Nearly fifteen years ago I bought the first–and only–pet that was my very own. I fell in love with a kitten up for adoption from a shelter, and before I even signed the papers I had named her Annabelle.
I kinda didn’t tell my dad I was getting her until I got her home.
Annabelle was my only constant for the next nine years, even my sole companion during the month I spent living by myself in an extended-stay motel during my transition to Arizona. She was my baby.
When I moved in with my then-boyfriend, I had to leave her at my parents’ house due to roommate issues (the issue being that it was the roommate’s house and he didn’t want another cat living there). When we moved into our first apartment shortly before getting married, we couldn’t afford rent for two cats, so Annabelle stayed at Mom and Dad’s. When our cat Luna died, we weren’t ready for another cat yet–and by that time, Annabelle was getting on in years & had settled into life at my parents’ house…without me. She ran from me when I came over to visit more often than not, and the few times she did come out of hiding it was to beg for food or treats. I had become a stranger.
We got Rory about six months after Luna died, and since Annabelle was comfortable where she was, we decided against uprooting her and bringing her into a new environment with a new, rambunctious kitten.
A few months ago, Annabelle started losing some weight.
She started losing a lot of weight.
Now, with her only eating with the aid of an appetite stimulant and throwing up what little she does eat, I have a decision to make. She may not really be “my” cat anymore (at least not in her eyes), but she’s still, well, my cat.
My sister’s cat, Chelsea, had a long death. She was put to sleep eventually, but she got emaciated to the point of having to be force-fed and had necrotic sores on her. She looked like something out of Pet Sematary. Literally. It was scary. I don’t want that for Annabelle. I don’t want to “kill” her, but I don’t want her to suffer. She’s old. She’s lived a good life…and nearly half that life has been without me. So what am I to do?
I thought hard about it. I didn’t want to make the decision too hastily, but I also didn’t want to drag out her life if she was suffering in any way. The image of the last time I saw my sister’s cat was enough. I’m not going to let Annabelle turn into that.
So either today or Monday (depending on when the vet can get her in), I am prepared to make one of the toughest decisions of my life. I’m going to say good-bye to my baby and let her go peacefully. It’s the least I can do for the kitten that used to chase her tail on my neck, that hid under the blankets during the road trip to Arizona, that would sit on my lap & purr while I played World of Warcraft before work.
What was going to be a nice, relaxing weekend of cosplay work will now be a weekend of mourning and trying to focus on what now seems insignificant.
Here’s to you, Annabelle. You were and are an awesome cat.