Remember last summer when we had to put my cat, Boo Boo, to sleep and I was super sad face about it and it totally sucked? Yeah, I had to do it again in November.
After Boo died, my other cat went downhill fast. My Maxine. She was my baby. I adopted her when she was a kitten. I was fresh out of college and had just gotten my first grown up job and rented my first apartment. She was the runt of a litter of farm cats and I could not resist her. She saw me through a lot of difficult times: A broken engagement one month before the wedding, a move to another state where I knew no one, the death of grandparents, the adjustment to married life and a ready-made family.
She was special, is what I'm trying to say.
She was also extremely awful. She peed on the carpet. A lot. So much that the Captain and I had to have it ripped out and replaced with hardwood. She was grumpy. She hated most everyone but me, but insisted on sitting right in their faces in order to fool them into thinking she liked them so she could bite them when they tried to pet her. She chewed up all the ribbons on Christmas presents and then pooped them out for months afterwards. She puked EVERYWHERE.
But I loved her so much.
So when Boo died and she began wandering around the house crying pitifully for hours and then began to eat less, the Captain knew what was coming. I kept myself in denial. Sure, she was 15 years old and was obviously in mourning for Boo. But she would come out of it. I just knew it.
Still, when no one was looking, I would whisper in her ear "Please don't die on me. Not now. Please. I need another year first. I can't take it right now." And Max would look right at my face and it seemed like she understood.
And maybe she did, but she just couldn't do it. Soon it became obvious to even me that she was sick. She was drinking large amounts of water and urinating constantly. Exactly what Boo did at the end. So we took her to the vet and got the same diagnosis when we took Boo. Diabetes.
That was on a Monday. We told the vet we were taking the week to decide if we wanted to treat her or put her down. By Friday, Max had made the decision for me. She could barely walk. She spent hours sitting in front of her water bowl with her head hanging in it. She had lost so much weight in a 5 day period that you could see her hip bones jutting out.
I took the weekend to say goodbye. I held her on my shoulder the way she always loved. She would purr and sleep while I walked around the house talking softly to her for hours. I cried a lot. I had moments when I thought maybe she'd get better, but by Sunday morning I knew it was time.
So on Monday, almost exactly four months from when Boo died, we took her to the vet. I couldn't bring myself to do it with Boo, but I knew I had to be there for Max. I was her person, her favorite. I couldn't leave her alone at the end.
It was hard. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do so far in my life. Even now, months later, I still think about those last few minutes. I hate that she was terrified and hurting and I could do nothing but talk to her and tell her I loved her until she was gone.
But it was fast. Just like everyone says, it was over in seconds. One second she was there, staring at my face, and the next she was gone. I was somehow able to not cry until she died, because I didn't want her to see me upset. So at the very end of her life, I was the last face Max saw and my voice was the last she heard. And that brings me comfort every time I think about her.
I got to spend awhile with her afterwards, but it was so hard to walk out without her. The Captain, who had been there with me the whole time, held my hand and took me home. I went straight to bed for the rest of the day.
And I miss her still. I know some people will read this and roll their eyes and say "It was just a cat, not a person". And that is okay, I don't expect everyone to understand. I know it's not the same thing. I've lost family members, I know that pain. This is a different kind of pain, but still just as real. Max was my buddy for 15 years, my entire adult life up until this point, and I will always miss her.
Twelve Years, Give or Take.
5 weeks ago