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?