I adopted Fluffy in January 2011, a month after losing our previous cat. He became my special one immediately. He was so quirky, and had the most expressive face. He sleeps cuddled up close to me every single night, purring me to sleep. He flirts for food and loves crawling under the covers on our bed during the day, for ‘bump time’. He loves other cats and people. His loud purr and his cuddles are so therapeutic after a hard day.
Fluffy is now almost 10 years old and showing his age. He has arthritis, tooth problems, eye problems, and anal gland problems. But he is happy and loving and never shows his suffering. Even at the vet, he loves everyone, giving them head boops as they examine him.
This year has, however, been a bad one for Fluff, with 16 vet visits and four surgeries. About a month ago he had surgery on his anal glands, and four days later one of them exploded again. Each time this happens, he has to have surgery, stitches, drains, painkillers and follow-up visits. He hates it. We decided that night that it was time for him to go peacefully. We just couldn’t bear to see him suffering uncomplainingly, even while in terrible pain.
We made an at-home appointment for euthanasia the following day at midday, and we both cried all night. The next morning, with tears streaming down our faces, we gave him some last cuddles. But my husband said ‘I am going to take him back to the vet’. There they offered to put Fluffy down immediately, but my husband asked for a final procedure. They operated to rinse, drain and open up his anal gland again.
After that procedure, Fluffy perked up. He really did. Everything got better – even his eyes. Last Thursday we had the vet visit us for either euthanasia or advice. She said he is good for a while yet. And we carry on in hope. Savouring every single minute, spoiling him as much as possible, giving him endless love and cuddles. We take each day as it comes and give him the best day ever.
One of the saddest things about life is that most pets don’t live as long as we do. But the best thing is that we can offer them a peaceful end when the suffering becomes too much. That is the greatest gift. My animals usually ‘tell’ me when it is time for them to go – they have looked at me and I have known. But Fluffy never did. I hope the time comes that he does tell us, because that decision is so so difficult to make.