Your Pet Loss Stories

'She Kept Pulling for Me'

by Alis
(Rutland, Vermont)

Lilly, my beloved cat was 15 when she was diagnosed with kidney disease. I thought it meant the end and I cried my heart out. However, after reading stories on the internet I soon learned that she could receive life extending fluids. She did, for two years.

Like the Golden Retriever named Clover, Lilly tried to hang on for me. One day about a month ago I thought it was the end. I made an appointment to have her put to sleep. As I sat on my porch cradling her in my arms, I made a promise to her. I told her, "If you will just eat something I will give you a reprieve." She got down out of my lap and went to her dish giving it a lick and then proceeding to eat the food she had previously refused to eat. Thus ending a two day period of not eating.

Still I was worried because she had lost about half of her body weight. For the next four weeks I cajoled her into trying to eat and she bravely attempted whatever special thing I put into her dish. One week it was boiled chicken, the next it was tuna. In the final week of her life I resorted to strained chicken and broth baby food.

On the Wednesday of her last week, I took her to the doctor to be evaluated. Her hind legs were both going bad, but she was perky during the visit and the doctor told me she might live another month or two. I held on to this false hope even though my heart told me that she could not survive the way she was.

The very next day I let her out when she begged me. I didn't go with her but stayed inside to do some work. When I went to look for her she was gone. I knew that she had gone off to die, but I could not accept it. I cursed myself for not following my instinct to stay with her. 'How could I have been so dumb as to let her outside alone?" My neighbor and I beat the bushes and searched the barn to no avail. Finally, I took a walk down the road, calling and begging her to come back.

When I arrived back at the end of my garage she was lying in the grass. She looked up at me with a sadness that moved me to tears. I hugged her and told her how grateful I was that she came back. I held her in my arms telling her over and over how much I loved her. That night she would eat her very last meal, a whole jar of baby food.

For the next two days she ate nothing. On Saturday she wouldn't be able to drink or stand. I found her laying in the cat box and I knew that it was time.

I made a pact with her and she kept her end of the bargain, now it was time for me to do what I needed to do. It was obvious to me that she had done all that she could do for me.

My tribute to her has to mention that she was a wild cat when I first got her. One night in November she walked in my back door and "told" me that she planned on staying. She had no manners and was completely undisciplined, but she learned quickly how to live in the house with my husband and me. She stopped climbing my legs and slept in a bed on the floor.

Soon she was sleeping with me. For seventeen years I enjoyed the companionship of an unusually gentle and kind kitty. Oh, she had her moments when she would rebel against coming in at night or staying off the couch. But no matter what I had to do to treat her wounds, heal her pain and treat her kidney disease she never complained.

I miss her so terribly that my life for the past three days had been completely turned upside down. I went from caregiving for 2 - 3 hours a day to an emptiness that is incomprehensible. No matter how well prepared I thought I was for the inevitable, it came too fast. I wish I could start those seventeen years all over again. She was a real gem and will always be in my heart.

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