We had quite a rough start of the weekend yesterday. We were just enjoying a quiet Saturday, having early lunch at home and watching Netflix. My husband’s new toy cabinet just got delivered and we were planning which toys will go where. Then I went in our room and found our cat, Blair, licking blood off her chest. Since her cancer diagnosis, we were taking care that her tumors will not develop lesions, but here we were. Despite our best efforts, it’s happened. My husband rushed her to the vet where her wounds were cleaned and dressed. She was prescribed antobiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. I wrapped her up in a bandage so that she will not take her gauze off, but switched to a shirt later to make her less uncomfortable.
This is an ordeal for all of us. Seeing her uncomfortable, knowing that cancer is slowly wreaking havoc on her little body, it’s killing me and my husband. Someday I know we will get to that point where we may need to ask the vet to put her to sleep. I can’t imagine having to face that terrible decision someday, but I don’t want her to suffer. For now she’s moving and eating like normal, except that she has a large bump on her chest. That large tumor stretched out her skin, so the vet thinks that the skin ruptured when she licked it. If it becomes apparent that she is in pain, the humane thing to do is to euthanize her. The very thought of it is terrifying for me.
I remember the last time that a pet’s death caused me immense pain. She was a little Japanese Spitz, we named her Alanis. When she died, I honestly felt that I could not love a pet again. Pets live much shorter lives than we do, and their death is something that we should be emotionally prepared for. They light up our lives for a short time before they leave. When Alanis died, I questioned wanting to open my heart again to a little creature who I will grieve for when they pass away. But then along came Blair. We got her when we were just newlyweds, and showered her with so much love and attention. I realized then that even if they’re in our lives for a short period, the love and joy that they add to our lives are worth it. Would I wish that I didn’t have all that Blair brought into my life in order to spare myself the pain of grief in the future? If I could have a choice of having her with us and facing this grief and pain in the future, or not knowing her and not having to go through any of this, I still would choose her. I choose the moments when I bury my face in her neck, when I would smell her and kiss her soft cheeks. I choose the times when I would wake up and find her sleeping beside me, purring softly. I choose all those nights when she and my husband are snoring on our bed while I work. I choose to see her spaced out, watching birds beside the window. I choose the good moments even if they come with bad ones.
Cats with cancer don’t have the best prognosis, but as long as she’s with us, we’ll do our best to fill her life with love. From start to end, we’ll be her humans. That’s the best thing we could do for such a wonderful, loving, trusting creature.