many people, I am sure, will say she is just a cat. But, when you open your home and your heart to such a loving creature, how can your heart not break she is going through this kind of pain and struggle? In the end, I will have to make the best decision for her, so that when it is her time to go, she may go peacefully and with dignity, and I will be holding her in my arms.
© Indiana Central News. All rights reserved. Terre Haute, Indiana
News Writer: Lucy Perry