Yesterday, I took my oldest kitty Shelby to the vet and left in high spirits at the report that there were no kidney stones or blockages in her system that they could see and no signs of tumors anywhere. The doctor seemed impressed with her health at her age. I felt good. I trusted the vet to be accurate. I felt like I was succeeding at being a cat mom.
Today, she was not at all herself.
When I came home she laid on the floor and didn’t move. No greeting. No head nudges. Just laid there. I started petting her and she didn’t purr like usual. She just laid there. Eyes hardly open. Miserable.
It was already after 6pm. No vet to call and the animal hospital miles away. Miles that didn’t seem like she’d be able to do comfortably. I laid on the living room floor and wept while petting her. Sobbing and hoping. Pleading with her to get better. I called my parents. I didn’t want to be alone if something happened to her. My husband was working a late closing shift. They came and sat with me. Had some dinner. Cried with me and worried with me. My heart ached as I laid next to my old kitty girl. At her age she had a good life, but I still felt like I wanted more time. You don’t just let 19 years go like that. I wasn’t ready, but her eyes kept telling me she was tired. So tired.
I kept massaging her bladder. I kept petting her and giving her kisses. I gave her the antibiotic the vet prescribed. I wasn’t ready to give up on her. She growled and grumbled, but never once fought me. She seemed so tired. She curled up and half closed her eyes and breathing with a small snore. My tears flowed freely.
When she got up and peed I felt like I had some kind of small victory, but her lethargy still leaves me fearful. Part of me hopes it’s just the antibiotic making her drowsy. Part of me hopes tomorrow she is fully recovered and in better spirits after a good nights rest. Part of me wishes not to see her suffer at her age. Kidney and bladder stuff is painful and miserable. I had one kidney infection ever and never want to again. Maybe she just needs time to recover?
I hope tomorrow will be better, but I don’t know what better means or looks like for her. Would it be better for her to pass in her sleep? Would it be better for her to wake up and be in less pain and better spirits? Would it be better for me to put her out of her misery?
I don’t know.
I put it all in God’s hands now. Even if my heart aches and my eyes flood with tears. I know death is a part of living, and to mourn is only for those of us left alive. Still, it hurts no less to lose. So all I can do is wait and hope and hurt.