You may remember that my father's cat Lucky is very very old. For the sake of perspective, I'm going to give some snippets of the e-mails from my father over the past few days. On Friday afternoon, in amongst discussions of all the various humidifiers he had stored for my choosing, I got this email:
I don’t know if [Lucky] will make it many more days – he stopped eating about a week ago. I tried to give him liquid tuna juice and chicken soup broth – but he acted like he couldn’t drink. Later I tried to give him water with a dropper and he fought and gurgled like he had trouble swallowing. Yesterday morning, I told Mom that we should just let him go – he was wasting away and sleeping peacefully. But the next thing we knew, he was standing, looking strong, and seemed to be drinking sugar water I fixed for him. So last night I got about an ounce or two of chicken broth in him with a dropper – and he swallowed ok (under protest).
Friday night, Daddy came over to deliver some humidifiers for me. My eyes have been very dry lately and I thought they might help. He left around 9pm and said he was going to go back and try to feed Lucky some more. Saturday around 3pm, I got this email:
Last night about 3:00AM I had decided to take him for an IV under skin to get him hydrated – and maybe he’d take liquid broth a little better – and then try an enema. BUT, when I called, she said there was a long wait – and I should consider just going to reg vet at 8:00 AM.
This morning, my mind went back and forth – it had been so limited, getting broth in him that he was just about "used up." Plus his quality of life wasn’t that great lately, and it seemed hardly worth it to put him through grueling recovery. I did give him about an ounce of broth – but it seemed like a lost cause.
So I made him comfortable towels, and he rested pretty well -- and a little after 2:00PM his breathing went to seldom out-puffs; and he seemed to go peacefully.
I guess I won’t bury him ‘till tomorrow.
I cried when I read the e-mail but not because of Lucky, so much. He's lived a long and prosperous life and been very comfortable through his old age. I cried for Daddy's sake. Lucky has been his cat for many years and one of his best friends. I talked to Mom the next day to find out when the funeral would be and she started getting choked up on the phone too. Again, we weren't so sad about Lucky, although we miss him dearly, but as Mom said, "I'm afraid this is going to break Daddy's heart."
Yesterday afternoon we drove over to my parents. Daddy had already dug a fine grave. I was in charge of bringing the right sized box and clean towels. (Look around your house and see if you have a good sturdy box for burying a cat. The pack rat gene is strong in our family.) We helped Daddy make a bed for him out of clean towels in the box. Lucky barely fit in the box, but he always was fond of squeezing into a box that was too small for him. Daddy kept petting him and talking to him and straightening the towels. We then carried him to his gravesite where the box fit perfectly. Daddy had to verify where east and west are so that Lucky would be looking towards the sunrise. Then we filled in the hole for him and laid one of my father's best friends to rest.
My mother and I were talking about how Lucky was good practice for how well he'll take care of Mom when she's old and feeble. But it's still hard to watch my father mourn someone he fought so hard to keep healthy for so long. I know this is a long sad entry to wade through and I thank all of you who have come this far. I just wanted to make sure we don't forget this treasured member of our family and how much he meant to us all. If you think your heart can take it, you can watch the video from June of my father petting Lucky.