There’s no easy way to say good-bye

It’s been a long, emotional week.  Sunday was the day that I realized that I would have to say good-bye to my cat, Punky.

Punky is an 18 1/2 year old cat who has been diabetic for 6 1/2 years.  I kind of adopted her by accident.  Here’s the story:

In 1996, my parents took my brother off to college and my grandma was checking in on our cat at the time, Tuffy.  I lived an hour away and when grandma called me to tell me that Tuffy was listless, I told her to take him to the vet.  He died that night.

A month later I was in a pet shop, to get my cat fix, when a little black kitten caught my eye.  I adopted this kitty who was already named Allie.  Around the same time, Mom and Dad adopted Punky.  When I decided to move to Sioux Falls, SD to go to college, Mom and Dad adopted Allie for the time being.  When I moved to Colorado and got my own home, I took both cats with me.

Allie was always the “apple of my eye” but after Allie passed over six year ago, Punky became my protector, the one always by my side.

Punky always had been a cat that didn’t like people, Allie was the people-cat.  After Allie left this earth, Punky filled the void and started coming out of her shell.  Once she realized that people weren’t so scary after all and that she got attention, she became the “bell of the ball”.  Punky was always in the middle of the room, usually on her back waiting for someone to rub her belly.  Otherwise she was always on my lap, purring, looking at me adoringly, like I was the only human for her.  She would touch your face with her paw and then give kisses, both her ways of saying “I love you.”  She would greet me at the door, come when I called or whistled, would sit on command and would get upset on the weekends when I would open the door to her room and then crawl right back into bed.  She has the most loving personality that I’ve ever seen in a cat.  One that makes you realize what unconditional love feels like, should be like.

And tomorrow I will have to say good-bye.  In the past six months she’s had several bladder infections and UTI’s.  The last one has left her incontinent and she has kitty dementia.  The loving look she used to have is replaced with a blank look like she should know who I am but doesn’t.  She doesn’t have great balance, can’t find the litterbox and can’t hear most times when I call her.

This is the hardest decision I have ever made.  This is the part of life that makes me want to build my blanket fort, crawl into it and ignore the world.  This is the part of life where I have to think beyond what I want and think about what is best for Punky.  As my vet, and my friend asked, “would she want this quality of life?”  And I know she wouldn’t.  I know she doesn’t.

So I make the hard decision…and tonight I hold her tight for the last evening.

Punky

Punky

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

February is a fun month.  Last week was an amazing week.  I am a part of the Grand Junction Lions Club and we hold one fundraiser a year.  It is not only the biggest fundraiser among the community groups in Grand Junction, it is the biggest one time fundraiser in Lions Club International.  We are kinda a big deal.

We do a raffle (six-seven weeks of selling raffle tickets) and then do a parade and carnival to finish it off.  The carnival is old timey:  a quarter a paddle and you can win different things like soda, bacon and eggs, candy, flowers and so much more.  We have been doing this for 86 years and it’s a staple in the community and several generations of people have attended.  Each year there is a theme:  this year was Colorado Wild and we did it up right, on a boat!

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

"I'm on a boat" crew

“I’m on a boat” crew

Me as a mermaid

Me as a mermaid

 

Yup, we have a good time and do a lot to raise money for the community.  This year we have pledged to give $125,000 to 10 organizations in Grand Junction.  Not too shabby.

Not only was a carnival but it was 10 years since I arrived in Grand Junction.  I’ve never lived anywhere for 10 years so this is huge.  I felt like I was celebrating with my Lions family (although most of them had no idea, but I pretended it was all about me anyway).  It’s a huge accomplishment in my life.

And then there was the worst of times.  Sunday night my cat, Punky, was incontinent not once, but twice.  She is 18 1/2, has been a diabetic for over six years and I know that this is a red flag.  She had been incontinent about a month ago but wrote it off as sleeping really hard, not a big deal.  I should have paid more attention.  So, I took her to the vet on Monday and Dr. Aimee Johnson put her on an antibiotic immediately.  We got the test results back yesterday (bladder infection) but at her age, this is much more than just that.  The incontinence hasn’t gone away, she seems to have a feline dementia (yes, there is such a thing) and…she’s my fur baby.

I’m facing the truth that I may have to make one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make and that is putting her to sleep.  I have to start looking past my desire to have my fur baby with me and to look at what is best for her.  Whether I should let her live with not knowing who I am (I am starting to look into eyes that sometimes have no idea who I am) or letting her go before she doesn’t even know when or how to eat.  I have to look past my desire to not want to make a hard decision or make a decision that keeps her from pain and suffering.  I have to look past ME.  And this isn’t easy.  I have spent the past two nights crying, hugging her, letting her sleep on my lap and just wondering:  is it time.  I have spent the past two days at work talking to my co worker and boss (who have and are going through the same thing as me) and listening to their advice.  I am fortunate to have a boss that says “when it’s time, take a day”.

And I have a feeling that the day will come soon…and I don’t want to have to make a decision but she is a faithful animal, a kind soul and won’t go…unless I make that decision for her.  That is my gut feeling.

So I had an amazing week last week…and now face an adult decision.  I don’t want to be an adult in this decision.  I want to make a fort, hide and play dolls in it…and forget that hard decisions exist.