Little Kitty’s official name is Seven, as we found her beside an Amherst County road on our seventh wedding anniversary. As we just celebrated our twenty-third, Seven is now sixteen. A venerable age for a cat who was, we surmise, thrown out of a moving car when only a few weeks old. She came to us with several things broken and quite the attitude.
We had two other cats at the time, all rescues. One came from a barn, the other was found at the county dump standing over the body of a dead dot of a sibling. Both of these had long, happy (I really do think) lives. But Little Kitty is the last Woodroof cat standing.
It’s always seemed to me that we succeed with raising our children when they grow-up secure and confident enough in themselves to leave us. While we get to raise our pets to stay put – they go where we go. We feed them, take them to the vet occasionally, teach them a few manners, give them cuddles and pats, and in return we get unconditional love and loyalty. Our relationships with our pets are the only uncomplicated, unambivalent emotional relationships we get to have.
Little Kitty was recently diagnosed with kidney disease which is untreatable and inevitably terminal. She’s feisty – so not the type to put up IVs. So at some point – sooner, I suspect, rather than later, as she’s not all that interested in eating – I will be calling our lovely house-call vet to come visit us with her needle of death.
I want you to understand that Little Kitty makes my heart happy. She keeps me company when I write in the morning. In the evening she totters over to my chair while I’m watching baseball to get a head scratch, and she stretches out next to me while I do my nightly yoga/stretching routine. I really cannot stand the thought of her not being here.
The thing I must remember, however, is that the decision is not about how I feel, but about how Little Kitty feels. I’ve always been able to see pain in her eyes. And when that pain becomes unremitting and she is miserable, I have to make that call and let her go.
I took the picture of LK this morning while she was sunning on our front porch. There is, I think, pain there. But not enough. Yet.
Or am I being selfish?