Last August, I wrote about what it was like for our kitty Angel and for us to live with her advanced kidney disease. When I wrote the post, her kidney levels were actually a little lower than they had been the previous May, and with twice-weekly fluid treatments, she was managing and seemed to be comfortable and happy. Through the fall, she’d have some bad days, but we could always get her to bounce back.
In December, I noticed that she was getting thinner, and tried giving her extra canned food to see if I could get her to put weight back on. The weight loss concerned me but I was trying to stay positive. The holidays came and went, and she continued to lose weight. I tried to believe that because she still had a healthy appetite and was her usual social self, that it couldn’t be anything too terrible. Maybe it was her thyroid. I called and made her an appointment to be seen by the vet.
Thursday, January 12th, was the thirteenth anniversary of the day that I walked into an animal shelter and saw Angel for the first time. It was the day that I knew I had to have that sweet girl in my life. I had to wait two days so that she could be spayed, then I could bring her home with me. It is the day that I have honored ever since as her birthday, since I have no way of knowing when her actual one was. This year, I made a photo collage of pictures of her, I took a video of her meowing in response as I asked her about turning fifteen years old. I love that meow. Anyone who has had a Siamese knows how talkative they are, and I loved that about her.
We went to the vet on Friday for her six-month reevaluation and blood draw. I recently switched to a new vet, who had seen Saturday for dental work but hadn’t gotten to meet Angel yet. I relayed my anxieties over her weight loss. During the exam, the vet found that Angel had developed a heart murmur, and we talked about possibly discussing her ECG with a cardiologist after we had her blood test results back. I knew it wasn’t good news, but in the back of my mind I guess I believed that Angel would bounce back again and that this was just another bump in the road.
Saturday morning was January 14th, the anniversary of the day I first brought Angel home from the shelter. The vet called around 10:15 with the results of her blood tests. She was in renal failure. Her red blood cell count was around 17%. We had the option to hospitalize her, possibly give her a blood transfusion, see if we could bring her back. I said no. I knew I couldn’t put her through that. She would hate it and it might not even work. There was only one thing that could really be done now, the hardest decision that was also the right one. Even though our vet wasn’t actually working that day, he told us to bring her down in an hour. I will always be grateful for him and the compassion he shows my cats.
I took a quick shower, then sat in the armchair with Angel, snuggling her and talking to her and loving her. As always, she loved it and purred, snuggled into me for quite awhile before she decided she’d had enough and went to perch on the ottoman. I waited as long as I could before I gathered her into my arms and gently settled her into the carrier for the last time.
At the vet’s office, I held her and rocked her, told her I loved her. Thirteen years after promising her that I would always take care of her and that I would do anything for her, I did the last thing I ever would for my first fur baby and I let her go.
We drove down to the waterfront, and I sat in the passenger seat of the car looking out over Puget Sound for awhile. It was a bright, sunny day, bitterly cold. That night friends came over with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine, and we toasted Angel’s wonderful little life.
Angel was so much more to me than just a pet. She was my best best little friend, the happy cat who would meow at my mom over the phone, who kept the boys in line even though she was much smaller than they are, the only constant in my life since I was 19 years old. She was there for me every bit as much as I was for her, she loved me unconditionally and taught me how to be a good kitty mom. She was patient with me while I learned, while we got to know each other, when I added more cats to our family. She had a huge personality and loud Siamese voice. She was loving, sweet, and funny. I was far from perfect, but I always loved her, and did the very best I could to give her a happy life.