Hannah was my first cat. I adopted her from the local shelter when she was about a year old -- I knew she was mine when I read her profile on the shelter's website -- it said she could hug. And really, when you picked her up, she'd hold onto you in a way you'd swear was hugging you. She was one of the sweetest creatures I'll ever encounter. She made the years I lived on my own so rewarding (despite the number she did on my allergies).
After Mike and I got married, she had a difficult time adjusting. She started urinating on the carpet more than she did in her litter box. If we had been in a house, it might have been different, but we were renting, and despite all our best efforts, the problem just wasn't getting any better. My family had just lost their cat, so it made sense that she could go to live with them. When I held her just before putting her in the pet carrier, she hugged me. I lost it. But, I still got to see her whenever I visited my family, and I knew they would love her as much as I did. The plan was to bring her back once we bought a house. The family got attached, so they didn't push the idea of giving her back. I can't blame them.
Last weekend, I went home to visit my family. The first thing I noticed was how sickly she looked. She seemed hungry, but couldn't get more than a few bites of food down. She wouldn't drink any water. She was lethargic, anemic, and didn't have the energy to be herself. I brought her home to get her checked out. I'm so thankful the vet was overbooked yesterday -- while we were waiting in the exam room, I spent a lot of time petting her, and despite her fatigue, she kept nuzzling me. When the vet gave me her prognosis over the phone this afternoon, I made the decision to let her go. It was evident she was suffering, and she wasn't going to get any better. The staff at the vet's office was so sympathetic and caring. We got to spend a few last moments together. I picked her up, and she held on to me for awhile. I didn't mind the claws digging into my right shoulder. I whispered that I loved her, and held her for a few minutes. Then I placed her in the cage, scratched her neck a little until she seemed tired of it, then closed the door and left. I sort of held it together in the office (I'm sure the lady in the waiting room who complimented my outfit thought I was really ungracious and strange when I just looked at her and nearly burst into tears). The assistant brought her out to the car in a cardboard box, I paid the bill, then went back out to my car and cried my eyes out all the way home.
Mike took the time and energy to dig a small grave for her at the edge of our property, and I can't thank him enough for doing that.
I have never lost a pet before, and I never imagined it would hurt this much. She was such a loving cat -- she deserved a better ending. I feel so guilty -- for giving up on her back at the apartment, for not catching the problem sooner, for making the decision to euthanize (which I know was the best option, but it's still painful to think about it). I'm trying to look at the positive: the six years she was part of my life were six years that she might not have had if she had remained at the shelter. And I have a lot of wonderful memories, and am very fortunate to have had her in my life.
If you read this far, thank you. If I put you in a bummed out mood for the rest of the evening, I apologize. I've gone through so many tissues in the hour it's taken me to write this, but it just helps me to get everthing I'm feeling out there.