Mere Coincidence?

I am at a crossroads.

Our senile Snowflake kitty is growing increasingly confused and presenting increasing challenges and I feel that the time is fast approaching when decisions will be made. Rather ironically, many of the blog posts that I have been reading seem to be focused on topics such as death, senility, dementia, quality of life, and the mystery of knowing/deciding when living is far less important than peace. These posts, coincidentally, center around both humans and animals. Given that, the capacity to believe that there’s a reason for these words happening right now is strong.

Can an atheist believe in fate? It seems unlikely that the Fates of classical mythology, with their ideas of predetermination and destiny, would have a place in the sphere of total disbelief in a god, any gods. I have to err on the side of coincidence, although the irony creeps me out a bit right now.

Snowflake is recovering from a bout with fleas. She is not an outdoors cat anymore. However, she did managed, twice, in mid-July, to sneak outside. I watched her walk off the deck, stand in the old bark and pee, stand in the grass utterly confused with her surroundings, and then because she is stone deaf and couldn’t hear my call, I went out and carried her back into the house. The bloodsuckers must have been swarming. By the time I returned from my beach excursion, she was covered, and not being treated. The remedy was fast, fleas dropped like flies, but the entire thing stressed her so much that it triggered another bout of her chronic respiratory issues that comes with FHV (feline herpes virus).

She eats and drinks, but she’s yowling again. A LOT. She sometimes seems not to recognize us. She seems not to recognize areas of the house that were familiar. Like her litter box.

I have reported issues with this, and the general, and liberal use of puppy training pads all around her box. The issue now is that, increasingly, she doesn’t even go to the box. She has peed on shoes and plastic bags and towels left on the floor. She has peed on throw rugs in the hallway, and the kitchen. She has peed on the large plastic mat that sits under her food dishes. She has peed on blankets left out on the couch. She has peed on an old cushy chair, her favorite sleeping chair. Peed directly on her cat bed then laid down and gone back to sleep.

She has now peed twice on old towels and puppy pads placed on a replacement chair. After the second pee, right before my eyes yesterday, she is now sleeping on an outdoor chair covered in old towels for comfort. It sits in a corner, by the window so that she can watch the world go by during the 30 minutes that she’s awake. If she pees on it I can haul it outside and hose it off.

I found a tooth the other day. It was a canine. One of the big fangs that cats have. This one just happens to be the one she always rubbed on everything to mark as hers, including us. She still remembers that side of her mouth, that tooth is her favorite. She still tries to rub even without her tooth.

Towels and rugs and blankets can be washed. Furniture can’t. I imagine my house smells like cat pee to some extent even though I have scrubbed and sprayed and literally had to toss out one entire chair.

I understand, in my research, that cats can, and do mask pain. They don’t mask stress well though. I know she was stressed from the flea issues and my guilt weighs on me for that, for going away and being unaware. Does her confusion cause stress? How much mental and emotional trauma is she going through because of her decline?

And, if I am being honest, how much more urine can my house take? If there wasn’t a good reason to re-do and remodel I think there will be now, once Snowflake is gone. There won’t be a choice at this rate.

As humans, we have the ability, the right I suppose, to decide the fate of animals in our care.

How do you know when it’s time? How do you determine if the decision is for the animal or for the human? How do you not feel guilty either way?

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14 thoughts on “Mere Coincidence?”

    1. It’s so difficult Annie. I’m sorry you are joining the ‘club’ as well. Snowflake has perked up again and doing well but I know things will reverse again…

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  1. Carol’s Little Mom here… in tears. Your questions with Snowflake hit close to home. When I faced this decision with my cat Elle a few years ago, I knew with certainty that it was time. Her body clearly was giving out. If I have any regret, it is that I waited too long.

    Now with Violet, as for you with Snowflake, I don’t think things will be so clear cut. What’s important is that you aren’t going into it lightly and ultimately want to make the decision that is best for Snowflake. That’s really all you can do. Sure you’ll second guess yourself, as will I, but what we have to remember is that they had long, happy lives and were deeply loved to the very end and beyond.

    You are in my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this, and I agree that knowing exactly when is likely to be the most difficult part of this ongoing decline. She has perked up dramatically since the writing of this post, not peed once out of the litter box, continues to eat well and is much more social and engaging. Violet is such a dear, and other blogging friends are in the midst of old age cat issues as well…I wish that we could all collectively find easy answers and help with these decisions we face, but loving a pet who is a member of the family simply means it will never be easy for us because we do care and want the best for our friends.
      If only these kitties could really talk… đŸ™‚

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  2. All I can say is this: when it came time to call in the vet to bid farewell to my 19 year old Joey, I felt guilty for overpowering him to hold him steady to receive the sedative. A few months later, when I looked at photos of him all scrawny and recalled his distress and hollers and contortions when he strained to empty his bladder for the millionth time (missing the litter box 9 times out of ten) I felt guilty for not calling the vet sooner.

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    1. Thanks Maggie. It is exactly that issue, the days that seem good and normal that allow me to forget the days that aren’t, the days she just looks worn out and ready. I suspect that there will always be guilt…

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  3. I don’t know that there are ever perfect answers to your questions. (Which are, as you know, my questions too.) My love to you and Snowflake, and a gentle reminder that easing her out of this life will be as much an act of love as everything else you have done for her. Whenever you decide, whatever you decide, she knows how much she means to you — and how much you mean to her.

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    1. I saved all of these comments to respond to at once–Big Mistake as my tears, and sadness, and indecision are growing exponentially with each new comment I read. I do know that you know and have your own struggle going as well and I don’t like your burden to be magnified. Thank you for your words of love…

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  4. I have had multiple pets over the years, and I know a couple of them were as dear to me as another human (and others were just the family dog that took up space. So if your dear kitty is close to you, then that makes it harder. I have known people who prolonged the life of their pet, just because they didn’t want to loose their companionship, but the poor thing was suffering..this is one of those decisions, only you can make, because you have to live with the consequences…but my thought was, if I were in that position again (and I was with our little beagle Oscar) I took him to the vet and had him gently put to sleep. To this day, I can still remember him riding with me in the front seat of the pick up, to the vet. Our vet, was very gentle with him, and I have never regretting the decision. I loved Oscar. I also love hearing about the serendipitous way these topics/ blog posts intersect with your life currently.

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    1. We too had a beagle years ago, even before we had our first child. The memory of his last day is still vivid in my mind, just as I am sure the pain of saying goodbye on Snowflakes last day will become a lasting memory as well. Thanks for your thoughts DM.

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