I took our cat Caspar back to the vet this afternoon for him to be eased into the long sleep with a little dignity. He was old and tired. The previous night, his skin had split over the sharp edge of a shoulder bone. I’d cleaned it up and supermum had rushed him to the vet but it was clear that he’d reached the end of his road. He’d come back from one serious health issue but the loss of his companion cat of the last 17 years had left him distraught; meowing all night, eating but losing weight…The arthritis in his back legs was making it harder and harder for him to get up and down the stairs down to the garden at the back of our house and cysts and bald patches seemed to be exploding all over his poor body.
I spoke to the vet on the phone, who suspected bigger underlying issues, and told him that I felt that might be it.
“If it was my cat, I’d feel the same,” he said. “We could patch him up but it would mean putting him through a lot of pain and stress only to find something worse.”
Supermum had to go to a course so a friend kindly took the children whilst Caspar and I went to the vet. I took him out of his basket – there was no-one in the waiting room – and he promptly emptied his bladder on me. Then, after wriggling a bit, he settled in my lap and dozed until the vet came to get us.
I held him, the vet explained the procedure, warned me that some very sick cats struggle and that there might be some reflex actions and so on. Meanwhile, Caspar pushed his head against my hand and dozed off again. The vet left us and a little while later came back with the nurse. She held his leg straight and the vet trimmed off a little fur. Caspar hardly moved. He seemed already fast asleep. The vet injected him and he was gone almost immediately. A breath or two, a little snort and I could see that whatever made him the cat he was had left. I cried, quite hard, which took me by surprize.
They made me some tea and I stood with him for a while. There were knots in his fur and, as usual, I unpicked a few. In the last year, he’d got careless with his grooming and keeping his coat in order had become an ongoing incremental task. His body cooled a little. I stroked him then bent down and kissed his nose and left.
Caspar was nearly 18. He guarded our house for many years, defending it against all comers. When he first came to live with from a rescue centre, he hid under a bed night after night until he convinced himself he was safe then slept at the end of our bed until supermum’s allergies drove him out. Thankfully, he had Tilly to keep him company and her vanishing a few months back hit him hard. I miss him desperately but I’m glad I do could this last thing for him. Forgive the typos. Comments closed on this one but thanks for reading.