Friday, March 8, 2013
It was the speed and suddenness of the whole thing.
One year ago today, a Friday just before midday, he was sleeping. He suddenly awoke and went straight into his first ever full-blown seizure, flailing on the floor, rigid, pupils black and unseeing, his body jerked this way and that by an invisible force. It probably only lasted a minute or two but seemed to go on for hours. He came to eventually in his own urine, disoriented and dazed. It took him time to be able to stand.
I knew there and then what I had to do. He was eighteen years old with a history of failing kidneys and the resulting toxins had built up in his brain. The prognosis was that there would be more seizures and a general deterioration. I phoned the vet and asked for a home visit.
The car pulled up at around 2.30pm. A knock on the door. The veterinary nurse was with him.
They did it so well. They both sat on the rug in the centre of the lounge and arranged a few towels around them. The cat, ever curious, wandered over unsteadily to investigate. The nurse stroked him, talked softly and tickled him under his chin. He rolled over onto his side on one of the towels in ecstasy, eyes closed, purring. The vet prepared the hypodermic and very gently inserted it into his belly. No need to restrain him in any way. He didn't notice the needle going in, his chin was still being tickled, his paws were kneading the nurse's uniform. Then, peacefully, he drifted into sleep, still purring. After two or three minutes the vet checked his heart with the stethescope.
A perfect end. And that was it. I thanked them both as well as I could. Mainly just by repeating thank you, thank you.
If a cat could ever be said to have good manners, he did. Affectionate, quirky, self-contained, never pushy, a friend for all of the fifteen years we lived alongside one another. And, as a bonus, he was very beautiful.
I have his ashes still, which I will scatter in the river when I am able to walk there. Occasionally as I go around the house I talk out loud to him. It's a happy thing to do, he's part of the fabric of this place and of my life and his presence still lingers.