Tomorrow morning, two 18 year old cats named Bob and Blue will be put to sleep, and I am sad.* They wandered up to our house when I was 14 years old and in the eighth grade. Because we have a sign in front of our house that reads “We feed all strays: inquire within”, they found a home with us. At first, they stayed outside. They had wet and dry food and water, and we even set up a fan for them in the summer. Eventually, my mom and I started sneaking Bob and Blue in almost immediately after my dad stated “Those damn cats will not spend one night in this house.” Famous last words.
Blue is a flame point Siamese with the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen in your life. Bob is a domestic short hair with black spots all over and a chopped bob tail; my mom calls him “ruggedly handsome.” We’re apparently not very original when it comes to pet names. Blue talks all the time (Siamese are very loud cats) and Bob barely makes a noise. When Bob does talk, he does the oddest “Mow” meow you’ve ever heard, sort of like an angry impatient yell. Blue is quite possibly the best cat that has ever existed; he is gentle, sweet, and much like a dog in a cat’s body. Bob, at first, was very scared of everyone. He now likes to sleep on top of my dad’s belly at times, while Blue sleeps on my dad’s pillow. My mom has to maneuver her way into the bed at night because they tend to think that they belong in her spot. But don’t they?
We started noticing things were going wrong a while ago, but both cats were still eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, and purring. We figured that they would tell us when it was time to let them go. Recently, both cats will stand in the middle of a room and meow, not really knowing where they are. Blue stopped being able to jump onto the counter for his daily cream (wait, your cat doesn’t jump on the counter to get cream?) and Bob’s right eye has gone white. They pee and poop outside of the litter boxes, they vomit, they have lost so much weight they you can feel their hip bones. They sleep for about 20-22 hours of the day. You start to think about their quality of life, and if they’re happy still.
We started talking about putting them down pretty recently, and then it became real. We realized that none of us could take them to the vet because we love them too much, so my sister-in-law was nominated. I called today to get prices from the vet. An appointment was made. What makes me the most sad is that they have no clue that tomorrow will be their last day here.
These cats have almost died, a few times each. They have been brought back from the brink and cared for by us. Bob got into a fight with another cat and had to have a stint put into his arm to let his wound drain, which my mom had to clean twice a day. Blue got very sick several years back, and after an expensive vet visit about 3 days after Christmas one year when my parents had no money, it was determined that he had haemobartonella virus.
Unlike a normal household, we spoil our animals. None are overweight, but they certainly get their share of lunch meat, cream, roast, and steak. This week, Bob and Blue have gotten as many treats as they can eat, as much cream as they can drink, and as many hugs and kisses as they can possibly stand.
They have been in my life since I was 14 years old, just a kid in this world. They have been in my life as I’ve gone to high school, then to college, a move to Mexico, my crazy 20s, my different relationships and friendships, changes of jobs and of homes. Now 32, I can be objective and say that they have lived really amazing lives with us, lives that would have been very different had we not opened our doors to them. I hope the exit is painless, and I hope they know how much they have meant to us. I hope to see them again one day.
*I realize that this is not the usual Vegan MoFo post, but life happens, right?