I recently posted a pic of M’lady Callista, Callista is the eldest of my three elderly (in cat years) felines of my heart. An acquaintance of an acquaintance posited a comment on the picture of my old cranky lady which I shall quote verbatim.
“Your cat looks very old and very scruffy, I hadn’t seen a picture of her in a while, I assumed she had died. Then I realised that if she’d died everyone would have certainly known. You’re not exactly known as sane when it comes to that cat. Perhaps it’s time to think about who you are really keeping her alive for, your benefit or hers.
Once I had metaphorically picked myself up off the floor and closed my jaw which developed this habit of dropping open in sheer anger every time I so much as thought of the nasty, spiteful little post, I managed to pull myself together enough to post what I thought was a quite reasonable and reasoned reply. According to my friends in that place I failed dismally.
Now I know how Tom Cox felt each time he posted pictures of his beloved The Bear who was 21, and right up until the very last month was a happy, loved and supremely spoiled beastie. Without fail and usually from a poster in another part of the world (Tom is from the UK) Tom would be greeted with comments about how sad it must be that The Bear would be dying soon and was Tom ready for the sorrow and pain.
Believe you me, every owner of a kitty of advanced years is acutely aware that this day could be the one where it all starts to spiral out of control, that this could be the day you say goodbye. If love could have kept any cat alive it would have been The Bear and his army of lovers.
But that is not how any of this works, and I do not believe that anyone who loves their furry ones would deliberately prolong the suffering of their beloved, simply to save themselves grief.
I reach out in the middle of the night to check if Callista is still breathing, I have been known to poke her quite vigorously when she has those moments of very quiet stillness, I know very well that our time together is now short, and the mere thought of that rends my heart into a million little pieces, but it would never stop me from doing what is right, what she deserves.
Callista stole my heart over 18 years ago, with her teeny pointed face and ridiculously silly ears that she never really grew into, when and if the time comes that I have to make that decision, I will, but I hope Callista will do me the honour of taking her last breath in my arms, held tightly by her person, the person who owes her so much and loves her more than words could ever say.