Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The joy in taking care of an old friend at the end of her life. (dream, rant)

My kitty is struggling to breathe. She has a respiratory infection now in addition to kidney failure. The first vet we went to said there's nothing more they can do. After she didn't poop for four days, I took her to another vet. This new, second vet disproved the first doctor's hypothesis about why my cat is so ill: it isn't the renal failure that's killing her yet. It's still early in the disease's stage. So there's hope for her recovery now, where there wasn't before. I hope very much that the kitty will get better so she can spend a few more moments enjoying her bird videos, her naps in the catnip sprinkled on the bed, and her pats on the head and scratches under the chin.

I've subscribed pretty heavily to Buddhist philosophies down the years, and I found a speaker who has really helped me and possibly the kitty to accept what is happening. I think she finds his voice soothing.

Buddhist teachings state that no one has the right to kill. In the case of euthanizing pets, the monk in the video below suggests that owners take aside their pets and ask if they want to go. It's not so silly a thing if you know an animal well. I look at my cat and I believe that she wants to keep fighting. So I'll keep trying to help her however I can. She has been my friend for nearly two decades, and I am prepared to care for her to whatever extent she needs.

I'm on a long vacation before summer classes. It takes most of my day to take care of her. I study for the GRE between changing the litter and washing her blankets and feeding her by hand, medicating her, giving her IV fluids and dry shampoos, checking her eyes for signs of crust, and taking her to vet appointments. I didn't think it would be, but it's a joy to have the opportunity to take care of someone you love when they're near the end of their lives. Every moment is something to be thankful for and to enjoy.

Her breathing is so labored, it wakes me up sometimes. Sometimes I wake up when she stops because I think she may have passed away.

Last night I had a dream. I was in a home a friend was house sitting in. She was keeping my kitty in the crawl space. Sick kitty was down there.

"Aren't you excited to see her?" she asked after we put up our hats and scarves.

I say yes, but I feel excited to see a yearling gazelle in her house. It stands directly in the path of the door to my cat. I pet the sweet little gazelle. The gazelle has the same colored fur as my cat.

I think the dream suggests that I'm excited that there are parts of my cat that are still present- still healthy. I yearn for her healthier days. In the dream, I'm in denial. I don't want my kitty to be sick, indicated by my reluctance to see my sick kitty, or by the dream's putting the sick kitty in the basement. I want to see my cat strong and well again. It's so painful. The dream initially seems haunting and cruel, just like her prognosis and how much I wish it weren't happening.