Today no happy update about my Tiny House adventure. Ok, very short then: the flea market was great, fine weather, made some nice cash. So that wasn’t at all bad.
But today I’m writing with a heavy heart, because I’m about to lose one of my buddies. Tommetje, my dear, sweet, blind cat will be put down on Monday. I took him to the vet yesterday because he was getting very skinny and listless. I had a nagging suspicion that his kidneys were failing him. And sure enough, his kidney values were sky-high and he hardly weighs 3 kilos. I don’t know how old Tom is. I estimate about 15 years. I could put him on a kidney diet and give him 2 shots a day (I can’t get him to take pills anymore) but that would only be delaying the inevitable. And I want to save him from suffering. I’ve been through that before with my cat Billy. So I’ve decided that this is it. For one more weekend I have him with me to dote on him and to say goodbye. On Monday he will be euthanized. And oh, how hard that is. My cats are my buddies, my family – a bond that goes so deep and is so strong that not everyone gets it. Letting go is extremely difficult. I’m a blessed person since besides my grandparents I have never lost a friend or family member. So I don’t know whether this grief compares to that, but I think it does – to me at any rate.
10 Years ago I took Tommetje home from Veterinary Clinic ’t Ossehoofd when I worked there. Tom had been hit by a car and taken to ’t Ossehoofd by the animal ambulance. An intact black male cat, blind and no-one came to pick him up. Day after day he sat quietly in his cage listening to all the noises. And day after day I came in and petted him. I asked the assistant Mariska who he belonged to. She smiled at this and answered: “you”. So I took Tommetje with me and gave him a loving home. I’ve rarely seen such a sweet cat. But oh how much he’s been through! I once lost him for almost 3 weeks; it was hell. He regularly went outside but always stayed near the house. But on that occasion he probably got scared and ran away, and afterwards was unable to find his way back. I posted flyers everywhere and finally somebody rang. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was cooking dinner and immediately turned off the stove and got into my car; I couldn’t get there fast enough. And there he was in a garden – quite a few blocks down the road – very skinny but otherwise ok. I called his name and he answered with a small, scared meow. I took him in my arms and he immediately started purring. I have rarely been as happy and relieved as I was then.
After that I fenced off the entire garden with netting so that he could still go outside, but not out of the garden. Tom was after all a tomcat. Even though he was blind, he was the man of the house and didn’t hesitate to chase stray cats out of his garden. But he was never aggressive and was very sweet to my 2 other cats. He would sometimes lie on the couch together with Jack, giving him a good wash. Some 2 years ago he fell off the stairs and was partially paralyzed. Thank God ’t Ossehoofd patched him up, but since then he has been a little wobbly on his paws and couldn’t find his way as well as before. Last year one of his eyes was hurting him badly and it had to be taken out. But he went on as happily as ever; at least that’s what I thought. But since then he slowly but gradually lost weight and had more and more trouble finding his way around the house. He went outside less and less and spent more and more time sleeping. If I’m honest I think I knew he wouldn’t last the year. And I kept hoping that he would pass away comfortably in his sleep. But unfortunately that is rarely how it goes and so that difficult decision falls to us owners to decide for our beloved pets when enough is enough. And for Tommetje that moment has come. Doubt and resignation follow each other. Deep down I know it’s right; he had a wonderful life together with me. But who am I to take his life? But isn’t it good that I can give him an easy death, save him the suffering? When I see him walking it’s obvious, but when he is lying purring in my arms it’s not.
I gave him the best life I could and he gave me all the love he had, and that’s a lot. Thankfully I still have some time with him. I’ll go and give him a big hug right now…